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55 Vintage Labor Day Recipes

Step back in time with our vintage Labor Day recipes. These nostalgic dishes will help you give summer a proper send-off and remind you of the good ol' days.

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Grandma’s Old-Fashioned Strawberry Shortcake

When my grandma served this shortcake, she usually topped it with homemade vanilla ice cream. —Angela Lively, Conroe, Texas

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Bacon Pea Salad

My husband absolutely loves peas. My middle son isn't the biggest fan, but he loves bacon. So, I combined the two, and it was perfect! This pea salad is an awesome side dish, especially for barbecue. —Angela Lively, Conroe, Texas
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Pina Colada Icebox Cake

This icebox cake has all of the flavors of a pina colada. It takes just one bite to escape to a tropical island! —Rachel Lewis, Danville, Virginia
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Grilled Buttermilk Chicken

I created this recipe years ago after one of our farmers market customers, a chef, shared the idea of marinating chicken in buttermilk. The chicken is easy to prepare and always turns out moist and delicious! I bruise the thyme sprigs by twisting them before adding them to the buttermilk mixture; this tends to release the oils in the leaves and flavor the chicken better. —Sue Gronholz, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin
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Pineapple Pretzel Fluff

I often bring this special salad to potlucks, and everyone goes crazy for the sweet and crunchy combination. Be sure to add the pretzel mixture right before serving to keep it crispy. —Beth Olby, Ashland, Wisconsin
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Mama's Blackberry Cobbler

Alabama has some tasty fresh blackberries. Decades ago, my mama was heading out to pick blackberries to make a cobbler, but she ended up going to the hospital to have me instead. This is her mama's recipe. The blackberries start on top, but then end up tucked under a golden brown crust after it's baked. —Lisa Allen, Joppa, Alabama
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Grandma's Sour Cream Raisin Pie

The aroma of this pie baking in my farm kitchen oven reminds me of my dear grandma who made this pretty pie for special occasions. —Beverly Medalen, Willow City, North Dakota
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Grandma's Potato Salad

Our Fourth of July feast wouldn't be complete without this chilled old-fashioned potato salad. It's my grandma's treasured recipe. —Sue Gronholz, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin
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Cucumber Canapes

I always get requests for the recipe for these canapes whenever I serve them. They're delicate finger sandwiches with a creamy herb spread and festive red and green garnishes. —Nadine Whittaker, South Plymouth, Massachusetts
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Pina Colada Molded Salad

My gelatin ring gets a tropical twist from coconut, pineapple and macadamia nuts. It's a wonderful anytime treat. Now that I'm retired from teaching, I have more time for kitchen experiments. —Carol Gillespie, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania
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Layered Salad for a Crowd

This salad is a favorite of my three sons. I took it to a luncheon honoring our school district’s food service manager, and she asked for the recipe. I like to make the dressing the day before so the flavors blend together. —Linda Ashley, Leesburg, Georgia
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Gram's Fried Chicken

As a boy, I wolfed down my grandmother's fried chicken. I never knew how she made it, but my recipe using potato flakes is crispy close. —David Nelson, Lincolnton, North Carolina
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Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake

I’ve baked this cake every spring for many years, and my family loves it! Use your own fresh rhubarb, hit up a farmers market or find a neighbor who will trade stalks for the recipe! —Helen Breman, Mattydale, New York
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Blueberry Gelatin Salad

I find myself making this blueberry jello salad often. People request this layered treat for potlucks all the time. This dish can be served as either a salad or a dessert. And preparing it a day ahead makes it taste even better! —Mildred Livingston, Phoenix, Arizona
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Zucchini Boats

After working hard all our lives and raising a family, we're now enjoying a simpler life. Getting back to the basics means enjoying old-fashioned comfort foods like these stuffed zucchini boats. —Mrs. C. Thon, Atlin, British Columbia
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Grandma's Strawberry Shortcake

Here's a family-sized version of my grandma's summertime dessert. I can still taste the sweet juicy berries she piled over warm biscuits and topped with a huge dollop of fresh whipped cream. My father added even more indulgence to his serving by first buttering his biscuits. —Shirley Joan Helfenbein, Lapeer, Michigan
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Aunt Marion's Fruit Salad Dessert

Aunt Marion's Fruit Salad Dessert

Aunt Marion, my namesake, is like a grandma to me. She gave me this luscious salad recipe, which goes to all our family reunions, hunt club suppers and snowmobile club picnics...and I go home with no leftovers! —Marion LaTourette, Honesdale, Pennsylvania
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Tangy Spareribs

I still remember coming home from church to the smell of these ribs baking in the oven alongside baked potatoes. They have an old-fashioned homemade barbecue sauce that clings to every morsel. —Judy Clark, Elkhart, Indiana
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Rhubarb Cherry Pie

As a young girl, I dreamed of being able to make pies like my mother. (Her rolling pin, which I inherited, was 2 ft. long and 8 in. wide!) In fact, this is Mom's rhubarb strawberry pie recipe with cherries instead. I first made this pie for a church gathering 20 years ago—ever since, everyone's looked for it at every potluck! —Eunice Hurt, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
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Meatballs in Barbecue Sauce

This recipe came from my home ec teacher in high school. I enjoy making it because you can throw it in the oven and still have time to do other things.—Yvonne Nave, Lyons, Kansas
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Vanilla Yogurt Ambrosia

This simple fruit salad is so yummy. I have served it many times, and it's always one of the first dishes to go. Fat-free vanilla yogurt also works well as the dressing. —Sherry Hulsman of Louisville, Kentucky
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Grandma's Spinach Salad

With all its fresh ingredients, this pretty spinach salad was my grandma’s favorite. Even my little ones like it (but don’t tell them spinach is good for them)! —Shelley Riebel, Armada, Michigan
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Sangria Gelatin Ring

This gelatin is enjoyed by everyone because you just can't go wrong with fresh berries. —Nicole Nemeth, Komoka, Ontario
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Sugar Cream Pie

I absolutely love Indiana sugar cream pie; especially the one that my grandma made for me. Here, we serve it warm or chilled and call it "Hoosier" sugar cream pie. —Laura Kipper, Westfield, Indiana
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Baked Honey-Glazed Chicken

When I was a young girl, this was my oldest sister's Sunday dinner. The tradition has continued, as I make this dish twice a month and my four daughters serve their families with this favorite dish. It has an old-fashioned subtle flavor and the chicken is crisp and brown. —Pat Dube, Phoenix, Arizona
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Favorite Cucumber Salad

Add a fresh-tasting touch to your menu with this favorite salad. The crunchy cucumbers are tossed with onion, green pepper and a sweet-tart dressing seasoned with celery seed.—Mary Lou Boyce,Wilmington, Delaware
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Old-Fashioned Pear Cake

Old-fashioned pear spice cake is a wonderful ending to a meal. It's not too heavy or rich, but the moist treat is brimming with flavor.—Audrey Golden, Cary, North Carolina
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Marina's Golden Corn Fritters

Just one bite of these fritters takes me back to when my kids were young. Nowadays for our get-togethers, I sometimes triple the recipe. Serve fritters with maple syrup or agave nectar. —Marina Castle Kelley, Canyon Country, California
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Sweet & Savory Pineapple Cheese Ball

One of my favorite dishes in childhood was my mom's pineapple and green pepper cheese ball. Now I make it, and it’s always a hit. —Susan Harrison, Laurel, Maryland
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Mom's Chopped Coleslaw

For Friday dinners, my mother made coleslaw to go with our fish. It’s still a family tradition, and the tangy dressing even works on a tossed salad. —Cynthia McDowell, Banning, California
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Spiced Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

I often bake this beautiful cake in my large cast-iron skillet and turn it out onto a pizza pan. —Jennifer Sergesketter, Newburgh, Indiana
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Mama's Potato Salad

This old-fashioned potato salad recipe doesn't have many ingredients, so it isn't as colorful as many that you find nowadays. But Mama made it the way her mother did, and that's the way I still make it today. Try it and see if it isn't one of the best-tasting potato salads you have ever eaten! —Sandra Anderson, New York, New York
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Sour Cream-Lemon Pie

I first tasted this pie at a local restaurant and hunted around until I found a similar recipe—now it's my husband's favorite. —Martha Sorensen, Fallon, Nevada
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Slow-Cooked Smokies

I like to include these little smokies smothered in barbecue sauce on all my appetizer buffets since they're popular with both children and adults. —Sundra Hauck, Bogalusa, Louisiana
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Cherry Waldorf Salad

We combine apples with tart cherries and dried cranberries to give an autumn twist to classic Waldorf salad. —Marie Hattrup, Sonoma, California
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Authentic German Potato Salad

This authentic German potato salad recipe came from Speck’s Restaurant, which was a famous eating establishment in St. Louis from the 1920s through the ‘50s. I ate lunch there almost every day and always ordered the potato salad. When the owner learned I was getting married, he gave me the recipe as a wedding gift! —Violette Klevorn, Washington, Missouri
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Cherry Gelatin Supreme

When I was growing up, this yummy, easy dessert was always on the menu at holiday get-togethers. Years ago, my aunt gave me the recipe, and now when I make it for my family, I think of her. —Janice Rathgeb, Brighton, Illinois
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Salmon Mousse Canapes

It’s so easy to top crunchy cucumber slices with a smooth and creamy salmon filling. Guests rave about the fun presentation, contrasting textures and refreshing flavor. —Barb Templin, Norwood, Minnesota
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Overnight Layered Lettuce Salad

This layered salad is a family favorite from a church cookbook I've had for 40 years. The bacon adds a fabulous crunch. —Mary Brehm, Cape Coral, Florida
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Old-Fashioned Coney Hot Dog Sauce

Camping and hot dogs go hand in hand. Roast some up over the fire, then top with this irresistible one-pot sauce. —Loriann Cargill Bustos, Phoenix, Arizona
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Apricot Gelatin Mold

My mother always made this apricot Jell-O salad for celebrations. When my husband and I were dating, he fell in love with this dish and, as soon as we were married, asked me to get the recipe. You can substitute peach or orange gelatin for a fresh summer treat. —Suzanne Holcomb, St. Johnsville, New York
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Crisp Waldorf Salad

This crunchy salad is a perfect side to accompany a heavy meal. With it's light and crisp flavors, it'll be the hit of the party.—Susan R Falk, Eastpointe, Michigan
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Makeover Peach Upside-Down Cake

This peachy delight has charmed folks for years. Our lightened version is even better with less fat and calories than other similar recipes.—Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Red Cabbage With Bacon

If you’ve braised, marinated or served red cabbage raw, try it steamed, then toss with bacon and a tangy sauce. We serve it with pork or chicken. This is how to cook cabbage with bacon. —Sherri Melotik, Oak Creek, Wisconsin
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Roasted Red Potato Salad

I got this roasted potato salad recipe from my sister-in-law and I've made it numerous times at the request of friends and co-workers. It's quick and easy, which is just what I need in my busy life. I learned how to cook from the two best cooks I know—my mom, Arline, and my Grandma Etta. —Ginger Cusano, Sandusky, Ohio
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Ambrosia Fruit Salad

My mom's ambrosia salad, with its tasty combination of fresh fruits and creamy yogurt, is a family favorite, and a great addition to a backyard barbecue. —Colleen Belbey, Warwick, Rhode Island
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Marmalade Meatballs

We had a potluck at work, so I started cooking these meatballs in the morning. By lunchtime they were ready. They were a big hit! —Jeanne Kiss, Greensburg, Pennsylvania
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Old-Fashioned Banana Cream Pie

This old-fashioned banana cream pie recipe is full of flavor. Because it uses instant pudding, this no-bake dessert is ready in just minutes. —Perlene Hoekema, Lynden, Washington
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Simple Lime Gelatin Salad

Looking for a festive dish to light up the buffet? This pretty green gelatin salad is eye-catching and has a delightful, tangy flavor. —Cyndi Fynaardt, Oskaloosa, Iowa
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Creamy Dilled Cucumber Salad

This creamy cucumber salad, a Norwegian favorite, was a staple at all of our family holidays. —Patty LaNoue Stearns, Traverse City, Michigan
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Bacon, Cheddar and Swiss Cheese Ball

When it’s time for a party, everyone always requests this ultimate cheese ball—it’s such an impressive appetizer. And if you’re a party guest, it makes a fabulous gift for your hosts.—Sue Franklin, Lake St. Louis, Missouri
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Plum Upside-Down Cake

Since my husband liked pineapple upside-down cake, I decided to give this recipe a try one night when we were expecting guests for dinner. Everyone pronounced this cake "Delicious!" and asked for seconds.—Bobbie Talbott, Veneta, Oregon
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Grilled Figgy Pies

Delicious figs combined with maple, walnuts and creamy mascarpone make a decadent treat that's easy to enjoy at a backyard cookout. These unique hand pies always disappear quickly. —Renee Murby, Johnston, Rhode Island
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Judy's Macaroni Salad

After finding this vintage macaroni salad recipe years ago, I tweaked the flavor and bumped up the pickles. Tuck this dill pickle pasta salad inside your picnic basket. —Elizabeth Kirchgatter, Maysville, Kentucky
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Grandma's Carrot Cake

My grandma was very special to me. She had a big country kitchen that was full of wonderful aromas any time we visited. This was one of her prized cake recipes, and it continues to be a favorite from generation to generation. —Denise Strasz, Detroit, Michigan

Katie Bandurski
Katie is an Associate Editor for Taste of Home, specializing in writing and email newsletters. When she’s out of the office, you’ll find her exploring Wisconsin, trying out new vegetarian recipes and combing through antique shops.
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