Spaghetti Subs – A Retro Recipe Test

Posted on May 30 2012 - 6:17am by RetroRuth

Okay, okay. You got me. This post is NOT about gelatin.  I have to admit that the gelatin contest has been kicking my butt recently. My fridge is full of gelatin, my cabinets are full of boxes of the stuff and I STILL have a bunch of recipes to test.

But fear not. Tom and I still have the will of the warrior and the eye of the tiger. And the stomach of…something with an iron stomach. We will get through this.

And, to keep you amused while we cook and taste, here is the insanity that is Spaghetti Subs!


Just in case you were wondering if you were seeing things, never fear. There is canned spaghetti mixed with corn on that sandwich. You aren’t insane.

It’s okay to laugh. Really. Just let it all out. We have seen some crazy crap on this blog, but this has to be one of the weirdest.

When we get something like this, you really, really start to wonder about mid-century test kitchens. I mean, really.



Robert BBQ Bean

See, you thought I was insane one, and just making things up to get you to visit my blog, but here is the proof that not only am I sane, but at one time this was printed in a cookbook. Who’s the crazy one, now?

Wait, it still might be me. After all, I actually made this nonsense.

This little wonder comes from the ever-amazing reader, Veg-o-matic. This recipe was on the same page in a cookbook as Veg’s gelatin submission. And as crazy as that gelatin submission was, these subs were even more nuts. “Oh, and those Spaghetti subs really need to happen,” Veg wrote in the submission email,  “At your house. Not mine.”

Oh, you had better believe they’re happening.


This is a pot full of crazy right here. Canned spaghetti, parmesan cheese, canned corn AND the liquid from the canned corn.

As if canned spaghetti wasn’t goopy enough on it’s own.


This is a hot dog bun filled with provolone, salami, relish and red onion.

Oh, Lordy.


Ha ha ha.

Ha ha ha ha!!

Bwaha ha ha hah ahahAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!

*Snort* Okay, okay. I’m good, I’m good.


This is Tom thinking about how bad his life is.


THIS is how messy that stupid thing was.


This is Tom trying to crank down on a sandwich that should, by all rights, be eaten with a spoon. Or at least a knife and fork.


Even though I don’t normally do this, here is the second bite. Notice the noodles running down the inside of his hands. The corn trying to go up his nose.


The aftermath of the second bite.  Most of the noodles have jumped ship, and really only corn remains.

“So,” I said after I moved the camera to a safe distance, “how is it?”

“Not awful.”

“Well. That’s a ringing endorsement.”

“How about this: They don’t taste as bad as they look.”

The Verdict: Not bad. They were far too messy to enjoy properly, but in all actuality they weren’t that bad. Tom ate the rest of his and then made another sandwich with meat, cheese and relish on it and dipped it in to a bowl of the spaghetti/corn mess. It was much neater that trying to eat it like a sub.

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I love everything retro, vintage, mid-century, kitsch and all things atomic! A 21st century housewife just trying to fit the 50's. I have a passion for vintage recipes and an enormous vintage cookbook collection that I keep testing, even though by now I should know better. Creator of Mid-Century Menu (, No Pattern Required (, and I Ate The 80's (

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30 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Eartha Kitsch May 30, 2012 at 9:40 am - Reply

    Maybe I’ve just been around cats too long but it truly looks like someone vomited WHILE eating their dinner. Especially that puddle that it left in the plate.

    • RetroRuth May 30, 2012 at 1:50 pm - Reply

      You know, Eartha, I thought that, too!!!

  2. nickarmadillo May 30, 2012 at 9:45 am - Reply

    Over in the UK they’re quite fond of canned spaghetti on toast, which I guess is pretty similar to this recipe. When I first moved over there, I thought the mix was a bit strange, but grew to love it. Now I eat it all the time!

    • RetroRuth May 30, 2012 at 1:52 pm - Reply

      That makes a lot more sense. I could see this mix on toast, and then eaten with a fork. Much easier than trying to sling it onto a sub!

  3. Sara In AZ May 30, 2012 at 9:45 am - Reply

    That looks insane!!!! And I second Eartha, it looks like someone vomited on the plate…eek!!!!! Glad it turned out tasting “not bad” in the end!!!! 🙂

    • RetroRuth May 30, 2012 at 1:53 pm - Reply

      It was pretty crazy. The craziest thing was that it tasted okay!

  4. veg-o-matic May 30, 2012 at 10:46 am - Reply

    “Not awful”? Really?


    When I first came across the insanity of that recipe (“Oh, this has Tom’s name written allllllll over it,” I thought to myself. Possibly out loud.) I couldn’t imagine how hideous it would be to take an innocent cold cut sub and slather it with canned spaghetti. And then goop some un-drained canned corn on top.
    Un-drained. Canned. Corn.

    The Registered Home Economists over at Family Circle musta been hitting the crack pipe pretty hard that day.

    Oh, well. Guess this only means I’ll have to try harder 😉

    Poor Tom. Poor, poor Tom…

    • RetroRuth May 30, 2012 at 2:01 pm - Reply

      It was unbelievable that they tasted okay. I was shocked. Shocked!

      Oh yeah, bring it on! Tom is ready for whatever you can find. 🙂

  5. Dawm May 30, 2012 at 2:13 pm - Reply

    Tom deserves a medal. Well, you both DO, you for MAKING these hidiously awesome creations, and Tom for taking the first bite. 😀 If I ever find an awardsy craftsy glittery blue ribbon project on Etsy, you are both going to get bestowed with hideously awesome tacky blue ribbons. With glitter. And modpodge. Oh yeah! 😀

    • RetroRuth May 30, 2012 at 8:41 pm - Reply

      You are right! He totally deserves a medal. Me, not so much. I get my reward when I make Tom eat disgusting things that no other human being would try!

      And yes, a tacky blue ribbon for him would be perfect. Especially with lots of glitter. He HATES glitter!

  6. Jeff May 30, 2012 at 4:45 pm - Reply

    Gelatin! Gelatin! Gelatin! Gelatin!

    Waiting is hard…

    • RetroRuth May 30, 2012 at 8:42 pm - Reply

      I know, Jeff! The gelatin is coming!:)

      You can take comfort in the fact that four months from now you are going to be writing a comment that says, “Enough with the gelatin already. Don’t you people ever make anything else?” That is how many gelatin recipes are now in the backlog to show you guys!

  7. Mia May 30, 2012 at 4:58 pm - Reply

    Can’t quit laughing…

    • RetroRuth May 30, 2012 at 8:43 pm - Reply

      Thank you. That was the appropriate response to this crazy sandwich. 🙂

  8. Barbara May 30, 2012 at 9:20 pm - Reply

    When I show these things to my mom, she always asks “why not serve them separately? No one ate like that!”

    I mean, really…why couldn’t you have a bowl of spaghetti and a sub sammich? Why do they have to be combined? And WTF is up with corn? What does corn have to do with any of this?

    Me thinks the evil mid-century cooking gods wanted Timmy to eat his vegetables way too badly!!

    • RetroRuth June 1, 2012 at 10:38 am - Reply

      That is the most reasonable thing to do, right? A sandwich with spaghetti on the side. You could even still throw the corn in the spaghetti if you want.

      But yes, the corn addition is weird.

  9. P'Gell May 31, 2012 at 12:49 pm - Reply

    They didn’t taste bad? Oh, my. Looked scary.

    But the recipe said to add undrained corn. Why? WHY?

    • RetroRuth June 1, 2012 at 10:39 am - Reply

      I know, right? They look like utter crap. I was so shocked when he ate a second one.

      You know, I am wondering about the undrained corn, too. Why do that? The spaghetti might have had a chance to stay on if it wouldn’t have been for that stupid corn water.

      • Lassie June 3, 2012 at 8:58 pm - Reply

        “Lurleen, dozing, woke up with a start at 5 p.m. when the late bus wheezed to a stop at the entrance to the trailer park. She rubbed her eyes. ‘Holy hell, Jimmy Joe is home from practice already, he’ll be starving, what am I gonna feed that bottomless pit? I never did make it to the Save-A-Lot today…’ Sure enough, Jimmy Joe bounced in announcing he was starved and had to eat RIGHT NOW. Lurleen opened the refrigerator, then the cupboard, pulling out everything on the shelves and stared at the odd assortment. Well, let’s see, got me some sardines for me, he’s not gonna eat them. Got enough cold cuts for half a sandwich, half an onion, a couple hot dog rolls, a canna corn, a canna Spaghetti-O’s’, a little of this, a little of that….”you’re that hungry, Son? You gonna eat what we got.” She went to work….’So how is it?’ she asked out of sheer curiosity. ‘Not awful, Mom. Is there any more?’ What a wonderful thing a 12 year old eating machine is! ‘A little son, a little.”

  10. Abigail Grotke June 6, 2012 at 7:53 am - Reply

    Tom is a very very brave man. I would love to track down recipe makers from way back when. Find out what the heck they were thinking.

  11. sallie June 18, 2012 at 3:28 pm - Reply

    I have a ton of cookbooks that I got from my Grandmother, and some of the recipes are pretty crazy…to say the least!

  12. Berroci December 20, 2012 at 7:34 am - Reply

    This and the tuna gondolier sandwich would really appeal to Japanese people – they’d just have to top it with a giant glob of mayonnaise.

  13. Karen January 17, 2013 at 1:41 pm - Reply

    It made me laugh. It made me shiver and make a terrible face. If I’d stared at it any longer, it might have made me cry. I would never. That being said, my husband would probably eat it.

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