Since it’s Labor Day is coming up, it’s time to trot out the old BBQ standbys here on Mid-Century Menu: The loaf of grilled hot dogs, the potato salad with gelatin in it, the spiced lemonade and the chocolate cake made with tomato soup. These are all really good, I swear, and would make a fantastic cook-out meal!

Ahh, Labor Day, where everything is last minute. Last minute back-to-school shopping. Last minute gardening. Last minute vacations. But your Labor Day cookout doesn’t need to be last minute. Here on Mid-Century Menu we have tested hundreds of vintage and retro recipes, and put together this fun, retro-party menu for your Labor Day Bash!

Labor Day Cookout Menu

Spiced Lemonade


Really good. Different from usual lemonade. I totally didn’t think that cloves and cinnamon would be good partners with lemon, but it seriously was amazing. Tom liked his with ginger ale, since it was a bit sweeter, but I liked the kind made with plain water since I like a little bit of pucker in my lemonade.

Cracker Kabobs


Fun. Basically just cheese and crackers jammed in a grapefruit. Definitely a different way to serve snacks.  Some bologna or  sausage can be substituted for the Spam, or you can just leave it out altogether. A big plus is how easy it is!

Cheese Frankfurter Loaf


Surprisingly, the cut-loaf method actually WORKED, and each section made it’s own little bun. So you could pulled pre-bunned hot dogs straight from the loaf.  It was pretty cool.  The hot dogs and the cheese were good, but the sauce could have been left off. It tasted like sloppy joe sauce, and not really something that I would pair with hot dogs. I would substitute barbecue sauce or chili dog sauce instead!

Potato Salad Gelatin Mold


As crazy as this sounds, this thing was actually really good. The flavors and the seasonings were well-balanced without being bland or boring, and the potato salad, while congealed enough to mold, wasn’t so hard that it actually tasted like gelatin. It tasted like a regular, old-fashioned classic potato salad, a good one, except a little more firm. If you aren’t a big fan of how goopy potato salad can get sometimes, this might be your answer. And the olives and pimentos were a really good addition. If you are having a retro-themed cookout, or even a regular one, this potato salad is a must!

Carrot and Pineapple Salad


Good. Classic gelatin salad. Also, pineapple in heavy syrup is delicious.

Black Magic Cake With Condensed Tomato Soup


Amazing! Tom has decided this is his new favorite chocolate cake, and I am never to make a different one again. Ever. It was moist, very chocolaty, had an excellent depth of flavor provided by the tomato soup and it was very stable. I was easily able to bake it in two 8 inch layer pans, turn the cakes out with no problems AND split each layer with no turntable and just a serrated knife. The layers took quite a bit of flapping back and forth as I filled the cake, and never once cracked or crumbled. And this sucker stayed moist, too. Three days later I got an email from our neighbor who took leftover cake home, exclaiming on how moist the cake still was. You can also take the easy way out and bake it in a 13×9 pan and it still turns out fantastic.

*Note – The layer cake is frosted with Vintage Bakery Frosting, and filled with a vintage chocolate frosting/filling.

No matter what you make for your meal hope you have a great Labor Day!