Barbie. The Y2K style revival. The Saltburn-led Murder on the Dancefloor renaissance. The continued adoration of Gilmore Girls. Nostalgia is always there, lurking in the background, influencing fashion, encouraging repeat watches of the TV shows we loved as teens and filling our Spotify playlists with decades-old hits. But it feels as though nostalgia is making more cultural waves than ever. And it’s extending to our eating habits, too.

Maybe we need a hit of familiarity in an ever-more unsettled world, or maybe it’s just nice to reminisce on simpler times when we had less responsibility and more collagen. Whatever it is, we’re jumping on board, rounding up nostalgia-inducing recipes that act as both standalone comfort food and winsome reminders of the past. Some skew classic, others are elevated takes on old favourites. All – from garlic bread to lamingtons and potato scallops/fritters/cakes – will offer temporary respite from the world outside, both while you’re cooking and while you’re eating.

1800 Lasagne’s garlic bread

Never miss a moment. Make sure you're subscribed to our newsletter today.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

For many years, ordering foil-wrapped garlic bread to accompany your pizza delivery was de rigueur, whether your family bought its Hawaiian and meat-lovers from Pizza Hut, Eagle Boys or Pizza Haven. This version, by Melbourne’s 1800 Lasagne, is a fancier riff on those classic garlic-butter-and-bread sticks. Confit garlic is the magic ingredient here, and if you really want to amp up the comfort, you can coat the entire roll with garlicky butter.

Damien Coulthard and Rebecca Sullivan’s cob loaf

A squat cob loaf, gutted and refilled with dip (often involving spinach, cheese, sour cream and French onion soup powder), its bready innards plated up alongside for dipping, was a mainstay at Australian parties for several decades. This version doubles down on the Aussie-ness: it’s laden with native ingredients like saltbush and warrigal greens. Vol-au-vents, prawn cocktails and Jatz crackers have all experienced recent revivals – we reckon the cob loaf deserves to be next.

Black Star Pastry’s Anzac biscuits

There aren’t many ways you can spin an Anzac biscuit – in fact, you’re technically not allowed to call it an Anzac biscuit if you’ve deviated from the OG recipe too much – so the aim here is to perfect the classic. Black Star Pastry group head chef Arnaud Vodounou’s version hews traditional, but adds a pinch of salt to cut through the sweetness.

Nornie Bero’s pumpkin damper with golden syrup butter

Based on how often Australian schoolchildren cooked damper at school camps, you’d think it would figure more in our adult lives. Nornie Bero, the Torres Strait Islander chef-owner of Melbourne’s Big Esso, is bringing it back – and sneaking in pumpkin for extra nutrition. The recipe for this much more exciting take on the flour-salt-and-water classic also calls for a golden syrup you’ll want to slather on to maximum thickness.

Adam D’Sylva’s potato cakes/scallops/fritters

Whether you call them potato cakes, scallops or fritters, battered, deep-fried potatoes are undeniably a fish’n’chipper winner. But have you ever made them at home? Adam D’Sylva’s (Tonka and Coda) recipe is a good first step; he’s not fussy about what ingredients you use, and says his take avoids the greasy aftertaste common in takeaway versions. He douses his in salt and vinegar, but we reckon a good shake of chicken salt is just as good.

Country Women’s Association’s chocolate fudge wedge

Seeking a nostalgia hit? Look no further than the Country Women’s Association (CWA), which has been sating those with a sweet tooth for more than a century via its cookbooks of classics and cake stalls. We bet plenty of family scone, sponge and slice recipes have their origins in CWA cookbooks. This nutty fudge wedge is quintessential CWA: comforting, sugary and rich. In other words, a trip down memory lane in cake form.

Lucky Prawn’s prawn toast

Prawn toast started life as a fusion dim sum dish in Hong Kong, and has been a well-loved staple in Australian-Chinese restaurants for many decades. This Sydney-famous take is from Lucky Prawn, a bistro within the HQ of Hawke’s Brewing in the city’s inner west. Like any prawn toast worth its sesame seed topping, it’s a textural cornucopia, from the crisp fried bread to the chunks of prawn spiked with ginger. Serve on a doily à la Lucky Prawn to amp up the retro factor.

Tivoli Road Bakery’s pork and fennel sausage roll

Australians are inculcated in the cult of the sausage roll from a young age, beginning at the school canteen and continuing into flat white-serving bakeries in adulthood. Some sausage rolls are better than others – and the roll by Melbourne’s Tivoli Road Bakery is right up there. It’s flavoured with a good amount of herbs, while apple offers a tart contrast to the rich pork. Because while your palate may have evolved since primary school, the love of a good sausage roll is forever.

Natalie Paull’s lamingtons

Having a solid lamington recipe up your sleeve is useful in a number of scenarios. Last-minute school bake sale? Sorted. Your turn to bring afternoon tea to work? No worries. Stuck for dessert ideas? The lamington is your friend. Natalie Paull’s (Beatrix Bakes) lamingtons take a bit of hard graft, but it’s worth it for the end result: light and airy lamingtons dipped in chocolate and filled with a spectacular strawberry jam.