Saturday, December 27, 2014

Non-spiky appetizers

New Year's Day always feels like such a let-down: welcome to months of ice and gray skies! Now get back to work. It makes sense that people try to stave off the impending gloom with alcohol and appetizers. Nothing bad can happen if we unloose a pack of drunks in a room full of food bristling with toothpicks, right?

So today, for safety's sake, I give you a few appetizer suggestions that don't require toothpicks from The Midwestern Junior League Cookbook (1978), edited by Ann Seranne.

If you're hosting farmers with serious appetites, you might want to try this one:

Hamburger dip, with two pounds of ground beef, a pound of kidney beans, and six ounces of cheese, not to mention all the onion, catsup, and taco sauce, serves 12! As an appetizer! That's more than a quarter pound of dip per guest, not counting the "king-sized corn chips" needed for serving.

For something a little lighter yet more perplexing, you might want to try "Party Pizza":

This one sounds straightforward enough when it starts with hot sausage. That's a perfectly respectable pizza topper. It starts to sound a little iffy with processed cheese-- I think of pizza as at least having some kind of real cheese on top. Then it veers way off into left field: mix the cheese in with the sausage and add Worcestershire and soy sauce? Spread the whole mess on party rye bread? Can this even legally be called a pizza anymore? The name alone is false advertising. I might want to break out the toothpicks so I could turn them into little protest signs: "FAKE PIZZAS GO HOME!" Then I'd enlist some cocktail weenies to picket.

To get the bad taste of fake pizza out of our mouths, I'll end with the recipe with the most fun name:

Good old "Cheese Thing'A'mabob"! I love the midwestern informality of the name (although my grandma probably would have called it "Cheese Whatchamacallit"), as well as the way the name is spruced up with extra capital letters and apostrophes.

I also love that it calls for two sticks of margarine. In a recipe so heavily based on cheese anyway, why not call for real butter? It's not as if the margarine makes it healthier or tastier.... Maybe cheaper, but it's a party! Go a little crazy and spring for the real deal.

But this is the midwest, and going a little crazy means counting a full meal's worth of food as an appetizer or calling any damn thing with both bread and cheese a pizza. Using real butter when margarine will work just fine is just wasteful or something.


  1. Heh! Now I have this great image of lil' cocktail weenies w/ signs picketing around a container of spicy mustard

    1. You have to put cocktail weenies to work, or they will cause trouble!

  2. for some reason the pizza sounds delicious....maybe because I'm dieting....

    1. That seems like as reasonable an explanation as any!

    2. That sounds like as reasonable an explanation as any!