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Story of the Green Cheese Ball

Thursday, January 01, 2015

As some of you may recall from having read some of my historic Spark blogs, my Dad was a professional chef before I was born. He had gone to culinary school on the GI Bill after World War II.

Although he left the restaurant industry before I was born, this training and experience meant that food in our home, while I was growing up, was nothing short of delectable. Surely this contributed to why I am now here, considering that ingredients were awful for us and portions were excessive. Yumminess was not skimped upon, not one iota.

With his culinary and restaurant industry background, my parents frequently entertained friends and relatives at our house. This was not something that we kids looked forward to our relished – it meant having to be clean, neat, quiet and polite. But like a scene from the TV show “Mad Men”, they liked to throw cocktail parties.

One New Year’s Eve, more or less 1969 or 1970, they did just that. And in those days, this did not mean hitting the warehouse store for premade party platters. Instead it meant all of us slaving away in the kitchen (Dad and his team of indentured sous chefs), on all manner of delectable homemade delicacies.

Front and center on that particular New Year’s Eve was the homemade cheese ball (with the homemade crackers – I kid you not). The cheese ball was a special blend of several exotic European cheeses, bound together with butter and other terrible-for-you ingredients. Round and round in the stand mixer, it gradually took on a pale yellow color and a texture of coarse cream cheese.

Dad then unveiled the special ingredient to make it “extra yummy” and “something people would talk about still on the next day” – black caviar. As memory serves, perhaps a teaspoon – certainly not more than a tablespoon of the caviar went into the stand mixer bowl.

The pretty pale yellow cheese ball, in a matter of a few revolutions on the mixer stand, turned dark charcoal gray. We sous chefs thought it pretty funny, but Dad was not amused. You see, maybe people would not thrill to east a gray cheese ball, no matter how incredibly good it tasted (which it no longer did, to our kid-palates). Dad said “I can fix this. We’ll just bring the color back.”

Out came the yellow food coloring, and voila… the dark grey cheese ball now was Snot Green! And the more yellow food coloring that was added, the greener it got. All afternoon Dad frantically endeavored to adjust its color, and it varied from Army-Olive to Nasal-Discharge and back again. Of course, we kids thought this was beyond hysterical!

As Dad predicted, the guests did not touch the green cheese ball. We sampled it along with the rest of the leftovers on New Year’s Day, which probably is just about what some of you may be doing right now in the day after the festivities as the holidays draw to a close. Remember, leftovers track as zero calories!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • TRIANGLE-WOMAN
    Great Story!
    1966 days ago
  • ECOAGE
    Oh the good old days! Back when artificial coloring was a household staple! So much fun!

    Happy new year! emoticon
    1973 days ago
  • IMLOCOLINDA
    When I was a chef's apprentice in the 70's it was a really big deal to dye the bread for finger sandwiches to match the color scheme of the wedding. Trust me, you could put lobster on blue bread and no one would eat it!! Blue and gray are mold colors and people just cringe. But I adored your story about the snot green cheese ball! Could totally relate!!

    Where are the ugly sweater entries?? I'm dying to know what you got and which you chose. I never did find one to match the one from South Dakota but saw some good ones worn by unsuspecting old ladies. They were even selling a t-shirt printed to look like an ugly sweater with all kinds of things to sew on to make them even more hideous at the local Shop-Ko.

    Thanks for the tip about Amazon. I found a good one for my friend in Oregon. She came in 2nd in her 'friends of the library' group's contest!!
    1973 days ago
  • DSHONEYC
    emoticon You certainly have some good memories if not good eating habits from you Culinary Dad.
    1975 days ago
  • IAMAGEMLOVER
    My SIL makes everything from scratch on Christmas Eve. That is why on Christmas Eve I eat anything I want, however much I want. Christmas day my sister cooks, I eat within reason. I take no leftovers home. None, nada zip, zero goose egg, I go home empty handed.
    1975 days ago
  • WOUBBIE
    LOL! Nothing un-greys grey, not even in oil paints.

    Butter and cheese are GREAT for you! Just don't put them on crackers or potatoes or toast and you'll be fine!
    1975 days ago
  • DALID414
    No wonder! I've eaten more homemade food in the past 3 week than I did all 2014 and put on a pound each week! I'm sure if I hadn't been working out it would have been worse!
    1975 days ago
  • SPARKFRAN514
    emoticon emoticon memories of time gone by thanks for sharing I agree the cheese ball looks like my Skinny Cow ice cream emoticon
    1975 days ago
  • PHOENIX1949
    emoticon The photo actually looks like Blue Bell Mint Chocolate ice cream cake!!
    1975 days ago
  • MARYANN2323
    Long live the green cheese ball! Thanks for the story.
    1975 days ago
  • WATERMELLEN
    Great story!! Entertaining was WAAAAY more work back then . . . no question. And mishaps could be pretty hilarious.
    1975 days ago
  • 1CRAZYDOG
    Grandma always made a pork roast on New Years Day. All the sides were delicious -- dumplings, rye bread, green bean casserole, sauerkraut that she made herself). Not that it was particularly healthful, but mighty tasty. BUT then there was the . . . awful . . . terrible . . . gag me . . . pickled herring. OMG! It was always an adventure to figure out how to get it out of my mouth into the garbage without being found out!
    1975 days ago
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