We may not have snow this year in Wisconsin for Christmas, but we can have a cheese ball. This recipe belongs to my Grandma Love, who hosted us in northwest Iowa for Christmas for most of my childhood. At the time I wanted nothing to do with the cheese ball, but I remember it distinctly appearing on Christmas Eve when the relatives first started appearing through the back door that led into the kitchen. Coats were peeled off, pink lipstick-covered lips gave shocks on the cheek when kissed and presents were placed under the tree. I was much more interested in the homemade sloppy joes that were served to the kids instead of the oyster stew that the adults feasted upon and the hard candy that I got if I went to church later that night with Aunt Agnes, but the cheese ball now holds a special place in our hearts- equal parts nostalgia and deliciousness.
My mom and sister made the cheese ball this week and split it into two- one they brought over for a winter solstice shindig and the other we will enjoy tomorrow for Christmas Eve. Served with crackers and a holiday cocktail, it’s just the thing.
Here is the recipe, the way my Grandma wrote it.
Harriet’s Cheese Ball
2 large packages Philly cream cheese
1 stick very sharp Kraft Cracker Barrel Cheese (cheddar)
1 1/2 dozen or so green stuffed olives- cut up fine
3 T dry onion flakes
Soften philly cheese and cracker barrel cheese. I grind up the cheddar cheese and blend the cheeses together, add onion flakes and olives, blend well. Form in a ball. Roll cheese ball in chopped pecans and store in refrig. until ready to use.