Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Time Again for a Thanksgiving Treat

Here it is, Drunkards - my traditional Thanksgiving post! This is my annual gift to you, to say "thank you" to my loyal readers and to avoid having to write an all-new post on Thanksgiving Eve, when I'm worried about whether my mashed potatoes will turn out OK tomorrow.

I hope my American readers will have a wonderful holiday, and that my international readers (hello, Venezuela!) will take a page from our book and pause to give thanks for everything you have, great or small. There is ALWAYS something to be thankful for, I promise.

Here's this year's version of my Turkey Day offering.


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Maybe you're one of those perfect people who has had all their side dishes prepared for three days, along with charming little placard holders shaped like baby turkeys, and now you're just waiting to fire up the chainsaw to create the ice sculpture of Miles Standish that will adorn your perfect dining room table.

Well, fuck you.

SORRY. That is not in the spirit of abundance and gratitude, is it?

OK, to make up for it, I have a gift for you. This is my secret weapon, the reason I have no fear about creating a successful Thanksgiving dinner. I give it to you because it's one of my favorite things in the whole world besides monkey art.

This is my grandmother's recipe for Sweetheart Balls.

I always think of Gran this time of year - and especially this year. She would have turned 100 years old this November 25. She missed Precocious Daughter's birth by just a few months, passing away literally a week before I found out I was expecting. I remember her best in the kitchen, making holiday meals with a charming apron tied around her waist. I especially remember Sweetheart Balls. They're the best thing ever.

This recipe not complicated, it's not fancy. It's simply not Thanksgiving without it. My grandmother's Sweeheart Balls always graced our holiday tables as far back as I can remember, and in recent years I've happily won converts among the next generation and my sister's significant other. And to honor Gran, I'm going to share her recipe with you. Because it's so yummy, and so easy.

Let me emphasize: You can make this recipe. I don't care if you're a complete culinary idiot, if you can't melt butter, if "peel back film to vent" constitutes extensive preparation in your vocabulary. You can make Sweetheart Balls. You can serve them as an appetizer, a side dish, or a dessert, and they will make you look good. This is my gift to you. Even if you don't make them on Thanksgiving, make them sometime. You'll love them, and I'll love that people are enjoying my grandma's special treat.

So Happy Thanksgiving. Count your blessings, appreciate your riches (especially the ones that aren't actually monetary), and if you are so fortunate, eat 'til you burst.

Sweetheart Balls

8 oz. cream cheese
1 small can crushed pineapple
10-12 maraschino cherries (more or less)
1 sleeve (give or take) of graham crackers

Let the cream cheese sit out for 30 minutes or so to soften but not get too gooey. Drain the pineapple (maybe make a tasty beverage with the juice). Cut each cherry into about a dozen small bits - don't worry if they're sitting in a small pool of cherry juice. Put the graham crackers into a plastic zipper bag and use a rolling pin or tall can to crush them into coarse, not quite powdery, crumbs.

Combine the cream cheese, pineapple, and cherries with a spoon or your hands to make a lumpy, pasty mess. The cherry juice should turn the mixture a very pale pink, or add more juice to taste. Pinch off enough of the mixture to form into a 1-inch ball, then roll in the graham cracker crumbs. Place on a plate and repeat until you have used up all of the cream cheese (this recipe should make about three dozen balls and of course can be doubled or tripled or whateverpled). Crush additional graham crackers if you run out of crumbs before you run out of cream cheese.

Cover with plastic wrap and chill for a couple of hours or overnight. To serve, set the plate out and encourage indiscriminate indulgence.



Confidential to those with whom I can't spend the holiday: I love you and I miss you. See you soon. I give thanks that you're in my life, even if you're not in my home.


  1. Do you think it work if you made them into fingers rather than balls? I don't like eating spherical objects, they remind of some very unappetizing dishes I've been offered.

    1. I'm not sure, but I hereby award you Comment of the Week If Not Ever. :)

  2. Definitely like this idea and I'll be using it some time in the future. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!


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