Wednesday, November 23, 2011

For Your Thanksgiving Table

You know how sometimes you're hosting Thanksgiving, only you don't have a usable dining room? So you've been working your butt off to make that happen, so you haven't really been preparing for the actual Thanksgiving dinner that you'll be serving if you end up with someplace to serve it? Oh, and your Precocious Daughter's birthday falls on Thanksgiving this year, and God knows you haven't had time to do anything about that between not having a dining room floor and having no clue how to actually prepare a turkey?

You know about that, right?

Or maybe you're one of those perfect people who had all the side dishes prepared three days ago, 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 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 ran this recipe last year, and I'm just going to by-God make it a tradition here at Always Drunk. Because I always think of Gran this time of year - her 99th birthday would have been November 25, and she always hosted Thanksgiving when I was a kid. She missed PDaughter'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, and especially Sweetheart Balls. Here's an amended version of what I wrote last year:


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.


Oh crap, I just remembered I don't have any crushed pineapple. Oh crap, I just remembered I haven't made a birthday cake for PDaughter. And also I don't have a dining room yet.
I give thanks for tolerant relatives, indulgent friends, and cheap, plentiful booze.

No comments:

Post a Comment

You're thinking it, you may as well type it. The only comments you'll regret are the ones you don't leave. Also, replies to threads make puppies grow big and strong.