Friday, November 27, 2015

American Ingredients Explained

Bill the Butcher obviously wins Comment of the Week for his response to my annual posting of my grandma's Sweetheart Balls recipe:

In case I need to remind you, Bill is from goddamn India, which somehow has managed to inherit both the sophistication of British culture and Britain's loopy and charming ignorance of how things operate in the Colonies. Plus, something about thousands of years of its own culture, yada yada. Whatever, we're talking about 'Murica here.

So for the benefit of Mr. The Butcher and any other dirty foreigners who read this blog (I seem to have a large contingent of Ukrainian readers/spammers), let me break down the ingredients for Sweetheart Balls, which apparently are much more uniquely American than I ever dreamed.

Cream cheese. Um, this is a tangy, soft, white cheese that is sold in three- or eight-ounce blocks. Essentially the only brand is Philadelphia, although you can buy some crappy generic or store brand if you hate America. Cream cheese is used to make dips, pies, frosting for carrot cakes, and of course, Sweetheart Balls. Comes in many different flavors, the better to be spread on bagels.

Please do not make me explain bagels and cream cheese.
Maraschino cherries. I guess the Rat Pack never made it to India. You can NOT have an American holiday of any stripe without these. Essentially, they're cherries that are "pickled" in a brine of sugar syrup and red food coloring. Here in the civilized world, we put them in cocktails, on cakes and cookies, on pineapple upside-down cake, on glazed hams, and on ice-cream sundaes. They're sold in jars, and the juice can be used to flavor your favorite drink and/or ice cream syrup. Read about their history here.

Graham crackers. Seriously? Every child in America eats graham crackers in kindergarten. I can't imagine an American citizen not smiling at the mention of graham crackers. They are crackers made of graham flour, frequently flavored with honey and/or cinnamon.

Literally everyone in the U.S. knows and
loves these.

Graham crackers can be eaten straight out of the box, or they can be made into S'mores (don't even start, foreign devils), or crushed to make graham-cracker pie crusts or, of course, Sweetheart Balls. Graham crackers are everything that is good and pure about America. How dare you not be familiar with them, you terrorist bastard.

Canned pineapple. Since we are God's Chosen Nation, we can of course obtain pineapple in myriad forms. We can buy them fresh, frozen, canned. And not just canned: We can buy canned pineapple chunks, rings, tidbits, and in crushed form. The latter is useful for baking applications (mmmmm, my mom's pineapple cake), as well as Sweetheart Balls. Fun fact: Dole is the dominant pineapple brand in America, and the Dole family is mostly responsible for destroying the native Hawaiian culture on the islands where pineapples originate. Enjoy!

So there you have it. If you're a freaking Godless terrorist foreigner like Bill the Butcher, I hope this post has been edifying and helpful. If you're a true-blue, red-blooded American patriot, I hope your freedom-loving heart grew three sizes today. Bill: Convert or die, baby. I see no other options.

Someday I will make you Sweetheart Balls, and you will fall to your knees and sing "God Bless America." Get ready for that, you heathen terrorist bastard.

I love you.


  1. Was that Dole as in Bob Dole?

    I see you've still got your cherry :D

  2. From Wiki: "The graham cracker was originally conceived of as a health food as part of the Graham Diet, a regimen to suppress what Reverend Graham considered unhealthy carnal urges...Reverend Graham would often lecture on "self-abuse", as masturbation was commonly called at the time. Graham would often say how these experiences were inspired by children eating crackers..." W. T. F? Clearly I have been eating the wrong crackers.

  3. Hilarious.

    Maybe we should call Christian Children's Fund and ask them to send emergency cream cheese to India?

    I only want to give to charities who ensure the majority of the sweetheart balls go right where they belong. To Bill the Butcher.

  4. No graham crackers?

    The origin of graham crackers is the same as the origin of corn flakes (I"m not kidding about this): They were originally developed by super-religious guys to prevent, um, self-satisfaction.

    Now you know.

  5. I cannot be more thankful for Bill's reminder of how much we 'Muricans take for granted, although I am slightly miffed that he's not my dentist because I think being his patient would be a riot even without the benefit of nitrous oxide.

    Also my grandfather grew his own pineapple plant in the greenhouse he built here in Tennessee. This was back when canned pineapple was the only type available and even then we 'Muricans had to conquer tiny island nations to acquire them. My grandfather brought back a real pineapple from a trip to Hawaii, saved part of it, and grew a whole new one. I swear he could have grown a cherry tree from a jar of maraschino cherries if he'd decided to.


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