In one of my cookbooks there is a whole section of recipes for “cold balls.” And, because I am secretly twelve years old, I snicker to myself every time I pass that chapter. But the more I flipped past that chapter, the more it taunted me. Why hadn’t I tried these recipes yet? Was I afraid? Did I dare? Did I have The Balls?
Well, no. Obviously not. I hadn’t made them yet.
There are a lot of recipes for cold balls in this book; I’ve only selected two for today, but there are close to 40 recipes in the balls section. I suspect that when this cookbook was still in the planning stages, the following conversation took place…
Editor-in-Chief (who I imagine sounding like J. Jonah Jameson, because that’s how I imagine all editors-in-chief): We need to expand the appetizer section! I want a chapter on balls!
Writing Peon #1: Sir?
E-i-C: You heard me! Balls! Cold balls on toothpicks. At least 30 recipes. I want to see your balls on my desk by morning. Get to work, losers!
[After J.J. Jameson leaves the room, the writing peons dissolve into hysterical laughter for 20 minutes.]
Writing Peon #1: I don’t care about anything else in life anymore. This chapter CANNOT get cut.
Writing Peon #2: Does it even matter what’s in these recipes? I just want to see how many times we can get away with writing “balls.”
Writing Peon #1: I’m just going to start reading out everything in the test-kitchen cupboards. Write down three ingredients at random and call it a recipe!
I wasn’t there, but I’m pretty sure that’s how it happened. Most of the recipes show about that level of forethought and attention to texture and flavor, including the two I’ve selected: Green Balls (I guess they couldn’t figure out a way to sneak “blue balls” past the censors) and Peanut Butter Balls (which is a mixture of peanut butter, shredded carrot, and ketchup).
And I know what you’re all thinking, so in the interests of saving everyone time and trouble I’ll ask myself the inevitable question and even throw in an answer for free…
Q: So, Ms. Disarray, just how many balls can you fit in your mouth at once?
A: Four and a half. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to do it at first, but it was one of those situations where you don’t really know what you’re capable of until you really put your mind to it and give it your all. Achievements of this caliber take both practice and dedication; they aren’t for amateurs. I just hope my example can be an inspiration future generations.
Blend first 6 ingredients together and chill thoroughly. Form into balls and roll in minced chives or parsley.
Peanut Butter Balls
Mix peanut butter with a little grated raw carrot and ketchup. Chill, then form into balls.
The recipes featured in this post are from the Mary Margaret McBride Encyclopedia of Cooking, published by the Homemakers Research Institute in 1959.