Morbid Curiosity

Morbid Curiosity: Cold Balls

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.

Green BallsA divided try with a selection of peanut butter balls on the left and green balls on the right.
½ cup grated Swiss cheese
½ cup minced cooked ham
½ teaspoon prepared mustard
1 egg yolk
¼ teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper
Minced chives or parsley

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.

By Jen R. L. Disarray

Jen was once described as a "culinary anthropologist". She liked that. When she is not making questionable foods, Jen enjoys reading, sassing, and lurking all over the internet. Jen has a blog called Maybe We Shouldn't Be Eating This, and she is a contributor to the Geekquality podcast and blog.

16 replies on “Morbid Curiosity: Cold Balls”

I think I’ll stick with the always classic Rum Balls for now (if I roll them in shaved chocolate does that count as Fuzzy Rum Balls??). But since you mentioned the literally dozens of recipes for balls, let me just say I wouldn’t object to a greater variety of balls in the future. (BALLS!!!)

OKAY. (AND THANK YOU.) I suppose I will describe the foods to you in my foods post, even though I initially cut the descriptions so as to make room for more jokes about balls.

GREEN BALLS: They tasted ok. Just like ham and cheese. BUT! The texture was all weird. They were somehow lumpy and slimy at the same time. And they were fuzzy balls, too, because of the parsley.

PEANUT BUTTER BALLS: These were like putting a giant spoon full of peanut butter in your mouth, except the peanut butter tasted vaguely like ketchup and there were strange chunks in the peanut butter that you were pretty sure were not peanuts (because they are carrots).


But how did they taste? I don’t think you could pay me enough to eat a peanut butter, carrot ketchup ball, but the Green balls sound kind of good.

And I salute you, fellow twelve year old. You showed remarkable restraint in the number of ball jokes in this post.

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