No Concessions for Frugality

Deep breath. Here we go:

There is so much that I love about this book. A teensy bit of history, (because I am a loser this way) so that from here on out, you'll understand where good ol' Lucy was coming from. This book was first published in 1925 (the edition I have is from 1970, which accounts for the pictures being so awesome). That's post-WWI, but pre-Great Depression, which is revealed in the fact that there are no concessions for frugality. There is no suggestion to use milk instead of cream or paddlefish roe instead of sturgeon. This is a straight up, balls to the wall indulgence for those you are welcoming into your home, entertaining and plying with luxury. Lucy co-founded the Boston School of Cookery in 1915 after studying under Fannie Farmer. So... you know, she's got some street cred. Okay, on to the sexy stuff.

I started with the recipe for Gruyere cheese balls for a few reasons: one is that there is nothing too intimidating here. There are no livers or sardines or aspics. No piping bags or fluted knives. However, this recipe is based on a foundation of two kinds of cheese rolled in butter, so it's enough of a departure from my normal style to take me a little out of my comfort zone.

Um, yeah, did you need me to repeat that? You combine two kinds of cheese, then roll them in melted butter. Completely unnecessary, but so delicious. My sidekick and I are going to eat nothing but greens on the nights I don't force these recipes down our gullets to make sure we don't expire halfway through. These were, while incredibly rich, totally tasty and a great way to kick off the experiment.

Gruyere Cheese Balls
1/2 cup cream cheese
1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese
1/2 cup dextrinized bread crumbs (don't panic, it just means browned under dry heat)
2 tablespoons melted butter

Mix the cream cheese and Gruyere until smooth and make into small balls about the size of a filbert, roll in melted butter and then in crumbs. To make these crumbs, butter two slices of stale bread and place in a moderate oven to become golden brown throughout, then crush, sift and use.


  1. "make into small balls about the size of a filbert" - please tell me that is your poetic license.

  2. Ha! That is actually the verbiage used in the book, which should really be a huge indicator as to why I love it so much.

  3. Would you dare to make them for a party?

  4. I did panic! Paddlefish??????

  5. I notice how you started on page 69 with the balls...just sayin'.

  6. @Julia - You live in the Midwest. You have special rules about cheese and cream, don't you?

    @Mitch - You would.