Ah the 70’s. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
I shudder when I see anything from the 70’s trying to sneak back into the mainstream. The fashions were ghastly. Leisure suits? Nehru jackets, polyester everything. Ick. Mediterranean furniture, avocado and harvest gold appliances, just shoot me, please. OK, I admit to rocking a Farah Fawcett hairstyle and loving it and I did have two of the cutest babies on the planet in that decade so it wasn’t all bad.
And, it’s so much fun to turn the stained and tattered pages in the typewritten “First and Last” cookbook put together by the employees of the local First National Bank somewhere around 1969. My momma worked there so I have two copies! I love to thumb through the recipes those first working moms were dishing out as kids listened to the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, and Led Zeppelin. They cranked up their stereos and did homework in their groovy shag-carpeted bedrooms until mom called them to supper. (That’s what it was called back then.)
In 1977, Jimmy Carter was elected president and the First Lady brought her recipe box with her to the White House. Southern cooks are reputed to be among the best in the land. Today I’ll share one from Rosalyn’s kitchen that was served at nearly every event where a dozen or more guests were gathered during Carter’s term in office. And for good reason. People loved scooping up the savory, salty, sweet, pecan-studded cheese ring filled with strawberry preserves. Pure bliss on a cracker!
It all starts with cheese!
The cheese needs to be grated by you from a block of cheddar. Pre-packaged grated cheese should only be used in the direst of emergency snack making. It’s just not the same. Some iterations call for it to be made in a ring mold but I think those all were sold on garage sales in the 80’s. I mean really. Who uses one anymore? Besides, there’s some kind of creative pleasure that comes from shaping it with your hands. Why deny yourself?
Now, add the other simple ingredients
Stir it up until well blended. Here’s a slick trick for keeping the serving plate tidy. Tear off three or four narrow sheets of waxed paper and arrange on the serving plate so they’re hanging over the side of the dish you’ve chosen. Now plop that sticky ball of cheese mix in the center of the plate and using the skills you learned in high school pottery class, form that baby into a doughnut shape. Rustic is good. They’ll know it’s homemade! Now, gently pull out the wax paper, leaving a clean plate! Voila!
Now cover it up tight with plastic wrap and chill it well. When ready to serve, stud the top with more pecans, fill the middle up with strawberry jam and arrange crackers around the edge or close by in a basket. (I like to use my homemade strawberry rhubarb jam and I’ll share the recipe here, too.) Stand back and get ready to here lots of “mmm-mmm” happy sounds as your family and friends enjoy this throwback classic!
Sweet and Savory Cheese Ring Recipe
- 1 lb sharp cheddar cheese finely grated
- 1 cup Hellmann's mayonnaise
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion I used green onion
- fresh ground pepper
- 1 dash cayenne pepper
- 1 12 ounce jar strawberry preserves
- crackers of your choice (I like whole grain crackers)
- 1/4 cup pecans for garnish
Combine cheese with mayo, chopped nuts and onions.
Mix in black pepper and cayenne, and blend thoroughly.
Form into ring using hands.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
To serve, stud top with more pecans and fill with strawberry preserves. Serve with crackers of your choice or melba toast rounds.
If you enjoyed this recipe today, please share it on your social media accounts like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. I’d sure be tickled and ever so grateful, thank you! 😊 If you haven’t already, check out my Facebook page where I’ll be posting easy, delicious and family-friendly recipes every week!