White Trash Cocktail Parties

Foodie Friday

Apr 15, 2011 by

Honey, where’s the Miracle Whip cookbook?

Does the headline make you think of home brew with saltines and vienna sausages?  You may also wonder if I’ve been watching too much Justified. Nahhhh. No such thing as too much Justified. I’d buy those godawful sausage things for Raylan Givens and serve ‘em up with a smile.  I’d even get Mags to give me the recipe for Apple Pie (without the poison), if Raylan wanted to stop and sit for a spell.

What the HELL are you talking about, Mary? This is supposed to be a Foodie Friday post!

Oops, sorry. Where was I?

Here’s a deep, dark secret of Southerners (and really, people everywhere) – some of the simplest and most unsophisticated recipes are the ones you can’t keep on the table.  They’re scoffed right up…right along with the martinis, the single malt scotch and the fine wines.  Why? Because they taste good (and just a mite sinful.)  People who would sneer at “pigs in a blanket” on a catering menu pile their plate high when the little darlings are on the table (with lots of that glaring yellow mustard.)  Seen it more than once.

So, what recipes should you keep handy (just in case Raylan drops by)?

The Never Fail Cream Cheese Block.  Put it on a plate.  Pour over sweet chile jam, chutney, or Picka-peppa sauce.  Serve with water crackers or – if you must get fancy – baguette slices. Stand back.  Make sure you’ve got more in the fridge.

The Everyone Has The Recipe Somewhere Crab/Artichoke Dip. Miracle Whip is involved.  Don’t tell people and they’ll never know.  They’ll just keep eating. Hot, cheesy, gooey. Salty. What’s not to love?  You’re just a google search away from sin right now. (But, please use real crab. That surimi stuff is just wrong.)

Weensy Pimento Cheese Sandwiches. Grate sharp cheddar cheese, lob in a small jar of pimentos, with some of the juice, and some – yep – Miracle Whip (a little goes a long way).  Spread on (good) white bread, cut into squares (without crusts).  Get fancy and use a round cookie cutter. A pound of cheese will make a LOT.  Serve with some pickled okra on the side to nibble. (Julia Reed has a whole list of PC variations in her wonderful book, Queen of the Turtle Derby. Which you really should read, even if you’re not giving a cocktail party.  It’s laugh out loud funny…and has great recipes.)

I’ve done these weensy ‘wiches with the addition of little slices of good ham…then had to run to the kitchen to make more…now that I don’t eat ham, I also sometimes add a little green chile or some chopped olives.

If you’ve never made PC without a book, here’s one of my favorite recipes:


Source: Frank Stitt’s Southern Table: Recipes and Gracious Traditions from Highlands Bar and Grill

1 pound sharp yellow cheddar
1/4 pound cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
3 large red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded, and chopped  (I used one 4-ounce jar of canned pimientos)
1/2 cup homemade mayonnaise or best-quality commercial mayonnaise
1 teaspoon sugar
Splash of hot sauce, such as Tabasco or Cholula
A few big splashes of worcestershire sauce (I consider this optional; you can overdo it.)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (Miss Verba considers this optional. I don’t)

Grind the cheddar in a food processor fitted with the grating disk, or grate it on the small-holed side of a hand grater. Transfer the grated cheese to a bowl, add the cream cheese, white pepper, bell peppers, mayonnaise, sugar, hot sauce, worcestershire sauce and cayenne, if using, and blend all together thoroughly. Refrigerate and serve chilled. (The spread will keep for several days in the refrigerator, but it usually disappears long before than.) YIELDS: 2 cups

(And, yes, I own the Miracle Whip cookbook.)

About the Author

Mary Schmidt Has Written 26 Articles For Us!

Mary is a proud Corporate America refugee, having long ago decided that quality of life is far more important than quantity of stuff. However, that said, she thinks money is a very good thing - when used as a tool, not a success measurement. In addition to writing for us, she blogs about business development and marketing at www.maryschmidt.com and about marketing to and by women at www.lipsticking.com. In her consulting business, her clients have ranged from mega-corps such as Hewlett-Packard to local Mom & Pops.
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  1. One of the most fun dinner parties I had was based on recipes from the book Sweet Potato Queens. The books include def “white trash recipes” like pig candy, chocolate stuff, pineapple casserole and margaritas made with beer, 7-up and Tequila .. I know!

  2. Tani,

    Good catch…My Mom’s recipe was for T.V. Trash. My fav part was/is the Rice Chex and the pecans.

    P.S. Use real butter, gentle readers.

    P.P.S. The store stuff is a barely adequate substitute.

  3. Tani

    You forgot the ultimate – Chex Party Mix! Nothing vanishes faster! Just don’t make my mistake and substitute Bran Chex for Wheat Chex! Not fun!

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