Friday, November 27, 2009

Cheese Ball vs. Apple Pie

The New York Times had a fascinating article yesterday on what recipe website traffic reveals about regional Thanksgiving tastes. Much of data was unsurprising. In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, New Englanders typically seek advice on apple pies (we grow tons of apples up here), while southerners are checking out the sweet potato pie recipes.

But corn casserole? What the heck is that? Whatever it is, it's huge on Mid-Western turkey day menus.

And cheese balls are big in a swath of the country's midsection running from Nevada to Ohio. I associate those odd boccie balls of whey, curds and nuts with the 1970s, like fondue pots, wide ties and disco. I had no idea anyone still ate them except as a joke.

Where did this tradition of cheese balls come from? Did they hitch a ride west on covered wagons, leaving a trail of cheese ball culture? The cheese ball trail perhaps?

Sometimes it seems like we're just becoming one giant homogenized mass. It's refreshing to see local food preferences and cultures existing, even thriving.

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