When you hear the word “cheeseball,” you probably think of that ugly Santa-and-Rudolph sweater that your Aunt Janice wears every Christmas without fail (and without irony). Or the corny old jokes that one friend of yours is always telling, the ones that make everyone roll their eyes. But cheeseballs are a thing, and a scrumptious thing at that. Think of them as a kind of freestanding dip, with all of your favorite party flavors rolled into one compact package of om-nom-nom-mability that will keep crackers comin’ back for more. Still can’t visualize man’s greatest creation? Read on, and get ready to smile demurely and answer, “Why, I did,” when you overhear fellow revelers asking repeatedly, “Who brought this amazing cheeseball?”
National Cheeseball Day Activities
1. Make a cheeseball (duh!)
Chances are you already have at least some cheeseball ingredients on hand, and the rest aren’t hard to find. Check out some of our favorite recipes below, or throw cheeseball caution to the wind and improvise! That chunk of pepper jack that’s too small to cover your plate of nachos? Some leftover pepperoni from pizza night? Half a jar of rainbow sprinkles languishing behind the cream of tartar? Ahem. Cheeseball it! (Not all together, guys. Unless spicy sprinkles are your jam, of course. We won’t judge.)
2. Throw a cheeseball making party
Spread the cheeseball love! Now that you’ve channeled some mad culinary skills, why not share your newfound cheeseball knowledge? After all, everyone loves cheese. Invite the squad and assign everyone an ingredient to contribute: cream cheese, shredded cheese, add-ins, crackers or other dippers. You’ll provide a couple of bottles of wine to get that cheeseball party started.
3. Eat your cheeseballs while watching cheesy movies
Clear off the coffee table and turn it into a cheeseball buffet, then pop in some DVDs or fire up the streaming video (hey, maybe together we can turn “Netflix and cheeseball” into the newest trend for 2017!). Suggestions include Spaceballs, Cannonball Run, Meatballs, Screwballs, Balls of Fury, Dodgeball… or you could, of course, eschew the “balls” theme and just watch cheesy movies. Or foodie movies. Or Game of Thrones. Again, no judgment from us.
Why We Love National Cheeseball Day
A. They’re easy to make
Even if your idea of cooking is adding canned tuna to boxed mac-n-cheese, you can make a cheeseball. In fact, adding tuna to Kraft dinner is not unlike making a cheeseball, except you’ll probably use something other than tuna, and, well, probably something other than macaroni and powdered cheese (but otherwise, it’s exactly the same). Most cheeseballs start with a base of softened cream cheese. Then you add whatever strikes your fancy; more cheese is a surefire crowd-pleaser. Next, you form it into a ball — if you ever used Play-Doh as a child, you got this — and roll that ball into another ingredient, like chopped herbs or chopped nuts. No worries, we have step-by-step recipes if you’re still feeling jittery.
B. They’re charmingly retro
Retro dishes and drinks are in. Think rye- and whiskey-based cocktails, or home-canned pickles and preserves. Cheeseballs are a tasty throwback to a simpler time, before meat and cheese platters became “charcuterie,” and before artisanal napkins and free-range forks graced the place settings of every locally sourced restaurant around. Cheeseballs were good eatin’ back in the old days, and there’s a reason why…
C. They’re damn delicious
You’ve seen these party appetizers that consist of a brick of cream cheese plopped on a plate, then smothered in pepper jam or salsa, right? A cheeseball is just like that, only a heckuva lot classier. You can put pretty much any of your favorite dip ingredients into a cheeseball, making them infinitely customizable and a great “oh-crap-what’ll-I-bring-tothis-potluck-let-me-clean-out-my-fridge” party offering. Wanna get frou-frou? You can make cheeseballs into pinecones. Or pineapples. Or snowmen. But really, any cheeseball is, by definition, fancy AF — largely because it’s not a plastic tray of bland, cubed cheddar and sorry old Swiss.