Friday, August 18, 2006

It's So Cheesy

Several weeks ago I spent a gorgeous Saturday afternoon at my grandparents' farm. My grandmother (amazing woman if I you have not met her or heard about her, but that is a another topic) had a stack of old cooking pamphlets, most circa 1950's. Among them was a fantastic little gem about, in my opinion, the most versatile and yummy food item -- cream cheese. The book was titled "Philly" Dip Party Handbook and you will be shocked to find out, it is full of dip recipes all based on cream cheese!
“Philly” dips can be simple or elegant, depending on the flavor and serving dishes you prefer. We hope these suggestions will add the variety and originality that make your parties truly festive occasions.
In an effort to find out when the book was published, I went online for some research. Unfortunately that was a dead end, several posts about the book but none had a date. I did find that you too could own this book for prices ranging from $1.99 to $22.50. I contacted Kraft food company to find out more information and am still waiting to hear back.

The recipes are all aptly named - Avocado Dip is cream cheese and mashed avocado, Cucumber Dip is cream cheese and grated cucumber. Most recipes have a couple dashes of Worcestershire sauce.

I find the most intriguing recipe to be:

Philly Hostess Dip

1 8-oz pkg. Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese
3 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Kraft Mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Kraft Mustard with added Horseradish
¾ teaspoon garlic salt
½ teaspoon paprika

Combine the cream cheese and milk, blending until smooth. Add the lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, mayonnaise, mustard, garlic salt and paprika, and mix well. Serve with corn chips.

Although I may do a few things differently such as, I would substitute sour cream for the milk. The mustard with horseradish is similar to Dijon, so I would add Dijon instead of yellow mustard and may add more horseradish at the end if I thought it needed it. I would substitute a little fresh garlic for the garlic salt (I do not think it would need any more salt with the Worcestershire sauce). I may add some white pepper and garnish with sliced green onions.

According to Kraft, “Cream cheese originated in the United States in 1872 when a dairyman in Chester, New York, developed a 'richer cheese than ever before,' made from cream as well as whole milk. Then in 1880, a New York cheese distributor, A. L. Reynolds, first began distributing cream cheese wrapped in tin-foil wrappers, calling it Philadelphia Brand. The name 'Philadelphia Brand cream cheese' was adopted by Reynolds for the product because at that time, top-quality food products often originated in or were associated with the city, and were often referred to as being ‘Philadelphia quality’.”

And the reason for the blue piece of material inside the package, “We put the blue strip of material inside our 3oz packages of Kraft PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese and Kraft PHILADELPHIA FREE Cream Cheese to help form and wrap the packages at high speeds.”

Some friends and I recently had an interesting debate about cream cheese. It is a versatile ingredient used for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even dessert. We were looking for the food item you would not want to have cream cheese with. Someone suggested pickles, but according to my new Party Handbook, The Philly Dill Dip was pickle juice and chopped pickles so that is out. I would be interested to hear what food item you do not think cream cheese would accompany.

Bon app├ętit!


Chef Jen said...

I received word back from Kraft. The information I requested is not "currently available" ~ whatever that means. Since I received an email back the same day I sent it, I'm assuming that means they do not want to take the time to look into it. But were nice enough to remind me to set their website as one of my favorites. :)

BlueGirlinRedState said...

As one of those people you have had long, philosophical discussions about cream cheese with (as well as being lucky enough to share your fabulous grandmother), I just had to let you know how excited I was to see this post! Also, regarding the mustard, we actually use Emeril's Kicked Up Mustard (mustard + horseradish) as our standard mustard at home, I highly recommend it (even if Emeril can be annoying).