April 17, 2019: Today is National Cheese Ball Day!

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A Brief History

On April 17, 2019, the nation celebrates National Cheese Ball Day, or at least we should.  Cheese Balls are a mainstay of wine tasting parties and are a favored Hors d’oeuvre at seasonal get togethers and office parties, but apparently the delicious dairy treat needs its own day anyway.  We happen to love Cheese Balls, and this gastronomical love affair causes us to wonder, “Why do people refer to something that is cheap, tawdry, or otherwise crumby as ‘Cheese Ball’?”

(Note: There is another kind of “Cheese Ball,” the salty snack type that is akin to cheese puffs, but round (spherical) in shape, a delicious cheddar coated cornmeal treat.  While this type of “Cheese Ball” is not the type celebrated today, they are one heck of a good snack, and can provide an alternate way to enjoy National Cheese Ball Day!)

Digging Deeper

Cheese Balls can be made of plain old cheese rolled up in a ball, but normally covered in chopped nuts of some sort (pecans, almonds, etc.), but are usually mixed with cream cheese to make them softer, more amenable to spreading on a cracker.  The base cheese is usually one of the Cheddar varieties, but other types such a Jack Cheese or Swiss may be substituted.  Stay away from dry, hard cheeses such as smoked varieties.  Spices such as chives and onion powder may mixed in, according to taste.  Even blueberries or chopped olives can be inserted into the mixture.  Really, really, daring chefs may go so far as to use sprinkles on their creation!  (If you have a favorite recipe, please share them with us in the comments section below the article.)

A selection of blueberries, showing the typical sizes of the berries. The scale is marked in centimeters.  Photograph by Zirpe.

To celebrate National Cheese Ball Day we recommend you throw a Cheese Ball Party (be sure to invite us!) and have each guest bring their personal creation.  Stock up on a variety of crackers, wine, soda pop and have a blast.  Offer a prize for the best recipe.  At a minimum be sure to visit your local grocery store or deli and pick up a pre-made sample of a Cheese Ball and enjoy it yourself.  No need for loners to miss out on the fun!

Another suggestion for your Cheese Ball Party is to have each person in attendance nominate the person or thing they consider the most “Cheese Ball” of all.  Again, the person with the winning (after you vote) nomination should be awarded a prize.  The Cheese Ball thing could be a movie (mostly rom-com or “coming of age” types), a sappy song, doofus clothing, or a person that personifies the epithet, Cheese Ball.

Question for students (and subscribers): How do you recommend celebrating National Cheese Ball Day?  Name a Cheese Ball person and a Cheese Ball thing.  Please let us know in the comments section below this article.

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Historical Evidence

For more information, please see…

Blomgren, April. Cheese Balls Cookbook: The Top 50 Quick, Easy and Delicious Cheese Ball Recipes to Make at Home. CreateSpace, 2017.

Buffardi, Michelle. Great Balls of Cheese. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.

The featured image in this article, a photograph by Geeta ram2003 of cheese filled veg balls made of mix of vegetable as outer layer, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.


About Author

Major Dan is a retired veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He served during the Cold War and has traveled to many countries around the world. Prior to his military service, he graduated from Cleveland State University, having majored in sociology. Following his military service, he worked as a police officer eventually earning the rank of captain prior to his retirement.