THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
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Archive for April 17, 2017

FOOD 101: The History of 175+ Favorite Foods & Beverages

Over the 13 years of publishing THE NIBBLE, we’ve explored quite a lot of history relating to the foods we cover.

We’ve included it in our articles, and compiled the references below.

Sometimes the history is at the top of an article, but often it is the last section. So if you don’t see “THE HISTORY OF…” immediately, scroll down.

Some histories are just a paragraph or two; some are quite detailed.

Today there are 192 different food histories, with a new one added every week or so.


Foods and Beverages A (7)

Absinthe History
Allsorts Liquorice History
Amaretto Liqueur History
Angel Food Cake History
Animal Crackers History
Apple Butter History
Asparagus History

Foods & Beverages B (18)

Bacon History
Baklava History
Balsamic Vinegar History
Bánh Mì Sandwich History
Beer History
Biscoff Spread/Cookie Butter/Cookie Spread/Speculoos Spread History
Biscotti History
Blood Orange History
Bloody Mary History
Boxed Cereal History
Bread History
Breadsticks History
Brownies History
Bundt Cake History
Burrata Cheese History
Burrito History
Butter History

Foods & Beverages C (38)

Cachaça History
Cake History
Cake Pans History
Canning History
Caramel History
Carrot Cake History
Ceviche History
Cheddar Cheese History
Cheese Ball History
Cheese History
Cheese Fondue History
Cheese Straws History
Chicken History
Chiffon Cake History
Chile Pepper History
Chinese Almond Cookie History
Chocolate Ganache History
Chocolate History
Chocolate Bark History (Mendiants)
Chocolate Chip Cookies History
Chocolate Mousse History
Chocolate History
Chocolate Truffles History
Chopped Liver History
Chowder History
Cobb Salad History
Cocoa & Hot Chocolate History
Coffee History
Coffee Cake History
Cookie History
Cooking History
Coquilles Saint Jacques History
Cordon Bleu History
Corn Chips History
Cotton Candy History
Cream Cheese History
Creamsicle History
Currants History
Custard History

Foods & Beverages D & E (11)

Deviled Eggs History
Doggie Bag History
Doughnut History
Easter Egg History
Easter Ham History
Egg Nog History
Egg Roll History
Egg Salad History
English Muffin History
Espresso History
Evaporated Milk & Sweetened Condensed Milk

Foods & Beverages F & G (13)

Fettucine Alfredo History
Fluffernutter History
French Toast History
Frozen Custard History
Frozen Yogurt History
Fudge History
German Chocolate Cake History
Gingerbread Men History
Graham Cracker History
Granola History
Grapefruit History
Gummy Candy History
Honey History

Foods & Beverages H, I, J (22)

Hoagie / Submarine Sandwich History
Honey History
Hot Buttered Rum
Hot Cross Buns History
Hot Dog History
Hot Sauce History
Ice Cream History
Ice Cream Cone History
Ice Cream Freezer History
Ice Cream Soda & Ice Cream Sundae History
Indian Pudding History
Irish Coffee History
Jambalaya History
Jelly Bean History
Jam, Jelly & Preserves History
Jell-O Shots History
Jerky History
Kefir History
Ketchup History
Key Lime Pie History
Kouign Aman Pastry History

Food & Beverages L, M, N, O (16)

Lemon History
Licorice History
Lime History
Macaroni & Cheese History
Macaroons & Macarons History
Marble Cake History
Margarine History
Martini History
Marshmallow Fluff / Marshmallow Cream History
Marshmallow History
Mascarpone History
Mason Jar/Ball Jar History
Mayonnaise History
Mustard History
Napkins History
’nduja History
Oven Cooking History

Food & Beverages P (23)

Paella History
Pancake History
Pasta History
Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese
Pastry History
Pea History
Peach History
Peanut Butter History
Peanut Butter Cup History
Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich History
Pesto History
Piave Vecchio Cheese
Pickles History
Pimento Cheese History
Pineapple Upside Down Cake History
Pizza History
Popcorn History
Popsicle History
Potato Chips History
Potato History
Pot Pie History
Probiotics History
Puff Pastry History

Food & Beverages Q & R (5)

Quiche History
Ramen Noodles History
Ranch Dressing History
Ravioli History
Rice History

Food & Beverages S (16)

Saké History
Salsa History
Sandwich History
Salt History
Sangria History
Scones History
Shortbread History
Shrubs (British Drink) History
Soup History
Sourdough Bread History
Sponge Cake History
Sticky Bun History
Sugar Cane History
Surf & Turf History
Sushi History
Sweetened Condensed Milk History

Food & Beverages T & U (12)

Taco History
Taffy & Salt Water Taffy History
Tarte Tatin HistoryTea History
Tequila History
Teriyaki History
Toffee History — needs work
Tomato History
Tortilla Chip History
Turkey History
Upside-Down Cake

Food & Beverages V to Z (11)
Vanilla History
Vanilla Pudding History
Vinegar History
Vodka History
Waffle History
Watermelon History
Whiskey History
White Chocolate History
Whole Grains History
Whoopie Pies
Wiener Schnitzel History


TIP OF THE DAY: Mini Cheese Balls For The Cheese Course

Mini Cheese Balls

Mini Cheese Balls

Mini Cheese Balls

Mini Cheese Balls

Port Wine Cheddar

[1] Mini cheese balls in phyllo cups. Here’s the recipe from A Spicy Perspective. [2] Stick a pretzel in it—or a carrot stick. Here’s the recipe from Five Heart Home. [3] Some like it hot. Here’s the recipe from Young Austinian. [4] Serve cheese balls with a green salad, combining the cheese course and the salad course. Here, the cheese balls are fried goat cheese. Get the recipe is from Anna Costa Food. [5] The granddaddy of cheese balls is cold pack cheese, which itself was inspired by Scadinavian potkäse.


National Cheese Ball Day is April 17th. But if you’re not having a party—home of the cheese ball—you can turn that hefty cheese ball mini cheese balls.

Serve them:

  • As appetizers.
  • With the salad course.
  • As dessert (sweet cheese balls).
  • As a fancy snack.
    A few different recipes will enhance the experience.

    If you don’t have your own favorite recipes, check the recipes in the photo captions.


    The cheese ball is rooted cold-pack cheese, also known as club cheese or crock cheese, which began as a snack in Wisconsin taverns and supper clubs around the turn of the last century.

    Cold pack cheese originated in Wisconsin (we’ll get to that in a few paragraphs).

    In our youth, a crock of port wine cheddar was considered sophisticated party fare, served with party pumpernickel slices or fancy crackers (in those days, Stoned Wheat Thins and Carr’s Water Biscuits) or (never everyday crackers such as saltines, Ritz crackers, Town House or Uneeda Biscuits).

    According to the New York Times, the tradition derived from Scandinavia, where cooks would grind odd bits of cheese with seasonings and often a bit of alcohol, and pack the resulting spread into jars or crocks, with a top layer of butter to preserve it.

    It spread (no pun intended) to Britain, and then turned up in the U.S.

    At taverns and private clubs, sharp cheese and cream cheese were blended into a spread that went well with beer and drinks. The crock engendered cheese balls and cheese logs, coated with herbs and/or nuts.

    Cream cheese is an American invention from 1872 in New York State. It began to get wider distribution in 1880 (history).

    At Wisconsin taverns in the early 1900s (including Milwaukee’s Pabst Brewery), mixed bits of different cheeses were turned into a snack for customers that became known as pub cheese—a term that still survives, but is know better known in stores as cold pack cheese.

    The Center for Dairy Research (CDR) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison proposes that cold pack began as a type of dip or spread made from older cheeses that were beginning to dry out.

    Potkäse, a similar potted cheese recipe from Sweden and Denmark, would have been well-known to the many families of Swedish immigrants in the Midwest.

    According to the CDR, as reported in Edible Milwaukee, a beer depot operator named Hubert Fassbender began giving homemade cold pack cheese to his best customers in 1933.

    Customers started asking for the cheese without the beer. Fassbender created the Fassbender’s Kaukauna* Klub brand, making him the first manufacturer of cold pack cheese.

    The following year, in 1934, Armin Herke formed the Calumet Cheese Company, and used surplus cuts of cheese to produce cold pack. The brand later became known as WisPride and remains popular today (it is now owned by Bel Brands).

    A trend was born.

    It was just a jump from cold pack to cheese logs and cheese balls.

    A classic cheese ball combines shredded sharp cheese like cheddar or blue, blended with cream cheese (sometimes also with butter) for spreadability. Popular seasonings include chile, chives/onion, garlic and herbs.

    Chopped vegetables can be mixed in. The ball is then rolled in nuts and/or herbs.

    Sweet cheese balls evolved with time: fruit, sugar and cream cheese, cocoa, sugar and cream cheese, etc., mixed with anything from mini chocolate chips to cookie bits, and rolled in Oreo (or other cookie) crumbs, pomegranate arils, toffee bits or other sweet ingredient.

    They can be served as snacks or as dessert.

    From Wisconsin, the mighty cheese ball spread across the nation.

    Is there a part of the U.S. that doesn’t know about cheese balls?

    If so, let us know: We’ll clue them in.


    *Kaukauna is a Wisconsin city situated on the Fox River, approximately 100 miles north of Milwaukee. The name is a Native American word for “place where pickerel [pike] are caught.”




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