Comfort Food

Comfort Food

Pineapple and Cheese

Today I’m sharing a recipe that you’ve probably never seen.  That is, unless you have had it at my house or at the home of someone close to my mother’s circle of friends from the 1950s!  I have seen this recipe in one local women’s group cookbook, included by a friend of mine.  I have never seen it in any other place … and don’t know where it might have originated!  If you know, please share with me because I’ve been curious my whole life!

Pineapple and Cheese is a salad that my dad loved.  When I introduced it to my husband, he loved it.  My siblings love it, and our kids love it!  When I mention it to other people, they immediately think of a cheese and pineapple baked casserole.  That isn't our specialty!  Our's is a cold salad with big chunks of juicy pineapple and cheddar cheese.

I’ve written about the history of pineapple this year and you can find that post right here.  I’m going to share some holiday meal memories from my childhood home during my favorite vintage period of the 1950s and 60s!

Thanksgiving always included a big dinner for a big family!  Turkey and the best dressing ever!  Mother always stuffed the bird, but she also baked a big pan of dressing.  She topped that dressing in the pan with the turkey’s neck!  I used to do that too, but you don’t  get much of a turkey neck anymore!  The giblets always went in Mother’s gravy, but not before she simmered them to make delicious broth!  I remember distinctly the pan she used for that.  Of course, I do that, too!  Unlike Mama, I add a yellow onion with its skin, a carrot and a stalk of celery to my giblets simmering.

Mama made sweet potatoes one way … for any meal when she served them!  She would boil the sweet potatoes in advance, cool them and peel them.  Sometimes that preparation was done the night before Thanksgiving.  Candied sweet potatoes were simple.  She melted butter in a big cast iron skillet and added big chunks of the sweet potatoes.  Then she added brown sugar to caramelize them.  A little salt and they were perfect!

The Thanksgiving table included celery stuffed with Kraft Neufchatel Cheese with Pineapple.   She bought those expensive little glasses of cheese three times a year … Easter, Thanksgiving

and Christmas!  Green olives stuffed with pimento and tiny, sweet gherkins filled a cute little divided relish dish!  Of course, like most midwestern homes, mashed potatoes were on the Thanksgiving table.  I truly do not remember the vegetables that my mother served when I was a child.  I probably didn’t eat them!  I distinctly remember Mother’s homemade cranberry sauce, though.  She called it cranberry relish, but it was actually a gelatin salad.  We ground the fresh cranberries and they were not cooked.  We ground oranges and nuts and celery!  When I say ‘we ground’ … I mean we ground them in an old meat grinder that you fastened to a table or counter edge.  We didn’t have a place to fasten the grinder in the kitchen, so we fastened it to a basement step and that is where the grinding took place!  All of the ground up goodness was set in a lemon gelatin, but you could never detect the gelatin.  I still make that occasionally, but my daughter and I love canned cranberry sauce … jellied without the berries!  With all the cooking from scratch that we both do;  it is almost embarrassing to admit that!

The star on my mother’s holiday tables was never the turkey or the ham.  It was also a little pressed glass dish of Pineapple and Cheese!  Here’s the recipe!

Mama's Pineapple and Cheese

1 can of pineapple chunks 
8 ounces of cheddar cheese, cut in chunks 
1 egg 
¼ cup of sugar 
1 Tablespoon of corn starch

Drain all the juice from the can of pineapple and use it to make the sauce.  In a small pan, add the sugar and corn starch to the pineapple juice and whisk it over low heat until it thickens.  Set the pan aside and let everything cool slightly.  In a bowl, whisk the egg and temper it by whisking in some of the warm sauce.  Add the tempered egg to the sauce and whisk it until well blended.  Combine the pineapple chunks and the cheese and pour the sauce over it.  Stir it gently and refrigerate until ready to serve.

If you are afraid of the egg, since it is only coddled and not cooked, you can eliminate it.   The sauce won’t be as rich without it, though.


This post is a part of my 2020 Vintage Vegetables project.  I’m also sharing it with a couple blog parties, so take a look at the list on my sidebar.


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