Old-fashioned Grated Cheese Canapes

grated cheese canapes on plate

Canapes made using bread as the base were a popular appetizer a hundred years ago. I was intrigued by a recipe for Grated Cheese Canapes in a 1922 cookbook. Rounds of thin-sliced bread were spread with mustard then topped with grated cheese and chopped olives. The tangy mustard combined nicely with the slight saltiness of the cheese and olives to make a lovely  hors d’oeuvre.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Grate Cheese Canapes
Source: Mrs. De Graf’s Cook Book (1922)

A hundred years ago did  the term “French mustard” refer to a yellow mustard or a dijon-style mustard? I googled it discovered that French’s Mustard was introduced at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair – but that is a brand and not exactly a type of mustard. In the end, I decided to use a dijon-style mustard, but am not sure that was commonly available in the United States in 1922.

Here’s the updated recipe for modern cooks:

Grated Cheese Canapes

  • Servings: 12 canapes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

6 slices of thinly sliced bread (assumes 2 rounds per slice) (I used white bread.)

approximately 2 tablespoons French mustard (I used a Dijon mustard.)

approximately 3/4 cup finely grated cheese (I used cheddar cheese.)

approximately 1/2 cup stuffed olives, finely chopped


Cut the bread into rounds that are 2 – 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Thinly spread French mustard on the rounds. Top with grated cheese and chopped olives; sprinkle with paprika.


19 thoughts on “Old-fashioned Grated Cheese Canapes

  1. I vaguely remember the ‘cocktail loaves’ of bread that we’d use instead of cutting out rounds. They came as white or rye, but each slice was about this size, although they were more ‘loaf-shaped.’

  2. I’m sure they didn’t have Super Bowl Sunday one hundred years ago, but the recipe is a perfect fit for today. I so enjoyed reading this, Sheryl, and I found it very interesting that you discovered when French’s Mustard was introduced to the world. I liked your choice of the dijon for your updated version. Delightful post.

  3. Well, as you knew I would, I had to find out what French mustard was all about. Essentially, it was a dry mustard powder that was mixed with herbs and then combined with fresh garlic, tarragon vinegar, and oil along with salt and pepper. That recipe was from 1901. Prepared mustards from France included Alphonse Pinard’s Herb Flavored French Mustard, Alexis Godillot’s, and Talbot Freres’ brands. In 1900 Heinz also made a French mustard as did Snow Drift. Those were in grocer ads in the 1900 newspapers. Your instincts were right on Dijon, though, as Dijon, France was the center of mustard making. Cool post–I think I might need to go hunt down some dry mustard and try making a little French mustard for my canapes. 🙂

  4. Oh I remember the days of the canape! As a child, I always had a joke or two about the name (I called them canapeees). I never claimed to be mature then and I don’t claim it now.

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