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.


Old-Fashioned Dainty Cheese (Cheese Ball) Recipe

Cheese ball surrounded by crackers on a plateBased on a quick scan, many cooking blogs currently have Super Bowl posts – The Best Super Bowl Food Ideas, Easy Super Bowl Recipes, Super Bowl Crowd Pleasing Snacks, and so on.

So I asked myself, “A hundred years ago what would people have eaten during the Super Bowl?” And, I immediately realized that it was a stupid question – the first Super Bowl wasn’t held until 1967.

So I revised my question, “Are there hundred-year-old recipes that might make a crowd pleasing snack for Super Bowl LIV?”

Success. . . I think I found a winner. A 1920 cookbook, Good Housekeeping’s Book of Recipes and Household Discoveries, has a wonderful recipe for Dainty Cheese – which is actually a cheese ball. I have no idea why it was called Dainty Cheese; but, regardless, the cheese ball is delicious, and would be a perfect Super Bowl snack.

The Dainty Cheese cheese ball is made with cream cheese embedded with finely chopped stuffed olives and hard-boiled egg, and a bit of onion. Since the old recipe does not call for cheddar cheese, it’s less “cheesy” than many modern recipes. (hmm . . . Maybe that’s why it is called Dainty Cheese.”) It also isn’t coated with nuts, bacon, or pepperoni like many modern balls.

But, once I set aside my modern expectations, the Dainty Cheese cheese ball was delightful. It is slightly salty with a mild onion and olive taste that works perfectly when spread on crackers.

Here is the original recipe:

Recipe for Dainty Cheese
Source: Good Housekeeping’s Book of Recipes and Household Discoveries (1920)

I couldn’t find onion juice at the store (Is it still made?), so I substituted 1 teaspoon grated onion for the 1/3 teaspoon onion juice. When I made the cheese ball, instead of following the old directions and packing the mixture into a mold (which I worried that I’d have difficulty unmolding), I shaped the cheese ball  on a piece of plastic wrap. then wrapped it in the plastic wrap and chilled until firm.

Here is the modern recipe updated for modern cooks:

Dainty Cheese (Cheese Ball)

  • Servings: 1 medium-sized cheese ball
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened to room temperature

1 tablespoon butter, melted

1/3 teaspoon salt

dash cayenne (red) pepper

15 stuffed olives, finely chopped

1 hard-bowled egg, finely chopped

1 teaspoon onion, grated

Put cream cheese in a mixing bowl, beat until smooth. Add butter, salt, and cayenne pepper; beat until combined. Add olives, egg, and onion; stir until combined.  Shape into a cheese ball on a piece of plastic wrap, then wrap in the plastic wrap. Chill (at least two hours), then unwrap, put on plate, and serve with crackers.