Goshen has a cheese ball battle this time of year.
It’s not like The Great Butter Battle and I won’t be writing this post in Seuss rhyme.
At a neighborhood gathering, Ann Cushing pointed me toward the St. James’ Episcopal Church cheese ball she had brought. And she told me of how Tri Kappa also makes cheese balls to sell this time of year.
And how two relatives are at the center of the cheese ball competition.
Maureen Kercher’s mother-in-law Mary Lou Kercher made the cheese balls for the Episcopal church every year. Now Maureen’s sister-in-law Janet Dudley oversees the committee that makes the 1,600 for the church. “The Kerchers have been making them a long time in that church,” Maureen said.
But Maureen is part of Tri Kappa, a sorority that also makes and sells cheese balls.
“I’m kind of stuck in the middle,” Maureen said.
At family Christmas gatherings, the topic inevitably arises. But both recipes are secrets. So Maureen knows how the Tri Kappa cheese balls are made, but not the other. “They will not tell me because I am on the group that makes the other ones,” she said. “I really wish I knew. It’s such a discussion at every family gathering.”
Cushing said the Episcopal cheese ball has been made at the church for sale this time of year every years since 1958. It has three cheeses and a secret ingredient, as well as nuts and parsley. The recipe, which came from Florence Underwood, is in a locked box.
The Episcopal cheese ball has a handful of ingredients and is coated in parsley and/or nuts. It’s a nice cheese ball with a mild flavor. They sell for $6.
The Tri Kappa cheese ball is a little greener because the parsley is a bit finer. And the cheese itself is a bit more orange. It lists the ingredients as cheese, cream cheese, onion, nuts, parsley and spices.
And I think the non-church cheese ball has a bit more flavor. It’s a bit tangier. Both are great, but that’s the one I favor.
“They’re both very good,” said Maureen.
For this year, you may have more luck getting your hands on an Episcopal cheese ball. Kercher said she only has four left at Kercher’s Sunrise Orchards market. They made 1,300 and are nearly sold out. Kercher said she had four left at their market this afternoon and all others are sold.
Cushing said the church has about 400 cheese balls left this year. You can purchase one by calling 574-533-4984 or emailing the church.
“You could have a great cheese ball contest,” said Cushing, who pointed out other churches in the area that make and sell them.
I could. But getting to the bottom of this cheese ball story will suffice for now.
Do you make your own cheese ball? What’s your favorite holiday treat?
(By the way, thanks to Evey Wilson for the cheese ball pictures and helping with the video.)