Mary Morony, Author of Apron Strings, Done Growed Up and If It Ain't One Thing

Lost Appetite Found

Lost Appetite FoundHot cheese hor ‘d oeuvres
recipe follows story

Lost Appetite Found  Tickled with her idea, Ethel bustled over to the icebox.  Pulling open the door, she began  to gather the fixings for Cheesy Bits. Sick for the last two days. Helen lay upstairs in bed wan and listless. No amount of suggestions on Ethel’s part could induce the child to eat. An appetite didn’t stay lost for long when the woman put her vast knowledge of the family’s food likes and dislikes into play. She made it a practice over the years to store away data for just this type of situation.

Back in the days when Helen’s mother gave tea parties, Ethel used to make these Cheesy Bits for Ginny’s guests. Helen adored them. More than once, her mother reprimanded her daughter for eating all of the party food as the little girl passed the plate of hot hor ‘d oeuvres. She put the stick of butter on the stove to melt. Reaching for the cayenne pepper, for an instant she debated leaving it out since bits were for a child not little old ladies. “If anybody would notice she will.” she laughed.

Then she started grating the cheddar cheese using the large hole grater. Once the cheese was grated, humming merrily, she scoured the drawer for the bread knife. So pleased with herself that she had frozen the last homemade loaf whole. The last thing she did was to take a loaf out of the freezer cut it and in half then strip one-half of the crust. She returned the uncut half back in the deep freeze.

With the butter melted -not too hot- she worked quickly cutting the bread into rectangles about an inch or so. Her haste was so that the cubes stayed as cold as possible so that the butter would cool and adhere the cheese to the bread. This little trick popped into her mind after she decided to make Helen’s favorite treat. “Why didn’t I think of this before,” she said out loud as she dipped chunks into the butter before rolling them in the cheese and pressing it into the rapidly cooling butter. “Simple as pie,” she beamed alone in the kitchen.

Once a cookie sheet filled with the cheesy bits, she popped it into a 350° for about eight minutes.  She checked often through the oven door to make sure they didn’t overcook. In between trip to the oven she prepared a tray, with a placemat, napkin, a glass of ginger ale and a straw. When the cheese took on the correct color, she whipped the morsels out of the oven and onto the awaiting plate and trotted, as much as a woman her size can trot up the stairs.

“Honey, I brought somethin’ I know you is gonna eat.”

The child’s eyes grew wide with delight. “Oh Ethel, you made my favorite littly tiny grilled cheese!” she exclaimed scrambling to sit up and clapping her hands together. She tested the treats’ heat before popping one into her mouth. With a mouthful of she managed to say, “I love you.”


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