Culinary Corner

Cambria Historical Society's other specialty: Refreshments

Special to The CambrianMarch 27, 2014 

Supper for two: Swedish Meatballs, orzo with carrots, East Indian Chicken Balls, and pinot prigio for one.


Dr. Dan Krieger paid homage to the Cambria Historical Society last week when he fascinated a full house at the museum during our Speaker Series. “I have spoken before many groups, but the Historical Society has the best refreshments by far!” We delight in sharing some of our very best.

In response to a FAQ (frequently asked question), yes, I do kitchen test recipes, especially since becoming a food stylist to photograph illustrations for this column. But many have already been kitchen-tested for many a year by families, “church ladies,” and published sources whose offerings have been adapted by adventuresome cooks.

A fine example of this is a memorable Crock-Pot full of the tender flavorful Swedish meatballs that CHS treasurer, Bob Johnson, brought to share at another event. An ethnic legacy, from outside our area:

Swedish Meatballs

Justina Nelson (from the 1947 Swedish Lutheran Church, Newport, R.I., cookbook)

  • 2 lbs. best hamburger
  • 1/4 lb. fresh pork or salt pork (salt pork preferred)
  • 1 medium potato (grated)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 medium onion (grated)
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs, or 6 rusks
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • Pinch of black and white pepper

Grind the hamburger and pork twice. Soak bread crumbs or rusks in enough water to make them moist, and mix with meat. Add potato, onions, eggs, cream, seasoning and mix well. (Use more salt if fresh pork is used.)

Shape into small balls and fry in butter or shortening. Remove meat balls and add flour, water, and (more) butter if needed to make a thin gravy. Add meat balls and let simmer for a while. Serve in its gravy, as one of the two to four hot dishes usually found on the Smorgasbord.

(Cook’s Notes: For each cup of thin gravy, use 1 tblsp. each of drippings and flour to about 1-1/4 cup water. If serving with noodles or rice, make lots of gravy. It will thicken as it cooks down.)

Over the years, Bob’s mom, Doris, simplified the prep in this manner:

  • 1 lb. hamburger
  • 1/4 lb. ground pork
  • 1 potato
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • Onion to taste
  • Poultry seasoning to taste

Mix into small balls and fry in butter or shortening until browned and firm. Remove meat balls and add flour and water to make a thin gravy. Replace meat balls and simmer in gravy. (You can also use a slow cooker).

CHS Secretary Marj Sewell brought hors d’oeuvres with an intriguing combination of flavors. She had worked many years ago as a volunteer at the Village House in Los Gatos, which was open for lunch and weekend wedding receptions.

This was published in the 1976 cookbook, now out of print. Proceeds benefited the Ming Quong School for autistic children.

Indian Chicken Balls

  • 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
  • 1 cup chicken, cooked and chopped
  • 1/2 cup blanched almonds, chopped
  • 2 tblsp. chutney, chopped
  • 1 tblsp. curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Coconut

Mix all ingredient except coconut; chill. Form into small balls, 1 tsp. each. Roll in grated coconut. Chill and serve on toothpicks. Balls can be prepared and frozen ahead, before rolling in coconut to serve.

Consuelo Macedo’s column is special to The Cambrian. It appears on the second, fourth and any fifth Thursdays. Please send recipes and ideas to Consuelo, c/o The Cambrian, 2442 Main St., Cambria CA 93428; or email to

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