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  • Writer's pictureKaren Herbert

Go Retro with Boomer Snacks

Updated: Apr 29, 2023

I grew up in the Midwestern region of the United States, and we definitely have had our regional favorite party hors d’oeuvres. These special snacks were ubiquitous at holiday celebrations or any other party during the 1970s and 1980s.

No Midwestern party during the decades of the 70s and 80s would be complete without a round rye dip, pizza snacks, and little smoked sausages in a crockpot. Grocery chains would be fully stocked with round rye loaves, small and large, seasonal mini loaves for the pizza snack recipe, and large vacuum packs of “Lit’l Smokies.”

My mother had a cheese dip recipe for the round rye that was incredibly tasty. Unfortunately, the two main ingredients were a tube of Kraft cheese spread and another spread that was sold in a small juice glass. The garlic cheese in a tube has been discontinued, but the cheese spread in a glass is still available. (I found it on Amazon). However, I haven’t tried to duplicate that recipe. Using dill dip instead is a great-tasting alternative.

We always had a batch of pizza snacks already made and stored in the freezer - ready to pop in the oven when guests arrived. I was craving these recently, and could not find the small rye loaves anywhere in my Southeastern town. When I bemoaned this during our family Thanksgiving Zoom, everyone was sympathetic.

A few days later, I received a package from “Santa” in the mail containing two of those loaves shipped from my hometown.

Craving satisfied! The recipe has several variations, all of them easy. I cooked a pound of Italian sausage and drained it. Then I added a pound of Velveeta and returned the frying pan to the burner that was still warm enough to melt the cheese. I added some garlic flakes and oregano, but that is optional. Doctor up the mix however you like; some recipes use a mix of ground beef and sausage. Just keep the ratio of meat to cheese 1:1 by weight.

The smoked sausage bites were the easiest by far to prepare and the easiest to carry to a potluck. Add the sausages to the crock with a bottle of barbecue or other sauce and a half cup of grape jelly. My dad always told us that the grape jelly was his secret ingredient, but looking on recipe sites, it doesn’t seem like much of a secret now. Look for the vacuum pack in the lunchmeat section of your grocery store. Picture from this recipe.

The last of the hors d’oeurve I want to share was special only to our family. My dad was a collector of kitchen appliances in the 70s and 80s and while most of them have been forgotten and gone on to the great kitchen counter in the sky, one still reigns for our family party fare.

The Kabob-It.

Features of the Wear-Ever Kabob-It: 8 skewers rotate slowly to cook foods evenly, pyrex brand glass cover contains heat for even cooking, glass cover lets you watch your food cooking

There is no end to the different kabobs one could make. Shrimp scampi, all vegetable, sausage trio, whatever you could imagine. So pleased with the versatility of this gadget, my parents gifted a Kabob-It to many of the wedding couples they knew back then. Our family still has this unique appliance - in fact, my brother has an extra Kabob-It. Here’s a picture of my brother and sister-in-law working on Superbowl snack preparation last year.

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