The holiday season may be over, but these party recipes are a pleaser year round. Three Mess Hall contributors from our "Hometown" issue generously shared these additional stories and recipes with us.
“In an age of automation and virtual reality, I seek comfort in nature and food, and food in nature; the fruit on the tree, the herb in the ground, yada yada yada.”
This family recipe originates from my Mom’s Mom as far as I know. It’s referred to as “Grandma’s Dip.” If she knows you are coming, it will be ready waiting for you; a simple tradition my mother carries out for her children. I’ve only ever enjoyed her dip with either a pretzel or a Pringle. The same goes for anyone else.
Ben Carrier is a photographer based in London and New York.
Serves a party of 4-5
• 16 oz Cream Cheese (Philadelphia is the “best”)
• 1/2 white onion minced (we use a baby food grinder)
• 4–5 shakes of Worcestershire
• Add milk, little by little, to desired consistency (it’s a dip not a soup, my preferred thickness is the likes of greek yogurt)
Hot Artichoke Spread
• 1 (14 oz) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
• 1 (8 oz) can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
• 1/2 cup Romano Cheese, grated
• 1/4 chopped green onions
• 1/2 cup mayo
• 1/2 cup sour cream
• Dash of hot sauce
Shannon Retseck is the owner of Cuttalossa, a textile and homeware store based in Philadelphia.
In the mid 2000s spending Easter with Shannon Retseck meant one thing: You celebrate the Polish way — with a trip to the National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa in Doylestown, Pennsylvania and an Easter Mass among hundreds of prayer candles and the Black Madonna herself. Afterwards, her grandmother Theresa would serve up a warm artichoke dip with slices of chewy bread. You’d gorge on that, nearly spoiling the rest of the Easter feast. Theresa was most known for her pineapple pudding and jello salad, but anything with equal parts mayo and sour cream is good in our book.
Serves a party of 4 - 5
Mix all together and bake in a preheated, 350°F oven for 30 minutes or until bubbling.
Tate Obayashi is the founder of Mess Hall. When she’s not cooking up a storm, she’s a a prop stylist and designer in New York City.
If you grew up in Massachusetts, or are related to someone who did, chances are you’ve had a whoopie pie. The origins of the treat are hotly debated, but the Marshmallow Fluff used in the filling dates back to 1896 in Fannie Farmer’s Boston School Cookbook. Growing up in Northern California, the whoopie pie was as foreign as Vegimite or clotted cream, but my mother, being a New Englander by birth and heart, made an absurd quantity of them every holiday. I now come to crave them during the colder months, and have continued on the tradition of making an absurd amount.
Mix all the cake’s dry ingredients together in one bowl and the cake’s wet ingredients in another. Slowly add together until shiny. Leave at room temperature for 30 minutes. In the meantime, whip the butter for the filling, and gradually add the Marshmallow Fluff, the confectionary sugar, and the optional matcha powder. After the cake batter has sat for 30 minutes, spoon out one-inch circles of it on a greased baking sheet and bake in a 350 °F preheated oven for 10 minutes. Let cool before piping the filling between two cakes.
• 2 cups unbleached sifted flour
• 2 tsp baking soda
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 1/3 cup cocoa powder
• 1 cup sugar, white or light brown
• 1 egg
• 1/2 cup cooking oil or butter
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 1 cup milk
• 1 cup butter
• 1 1/4 cup Marshmallow Fluff
• 1 cup confectionary sugar, sifted
• Though not traditional, we added 2 tablespoons matcha powder to our filling for flavor and color
Illustrations by Jen Byun, artist, chef-in-training, and kimchi aficionado based in Rockaway, NYC.