Vinegar, Sugar, Cream Cheese: Unexpected Companions

Creche dip close-upWhen I saw a recipe for Green Pepper Dip in a cookbook from the 1980s, I expected a swirl of sour cream, chopped veggies and salt, perhaps artfully served in a hollowed-out pepper half. Instead, I found directions to beat two eggs and equal measures of vinegar, butter, and sugar, then heat and mix with cream cheese. “Everyone loves this,” promised the recipe in Crèche Cooks, a book to benefit a charity for children named Crèche in Jamestown, New York.

The book offers practical fare; the giddy celebration of all things gourmet in the 1980s bestseller, The Silver Palate Cookbook, never made it into this collection. Recipes from the Crèche social committee reflected a variety of occasions: punch for receptions, ham and cheese pie for dinners, hot fudge sauce for ice cream parties.

Creche dip eggsCreche dip ingredThe first few ingredients for the dip came together quickly in a saucepan. I stirred in the chopped pepper and onion at the end, let everything cool, and then refrigerated it overnight to let the flavors develop. My friends and I found the sweet-and-tangy flavor intriguing and happily spread it onto gluten-free rice crackers, pita chips, and carrot sticks. The dip would make good tailgate (or den) fare as the football season starts. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who was born and raised in Jamestown, might have even sampled it at some point. My friends and I have all scattered back to the home turf of different teams (the New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, and Cincinnati Bengals) but we can all rally behind this recipe.

Crèche Green Pepper Dip (1986)
Makes about 2 cups

2 eggs
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
2 tablespoons chopped onion [I used scallions]
4 tablespoons finely chopped green [I used red] pepper

  1. In a saucepan, beat the eggs. Add the vinegar, butter, sugar, and salt. Turn the heat to medium-low and stir until thick, about 5 minutes.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat and add the cream cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted. Add the onions and pepper.
  3. Refrigerate for 24 hours before serving.
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About heritagerecipebox

I am named after my great-grandmother, who only prepared two dishes, according to anyone who remembers: hamburgers shaped like squares and peanut butter sandwiches. Fast forward 100 years and 500 miles north from my hometown of Richmond, Virginia to Boston, Massachusetts. Somehow, I ended up with a cooking gene as well as an interest in history and family stories. I have worked as a journalist and published three cookbooks plus a memoir. This blog gives me a chance to share family recipes and stories -- and other American recipes with a past. What do you have to share?
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