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Grandma’s Cookbook: Vintage Picnic or Tailgating Appetizers

By Michele D. Baker

Following along with the football and tailgating theme, we offer three perfect-for-a-church-picnic appetizer recipes from the 1960s and 70s. Each has been tried, enjoyed and has appeared in a small town church’s fundraising cookbook. As with all our vintage recipes, we encourage you to use these recipes as starting points! Feel free to switch out fruits or vegetables for your own favorites and to adjust seasonings.

Grandma’s Cookbook: Vintage Picnic or Tailgating Recipes: fruit pizza

Grandma Evelyn’s Fruit "Pizza" Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup cold butter (1 stick)

  • 2 1/4 cups powdered sugar

  • 1 cup flour

  • 8 oz. cream cheese (1 brick)

  • 1 cup sugar, divided

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Banana, cut into 1/2” circles

  • Strawberries, cleaned and sliced

  • Kiwis, peeled and diced

  • Peach, peeled and sliced

  • Blueberries

  • Maraschino cherries, halved

  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch

  • 1 cup pineapple juice

  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice


  1. Using a blender or two forks, mix the cold butter with the powdered sugar and flour until crumbly. Pat into pizza pan or 9” x 9” pan, going up the sides.

  2. Bake 10 minutes at 350 and allow to cool.

  3. Beat the cream cheese, 1/3 cup of sugar and vanilla together until creamy. Spread over cooled crust.

  4. Arrange cut fruit in a pretty pattern. (Note: Grandma’s recipe says you can also use well-drained canned fruit.)

  5. In a small saucepan, combine the cornstarch, pineapple juice, lemon juice, and 1/2 cup of sugar. Cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Cool, then pour over the “pizza” to seal the fruit.

Grandma’s Cookbook: Vintage Picnic or Tailgating Recipes: veggie pizza on crescent roll crust

Aunt Lois’s Vegetable Pizza Ingredients:

  • 2 packages crescent rolls (she recommends Pillsbury in the handwritten recipe)

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise

  • 1 teaspoon onion salt

  • 16 oz. cream cheese (2 bricks)

  • 1-2 teaspoons dill

  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic

  • Tomato, cucumber, celery, carrots, black and green olives, mushrooms, cauliflower florets, green and red pepper, cleaned and diced/chopped/sliced


  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and grease the paper. Spread the crescent roll dough onto the pan, pressing lightly to seal the seams. Bake according to package directions.

  2. Combine cream cheese, mayo, and spices. Spread over cooled crust.

  3. Arrange vegetables over the top.

  4. Cut into squares and serve.

Grandma’s Cookbook: Vintage Picnic or Tailgating Recipes: sausage and cheese balls

Sausage & Cheese Balls Makes 7 dozen appetizers Ingredients:

  • 3 cups baking mix (such as Bisquick or Pioneer)

  • 1 lb. pork sausage (uncooked)

  • 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese

  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • 1/2 cup milk

  • 1 teaspoon rosemary

  • 1 teaspoon parsley

  • 1/4 teaspoon sage

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

  • Barbecue sauce or sweet and sour sauce (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil.

  2. Using clean hands, mix together all ingredients in a large bowl. Shape into 1-inch balls.

  3. (At this point, balls may be frozen; thaw before baking.)

  4. Bake 20-25 minutes or until brown.

  5. Remove immediately from the pan and serve warm with dipping sauce (such as barbecue or horseradish mayo) if desired.

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