Side Dish: Garlic cheese roll is back in grocery stores

Reader Gretchen Berry, who always made a broccoli and garlic cheese casserole with Kraft’s famous Garlic Cheese Roll, wrote two weeks ago looking for a substitution for the product, which is no longer available.

Berry’s request reminded me that the demise of that cheese roll and a second popular Kraft product several years ago left home cooks everywhere scrambling to find replacements to use in two of south Louisiana’s most popular holiday dishes, Spinach Madeleine and Garlic Cheese Grits.

Both recipes are from the Junior League of Baton Rouge’s best-selling cookbook, “River Road Recipes,” first published in 1959. Spinach Madeleine originally was made with Kraft’s Jalapeño Cheese Roll, which also was discontinued by the company, while Kraft’s Garlic Cheese Roll was a main ingredient in the grits recipe.

Berry later found a garlic cheese roll and a jalapeño cheese roll at a local grocery store. Both are manufactured by Parkers Farm.

Cooks tried concocting their own substitutions before local stores began carrying the Parkers Farm products, which filled a void in the market and made a lot of cooks — and hungry guests — happy.

While on the subject of home cooking, we are looking for good local cooks willing to share their recipes. If you wish to nominate someone, call (225) 388-0643 or email

And, speaking of calling, several readers recently left messages asking that they be called back. I’d like to talk with them, but they forgot to leave their phone numbers.

Celebration in the Oaks

Since it had been years since I’d been to the dazzling New Orleans City Park Celebration in the Oaks, I gladly accepted an invitation to serve as a judge for its inaugural culinary competition at the Nov. 22 preview party.

Judges had only about 1 1/2 hours to visit the food and drink booths that were set up throughout the beautiful holiday light display. It was a daunting task — too much good food in too short a time.

Winning the Best Dish category was Marsiglia Construction Co. of Harahan. Its cooking team prepared almost 1,000 servings of perfectly seasoned fried catfish, crunchy on the outside and moist on the inside, along with jalapeños.

The Most Creative award went to Astor Crown Plaza, which offered savory appetizers in small waffle cones. Haydel’s Bakery, which served wonderful chocolates, won Best Table Display. Lagniappe Lunchette, of Metairie, took the top prize in the Server Uniforms category, and Best Cocktail went to Juniper Breeze.

Electronic cookbooks

Chef John Folse’s “The Encyclopedia of Cajun & Creole Cuisine,” originally released in December 2004 and now in its 10th printing, will be available for $29.95 on electronic readers beginning Dec. 17 — news that fans of the heavyweight book should welcome. No more dealing with a 91/2-pound cookbook while cooking.

The electronic reader format will be available at,, iTunes and iBooks. For more information, go to or call Chef John Folse & Co. at (225) 644-6000.


Stressed home bakers wanting help in achieving pie baking perfection can get help from the Crisco Pie Hotline. The hotline — 1-877-367-7438 — has returned for its eighth year to answer questions from how to avoid shrinking crusts to creating the perfect filling. Experts are available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday through Dec. 15, and then from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 16-23. Recorded tips will be available 24 hours a day. For more information, tips and recipes, go to

Butterball’s Talk-Line experts are giving holiday advice on cooking turkeys and, for the first time, on wine pairing. The Butterball folks are partnering with Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi to offer the wine information. Call 1-800-288-8372 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday through Dec. 24. The help line also will be operating on the weekend before Christmas (Dec. 21-22).

Festive recipe

Looking for a festive holiday cocktail recipe? Here’s one from Devotion Vodka.

Cheramie s is The Advocate’s Food editor. Her email address is

Mistletoe Martini

Serves 1. Recipe is from Devotion Vodka.

1.5 ozs. Devotion Vodka Black & Blue

1 oz. Kahlúa

1 oz. Bailey’s Irish Cream

1 oz. White Crème de Cocoa

Chocolate shavings

Pour all ingredients into a martini shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain mixture into a martini glass. Garnish with chocolate shavings