Auntie Salami Hors d’Oeuvres

Safe to say the name was lost in translation.

Hapa Ramen’s Ricotta Crostini with Fresh Thyme and Dried Oregano, Arnold Gatilao, on Flickr

There’s a few things the original name could be, but it’s hard to guess. It’s tricky–I’ll explain.

The auntie is probably a misheard part of antipasto. An antipasto is the first course in Italian dining, served, as the name implies, before the pasta course. (Technically, that means it’s not an hors d’oeuvre, because it’s served with the formal meal–but that distinction is pretty meaningless when you’re not eating in formal courses.)

So why auntie salami? A couple things are possible here. Antipasti is the plural of antipasto, but it would be strange to refer to a single type of antipasto in the plural in a recipe. Like, if I was going to give you a recipe for chicken pot pie, the recipe might make six individual pies, but I wouldn’t call it a chicken pot pies recipe.

Another possibility is a misheard version of the Italian appetizer these most closely resemble: crostini. Technically, they’re not crostini, since those should be toasted first. And if you guessed bruschetta, nice try, but come back when we’re using Italian bread.

The biggest antipasto in Colorado at Creekside Cellars, by BuzzFarmers, on Flickr

What makes this possible is that some of us in the States have a tendency to use antipasto to refer to an antipasto salad, cubed cured meats, cheeses, and pickled vegetables. Structurally, this recipe looks like an attempt to put an antipasto salad on top of a crostini. (Most assuredly not an Italian, as baking cured meats would be considered a sign of questionable judgment.)

So I think antipasto crostini is probably the original name of Auntie Salami, because someone (the person who recited this recipe to our box author) who didn’t know these weren’t actually crostini is likely to be the person who doesn’t realize that crostini are a type of antipasto and that antipasto isn’t a salad.

Our box author is forgiven because the contents of this box suggest that English was a second or third language, and I hardly have the moral authority to be critical of anyone’s second language. (My French is barely enough to avoid poisoning myself in the market.)

Nevertheless, I kind of like the name. Auntie Salami. Catchy, innit?

Another fun tidbit here (well, it’s fun if you like intellectual property law, so it might not be fun): the Cracker Barrel reference probably indicates this recipe originated with Kraft at some point. Kraft started selling Cracker Barrel cheese in 1954. (Here’s a 1980s commercial–there’s some tape hiss on it, so turn the speakers down a bit…)

Meanwhile, in 1969, Shell Oil employee Dan Evins started the restaurant chain Cracker Barrel in Tennessee. People born thereafter tend to believe that the Cracker Barrel cheese in the supermarket is licensed by the chain, when in reality, there was no relationship–and, in fact, are going to be competitors soon.

In late 2012, Cracker Barrel (the restaurant) announced a deal with Smithfield (the ham people) to sell cured meats in retail locations. In early 2013, Kraft got an injunction to prevent the deal; late this summer, Kraft and Cracker Barrel settled their differences by changing the name on the new products. The licensed products will now read “CB Old Country Store.”

It’s confusing, but hey, it’s been confusing for a long time.

From a box sold in Martinez, California.

Auntie Salami Hors d’Oeuvres

2 T. Italian seasoning
1 (10 oz.) sharp cheese
1 (10 oz.) Cracker Barrel mild cheese
1 c. salad oil
1 small can tomato sauce
1 small can chopped olives
1 small can sliced mushrooms
1 (12 oz.) package salami, chopped fine
1 small French bread, sliced

Combine ingredients and spread on bread.

Bake at 400 deg. for 10-15 minutes.

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