Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Birthday dinner with the family: Appetizer: Rinktum Ditty

With a name like Rinktum Ditty, I had to try it.

A search of the word origin doesn't bring up anything conclusive, but it appears to be a common phrase in certain areas. From the following forum, the most common explanation was from Texas and they all had the same idea of what the meaning of Rinktum was.
If you get a haircut, you better say "Rinktums" or "no rinctums, no returns" before someone notices :) Otherwise...someone else could rub the back of your head with their knuckles (to the point of pain).

Makes me think none too fondly of noogies from my childhood!

Other usages from other places:
  • a gadget or simple but useful machine or tool. Aka a thingie-ma-bob
  • can be used like 'rinky-dink' - something cheaply made
  • can be used like 'gong-show' - a complete disorganized mess of people
  • Slang form for calling someone an A-hole
  • A dish consisting of cheese, tomatoes, onion, egg, and pepper, on toast

Most of the reviews I've seen on the web are favourable, but I admit that some of the images are less than appealing. The less appealing ones look like a very orange-red cheese melted over toast, the others look more like a tapenade. I'm guessing this is due to how fine the onions and tomatoes are chopped, as well as the colour of the cheese used.  Well...mine falls in to the less appealing looking category :) To me it looks a bit like ...umm ...barf ...BUT, I was actually impressed that it tastes better than it looks, and everyone had second helpings of it, so, that in my opinion means I would make it again - perhaps not for guests (because of how it looks), but for family.
RInktum Ditty

The recipe is in The American Woman's Cook Book and The Culinary Arts Encyclopedic Cook Book - both edited by Ruth Berolzheimer (Director, Culinary Arts Institute).  The only difference is that in the AW Cook Book it calls for 1/2 lb of grated cheese, whereas the CAE states 1/2 lb American Cheese grated.  I'm not American - I'm a proud Canadian, so I don't know what American Cheese is...except to guess it comes from Jersey cows  ;)

No Name Nacho Cheese
I chose to use grated nacho cheese and measured it out on a scale. (8 oz = 1/2 lb = about 2 cups of grated cheese).

I set the cheese aside while I cooked the onions up in butter and cooked the tomatoes.

I wasn't sure how to just make '2 cups of cooked tomatoes', so I threw about 2.5 cups of chopped tomatoes in a pot and let them simmer until mushy.

I added the spices and onions to the tomatoes and then stirred in the cheese, stirring constantly until melted, then added in the egg - which I don't think was needed. It was odd, and I was worried that it would cook when I stirred it in, but I guess the little ditty was cool enough that it didn't. It seemed a bit liquidy when putting it on the toast, but it didn't run off to much.

For the toast, I melted butter and brushed it on both sides of some sour dough bread slices, that I then popped in the oven and baked at 350 F until somewhat brown - flipping once. (haha, I needed the oven for the Stuffed Crown Roast of Frankfurters, so I didn't want to lose the 'preheating' by changing the temperature)

It makes quite a bit too. I'd say at least 3 cups worth. As an appetizer, we only used about 1 cup of it.

Rinktum Ditty
American Woman's Cook Book - 1948 (pg 378)
Culinary Arts Institute Encyclopedic Cookbook - 1950  (pg

  • 1 small onion, chopped finely
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 cups cooked tomatoes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 lb cheese, grated
  • 1 egg beaten

  1. Cook onion in butter until tender
  2. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper, and sugar and heat
  3. Add cheese and cook until melted, stirring constantly.
  4. Add egg slowly, stirring constantly, and cook 1 minute longer
  5. Serve on buttered toast.

Note: Serves 4 (4 hungry people eating 3/4 of a cup of it each!)

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