Friday, 14 December 2012

Jacob's Join

On Wednesday my quilt group had its Christmas meeting at which we always have a Jacob's Join. You probably know this better as a 'pot luck' where each member brings along a plate of food to share. I'd never heard of the term Jacob's Join before I became a member of our group. And it wasn't until I did an internet search to find the origin of the name that I discovered it's a term used mainly in and around Lancashire (though strangely there were lots of mentions in North Carolina too!). No-one seems to know why it's called a Jacob's Join but the most common suggestion is that it has biblical origins and is related to Jacob and the 7 year famine during which he sent his sons out to bring back food.

Whatever the explanation, every year I agonise over what to take. I usually aim for something savoury as there are always plenty of desserts. It needs to be either something I can make in advance or something very quick as I don't have much time between getting home from work and rushing out to the meeting. And it has to be cold as I never fancy trying to transport hot food in the car.

Last year I made these canapes which were in one of the free food guides you get from supermarkets at this time of year and they couldn't be simpler. Take one slice of salami and place in the middle a sunblush tomato, a piece of mozzarella and a couple of rocket leaves. Roll up and secure with a cocktail stick.

They were such a success that I decided to do something similar this year but with a slight change of ingredients. A Google image search for salami canapes found a picture showing a canape which used a slice of salami, a slice of cheese and an olive. For the olive haters, I decided to substitute a ribbon of cucumber. Look pretty good, don't they? Appearances can be deceptive. The cocktail stick didn't do a good job of holding the sides together and they soon fell apart. They also didn't stack well on a tray as the cocktail sticks got in the way. I fiddled and twiddled and couldn't figure out how to get them to work. Time for a rethink.

The simplest solution was to stack the ingredients onto crackers so I did an eleventh hour dash to our local shop and picked up some oatcakes and wheat crackers. Next predicament: the salami slices were just too big to sit neatly on top. Out with the pastry cutters. Un-fluted side for the salami, fluted side for the cheese, and a smaller one for the cucumber.

And these were the finished canapes. After a couple of false starts, I was really pleased with the results. But do you know what? Out of 15 that went to the Jacob's Join, 10 came back home with me. Sigh.

I obviously didn't hit the spot with these. Maybe they looked too bland? Or there were a lot of salami and/or cheese haters? In any case, I need to up my game next year. So, dear readers, please help a fellow blogger, what's your favourite and sure-fire winner of a dish to take to a Jacob's Join?


  1. I'm not sure why your canapes weren't devoured - if I'd been there, you wouldn't have brought any back home :D Those salami canapes in particular are very festive looking - perhaps if you used toothpicks that have a coloured end on them (you've probably seen them at gatherings), that way only one end could possibly slide off. I quite often bring layered dips to gatherings - guacamole, salsa, black beans, sour cream, grated cheese, chopped olives on top - you'll find recipes for this everywhere online. Easy to put together a day ahead.

  2. Just realized I had meant to add that spearing an olive and perhaps a cube of cheddar cheese on either side of the toothpick on the outside would also help hold things together and look quite attractive :)

  3. They look delicious, but sometimes things get lot in amongst lots of other food. I learnt the hard way that un-iced fruit cakes don't sell at cake sales, no matter how good they might taste, but anything made with chocolate or covered in icing sells straight away.

    You could take a quiche or tart next time? Or anything with smoked salmon always goes down well. x

  4. They do look good! But from your photo it looks as if there was a TON of food there. I don't have any particularly impressive recipes because I'm usually looking for something that kids will eat, i.e. sausage balls, pigs in a blanket, etc.