Today is National Cheese Ball Day. Preparing for this significant holiday is a learning experience.

There are several different types of cheese balls. Some are just cheese. Others are breaded and deep fried. Some are covered in nuts and other coatings. Some aren't even cheese at all, but refer to a person's sense of humor.

The originator of the phrase apparently had a sense of humor, too. As tasty as cheese is, if someone has a "cheesy" sense of humor or is considered a "cheese ball," that's not really a good thing. How does that figure? How can something so good be equated with something that not so good?

Come to think of it, there is some etiquette when it comes to cheese. It's proper to slice cheese. It's considered bad form to cut the cheese.

Here are some fun facts about cheese balls:

1. A cheese spread in the shape of a ball, usually served around Christmas in the United States.

2. Bocconcini, an Italian cheese in the shape of a ball.

3. Cheese puffs, a processed snack made from puffed corn and cheese, sometimes ball-shaped.

4. A synonym for “cheesy.”

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TODAY'S RECIPE

HERMAN REUNION CHEESE BALL

3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce

Louisiana Brand The Perfect Hot Sauce 12 ounces

1 pound shredded Cheddar cheese

1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

In an electric food processor or blender, combine cream cheese, garlic, Worcestershire sauce and hot pepper sauce. Blend well. Add Cheddar cheese and process until the Cheddar is fine, but still very visible. Shape the mixture into balls or logs. Wrap individually in plastic wrap and place in the freezer.

While the balls are in the freezer, combine the ground pecans and parsley in a shallow bowl. Remove the balls from the freezer and roll them in the pecan and parsley mixture.

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BACON-BLEU CHEESE BALL

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

1 (3 ounce) package bacon bits

3 ounces crumbled blue cheese

1/4 cup blue cheese salad dressing, or to taste

2 green onions, chopped

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 cup dried parsley, or as needed (optional)

Stir cream cheese, bacon bits, blue cheese, salad dressing, green onions, and garlic powder together in a bowl. Form mixture into 2 balls, cover each with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until chilled and firm, 3 hours or overnight.

Remove cheese balls from plastic wrap and roll in parsley.

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GREEN CHILE CHEESE BALL

4 large Pueblo chile peppers

1 1/2 pounds shredded pepper jack cheese

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 cups finely chopped pecans

Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat, and lightly oil the grate. Cook chiles on the preheated grill until the skin of the peppers has blackened and blistered, about 5 minutes. Be careful not to overcook the peppers, or the skin will not come off easily. Turn the peppers often to cook evenly. Place the blackened peppers into a bowl, and tightly seal with plastic wrap. Allow the peppers to steam as they cool, about 20 minutes. Once cool, remove the skins and seeds. Chop the peppers.

Combine the chopped peppers with the pepper jack, cream cheese, garlic, salt, and pepper. Form the the mixture into a ball and place on a plate covered with wax paper. Place the cheese ball in the freezer until very cold, about 15 minutes.

Spread the chopped pecans on a large cutting board or baking sheet. Roll the frozen cheese ball in the pecans. Use your hand to pack any areas that are not covered by pecans, making sure the entire outside of the cheese ball is covered with a nice layer of pecans.

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