As Mad Men counts its way down to the final episode, it has crossed my mind to hope that Don’s final fate isn’t that of the silhouette-man we’ve watched at the beginning of each episode, for seven heartrending seasons: a business suit-clad Don-like figure, plummeting his way off the side of a Madison Avenue skyscraper, down, down, down to the NYC sidewalk below. This season, it appears that many of the main characters have achieved much of the success they’ve been striving for. Has attaining career advancement and coming into money brought any of them the happiness they hoped it might?
Not as far as I can tell.
Not yet, at least.
On last week’s episode, “The Forecast”, Don is assigned the task of writing a kind of “Gettysburg Address”, forecasting what’s next for the company that absorbed SCDP, McCann. He spends the entire episode chewing on that idea, working through his own thoughts, and picking the brain of almost everyone he meets: his co-workers Ted, and Peggy, his secretary, his real estate agent, current magazines, and even his daughter Sally, and her friends. Is it enough just to work for more and bigger projects, or for a promotion, or bigger clients? Is fame where it’s at? Is it possible to create something of lasting value? Are “my job” and “the meaning of life” totally unrelated concepts?
We’ll have to stay tuned to see how Don answers these questions, but my guess is, that being the Ad Man that he is, his answer will incorporate truth, hope, and glamour, as well as smoke and mirrors. Don’s gift lies in his ability to take the everyday, ordinary moments of life, and spin them in such a way that we see the magic. His pitches resonate because we find that his words put their finger right on the pulse of our longing. They warm our hearts, and give us hope. Don paints iconic, almost sacred pictures of small moments in life, all the while we watch him struggling in his own personal life to free himself from the chains of his own destructive behavior patterns .
Life is short…and so are the final days of the final season of Mad Men. Each day we are given in this life is worthy of being celebrated, in my opinion, and if you’ve enjoyed this TV series as much as I have, why not turn these final episodes into an excuse to have a little party, even if it’s only for yourself? And if you have a friend or a significant other who enjoys watching the show with you, well, then, so much the better! To make your viewing experience just a little more special, here’s a snack that couldn’t be MORE reminiscent of this time period.
I’m calling this recipe, “The Final Cheese Ball” because…well…it made me laugh. It’s actually in honor of the Final Season of Mad Men. But it doesn’t have to be YOUR Final Cheese Ball. You can make it as often as you like. As best I can recall, it was hard to have a get-together in the late 60’s/early 70’s, without the appearance of the Ubiquitous Cheese Ball. But if you lost your grandma’s recipe, I’ve got you covered!
Recipe note: I used Cabot Cheddar Cheese, because it’s my favorite. If you hate blue cheese, you could omit it, or cut down on the quantity.
The Final Cheese Ball
10 oz. cheddar cheese, cubed
1 1/2 8 oz. packages of cream cheese, softened
6 oz. blue cheese, crumbled
1 shallot, minced finely
1 t. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. Sriracha sauce
4 slices of bacon, fried, and crumbled
1 c. chopped pecans, divided
1/2 c. chopped parsley, divided
Pulse cheddar cheese in food processor until crumbly. Add cream cheese, blue cheese, shallot, Worcestershire sauce, and sriracha sauce, and pulse until smooth.
Add bacon, 1/2 c. pecans, 1/4 c. parsley and pulse until just blended.
Place in bowl lined with plastic, gather the plastic around the cheese, and form into a ball. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
When ready to serve, mix remaining pecans and parsley on a large flat dish, and roll the cheese ball in them, to coat.