Jezebel Sauce

Most recipes named for a person tend to have documented pedigrees; we can trace bananas Foster, Melba toast and chicken tetrazzini to a particular person and chef in a particular restaurant. But Jezebel sauce is an orphan. Jezebel herself was a 9th century BCE Phoenician princess known best as the wife of Ahab, King of Israel, who she converted to the worship of the Lord of the Flies. Her foe Elijah, speaking through the prophet Elisha, brought about her downfall, and it’s because of her idolatry and animosity towards Hebrew prophets (she had a number of them killed) that she is remembered as a voluptuous temptress who led the righteous Ahab astray.

Jezebel’s association with sexual promiscuity has even more recent vintage (e.g. Frankie Laine’s 1951 hit “Jezebel”), and this cloying reputation doubtless led to the naming of this blend of sweet condiments mixed with pungent horseradish. Jezebel sauce is most often served with ham or other smoked meats, but is often poured over cream cheese for use as a cocktail dip with crackers. This Jackson recipe is from the splendid Southern Hospitality Cookbook by Winifred Greene Cheney, who claims, “Some of this sauce would have made Ahab’s wife a better woman,” but I doubt it. Jezebel was a real bitch.

Fidelia’s Jezebel Sauce

1 (16-ounce) jar of pineapple preserves, 1 (12-ounce) jar apple jelly, 6 ounces prepared mustard (I use a Creole brown), 1 (5-ounce) jar horseradish, salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. You can add Coleman’s Mustard for added kick. Blend all ingredients well with a fork or whip. This sauce keeps well for weeks refrigerated in a sealed container.


3 Replies to “Jezebel Sauce”

  1. I wish I knew how many batches of Jezebel I have made. At one time it was required at any Delta cocktail party…… along with marinated shrimp. We Deltans may have some failings, but we know how to give a party.

    1. Marilyn Brookes–
      Although not from the Delta, I’ve spent much of my college/adult life up there benefiting from wonderful friendships, warm hospitality, cultural/historical events, outstanding restaurants, and of course, the extravagant parties you guys know how to throw. So, what failings are you referring to?

  2. Confession: when I was much younger—before I could drive— I made myself a midnight sandwich of Roman Meal bread, mayonnaise, iceberg lettuce, and a heapin’ helpin ‘ of Jezebel sauce. Perhaps there was a slice of onion involved. It was seriously good. And no animals were harmed.

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