Lee’s Jezebel Sauce

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

 

Roast Pork Loin

Remove sinews and most of the fat from a whole loin of pork, butterfly and brush with corn oil seasoned with black pepper, salt and freshly-minced garlic. For the stuffing, use day-old cornbread moistened with oil and a light stock of your choice (I recommend chicken), seasoned with fresh rosemary (not too much!), thyme and basil, salt and pepper along with finely-minced onions. You can also add other vegetables such as spinach, celery or sweet peppers. Stuff the loin, assemble, truss, brush again with seasoned oil and roast on medium heat (350) until done through (about an hour for a ten pound loin). Serve with Jezebel sauce.

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.

 

Stalking Jezebel

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. While Jezebel’s association with sexual promiscuity is of more recent vintage (e.g. Frankie Laine’s 1951 hit “Jezebel”), it’s usually taken for granted that this cloying reputation led to the naming of this blend of sweet condiments mixed with pungent horseradish. Jezebel sauce is most often served with ham, pork or other meats such as roast beef or smoked turkey, but is sometimes poured over cream cheese for use as a cocktail dip with crackers.

Biblical precedent aside, the sauce’s parenthood is shrouded. In response to a query about Jezebel’s culinary origins, Liz Williams, President and Director of the Southern Food and Beverage Museum, said, “You are asking about one of those mysterious things in food. I think that most people agree that Clementine Paddleford’s is the first written reference to the sauce as Jezebel sauce in the mid-1950s. Other than that, I do not know.  Fruit sauces mixed with horseradish existed before, but were not called Jezebel sauce.” The delightfully-named Clementine was an American food writer active from the 1920s through the 1960s, writing for the New York Herald Tribune, the New York Sun, and the New York Telegram, among others. Paddleford’s recipe for Jezebel sauce is in her landmark work, How America Eats (1960), though she may well have written about it elsewhere before then.

Gary Saunders of DixieDining.com (“May the Fork Be with You!”) says, “Jezebel sauce is a spicy sauce (like Jezebel herself) that contains pineapple preserves, apple jelly, horseradish, and mustard. The Jezebel sauce (or glaze) is often served over ham. A Southern origin of this dish seems certain, with Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida all putting in claims.” He then cites recipes from the Syracuse (NY) Post-Standard, 26 October 1958, “‘Mrs. Kansas’ Is a Cooking Whiz: Treats from the Sunflower State,” This Week magazine; the Pontiac (IL) Daily Leader, 21 November, 1967; and the Elyria (OH) Chronicle-Telegram. This last source states that the recipe is from Sunny Side Up, “the excellent cookbook published by the Junior League of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.”

More confusingly, Andrea Yeager, in an August, 2005 article in the Biloxi Sun Herald, “On the Trail of Jezebel Sauce”, writes, “Is Jezebel sauce a Mississippi creation? Rodney Simmons of Bell Buckle Country Store in Tennessee wants to know. His company recently began producing Jezebel sauce, and he would like to know the origin of the sauce. He has traced the recipe’s history to the Gulf Coast. “I thought it was Creole or Cajun, but after a recent conversation with Paul Prudhomme, we think that it originated on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, around Gulfport.” (Simmons doesn’t fully recount the conversation.) As a native son proud of his state’s culinary heritage, I’d like to think that Jezebel sauce originated in Mississippi, but I suspect it originated in the Midwest. This Jackson recipe is from the splendid The Southern Hospitality Cookbook by Winifred Greene Cheney, who claims, “Some of this sauce would have made Ahab’s wife a better woman.” I doubt it; Jezebel was a real bitch.

Fidelia’s Jezebel Sauce for Pork

1 (16-ounce) jar of pineapple preserves, 1 (12-ounce) jar apple jelly, 1 (6-ounce) can prepared mustard (I use a brown, jly), 1 (5-ounce) jar horseradish, salt and freshly ground pepper. Blend all ingredients with an electric mixer. This sauce keeps well refrigerated in a sealed container. Yield: 3 cups.