Grandma Dorothy’s Hot Crabmeat Sandwiches: Oops I Made Crabby Snacks!

This is the eighth installment in my series in which I cook all eleven recipes I found my grandmothers had submitted to their old church cookbooks. Previous recipes include Rice PilafSalad with Cashew NutsHam & Sour Cream CasseroleOld Fashioned Cauliflower SlawApricot Jello Salad, and Ship Wreck casserole (the one my mom hated). 

Oops, I made crabby snacks.

The next recipe in this series comes from Grandma Dorothy, my mom’s mom. We spent a lot of time at their Cuyahoga Falls home where I played on their tree swing and spent hours in their attic looking at antique post cards. She gave me my first taste of coffee (which I promptly spit out) and read us books. She always kept a filled candy dish and taught me how to make homemade mashed potatoes.

This weekend I asked my Facebook fans which of my grandma’s recipes they’d like to see me make next and received the most feedback about crabmeat sandwiches.

First, A Mystery
Before I could start, I had to figure out what on earth is Velacta cheese?

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I could not find information online for “Velacta Cheese” or even “Velacta.” However, I found an MLM company Velata that sells kitchen products, fondue sets, and processed cheese spreads. A reader pointed out that Velata is owned by Scentsy whose website says Velata was introduced in 2012. This made me wonder if Scentsy bought an old company’s line or if Velata is a new brand. Unfortunately, the company does not list a corporate phone number and has not returned my email yet.

Readers wondered if Dorothy actually meant Velveeta, with Velacta being a typo. I went with this assumption because Velveeta came into existence long before the 60’s and 70’s and I would have only been able to purchase Velata by mail ordering it from a direct sales representative.

Canned Crab
I live in a smaller Iowan town and we don’t have a large selection of seafood. I could not find frozen crab so I chose this canned variety.

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Cans ranged from $2.99-$10, with jumbo lump being the most expensive. This can cost $5. The meat smelled unappealing and didn’t taste to great out of the can, either. If I had found frozen lump crab, I’m assuming it would have cost more than $10. Would I really have wanted to mix a higher quality product with Velveeta?

Crabby Snacks
I soon realized these sandwiches were actually a variation of the appetizer known as Crabby Snacks/Crabbies/Crab Bites. Jackie Weaver pushed this retro dish back into the spotlight when she mentioned Crabby Snacks in the film Silver Linings Playbook.

I have to confess I made some adaptations:

  • I cut the recipe in half so I didn’t waste a whole stick of butter.
  • I substituted butter for Oleo because I just can’t.
  • I substituted sliced bread with the crusts cut off for buns because I totally missed that part when I went grocery shopping.

Crabby Snack

Notes On Preparation 

  • Velveeta does funny things when you try to melt it with butter. It may separate into little globules so stir hard, and it will eventually form a paste.
  • I rinsed the crab before stirring it into the cheese because that smell.

Concluding Thoughts
These crabbies tasted better than we anticipated. This is not saying the canned crab meat tasted good, but that its flavor was mostly masked by the Velveeta mixture.

While I liked the idea of broiling each sandwich with a slice of fresh tomato, this turned out to be better in theory. The tomato slice blocked the cheese from getting golden brown and the underlying texture was unappealing.

Would I make this again? No. But it was fun to finally try this iconic retro appetizer. I have a hard time moving beyond the flavor of the canned crab lumps. If you like tuna fish, you might not feel too bothered and even Jake said he didn’t mind the crab’s flavor. I’d prefer surimi’s flavor (fake crab) to this canned product, though I typically don’t like its texture when it’s cooked. It reminds me of paste.

Have you ever eaten Crabby Snacks? How does your recipe (or your family member’s recipe) vary? What do you know about Velacta?

12 Comments

  1. Your review had me giggling from the start. Totally missed the bread portion of the recipe? The smell! Globules!!! And finally —“Would I make this again? NO!”

    They could be good I suppose but I am pretty much against all things made with Velveeta or Velacta or whatever. I think I had too many Velveeta cheese sandwiches as a child—that was the poor man’s cheese, I think, and we even had the fake Velveeta so you can understand my aversion today. 🙂

    Love this series but this one did not make me want to rush to the kitchen to make it. 🙂

    • I had to buy one of those huge, two pound bricks of Velveeta, too. Jake’s mom has a great recipe for mac and cheese so at least I can use it for that. I have no shame in throwing a little bit into certain soups, too. Sometimes American cheese adds a nice melty note to soups. I won’t save you any of this batch.

  2. When I was growing up, the only cheese I knew about was Velveeta and also some kind of cheese in a jar. Imagine my delight when I discovered the many kinds of actual real chese that exist!!

  3. I’ve never seen but yes, you have me intrigued 😉

  4. I love looking through old cookbooks! Making the recipes is so much fun!

  5. Velacta? After reading the note, I figured she meant Velveeta. To answer the other question about Crab meat, Walmart has a variety of Crab Meat in the Seafood area of the Meat Dept. I should know…….I work in that dept. 😉

  6. Thank you so much! I am doing research into retro recipes my mom used to make and this was one of them. She would make it for dinner parties in particular and I remember how embarrassed she was when I asked her about it because it was mostly Velveeta and butter. Which shocked me! Hers also came out super dark like that. Oh I can’t believe I can make this again, thank you so much again.

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