Food & Wine

Local Octogenerian Creates a Cheesy Holiday Business

84-year-old Pasadena local Jim Carmack invented his now beloved cheeseball – appropriately named, Jim's Cheeseball – in 1951


Published: Tuesday, December 13, 2011 | 12:59 PM

Mary Pat Brandmeyer from The Market on Holly and Jim Carmack.

Mary Pat Brandmeyer from The Market on Holly and Jim Carmack.

In 1951, Jim and Betty Jane Carmack were spending their first holiday together as a married couple.

Jim, a U. S. Navy pilot, found himself craving a tasty cheeseball to serve guests during the holidays.  His new wife, Betty Jane, pulled out one of the recipes she had received on a 3×5 note card at her wedding shower and made their first cheeseball.  Jim wasn’t impressed.  Betty Jane – frustrated –  told her husband that if he didn’t like what she had made, he could make one himself!

The rest, as they say, is history…..

Carmack and his family ultimately moved to Pasadena in 1957.  Over the years, Jim’s Cheeseball recipe has evolved into the holiday classic it is today.  With a smoky note, a creamy texture and a hint of heat, the cheeseball has only been available during the holidays to friends and family of Jim Carmack until now.

Today Carmack resides in a retirement community in Pasadena and says he couldn’t be more thrilled to be starting a business doing something he loves during this late phase in his life.

12 ounce cheeseballs are $18.00 and are the perfect appetizer for any gathering.  A portion of the proceeds will benefit the USO.

Jim’s Cheeseball is currently available at The Market on Holly, 57 E. Holly Street, Old Pasadena.