The Land of Boys

Learning to live in a house full of testosterone

Porcupine Balls

Okay, before the title of these scares you, no porcupines are harmed in the preparation of this dish. (((insert big cheesy grin))) This is something that my grandmother used to make when I was  kid. I was looking through some cookbooks to get some inspiration to get out of our rut of eating the same old stuff. I found the cookbook that my high school band sold as a fundraiser many moons ago.  That’s me third from the left on the front row. The dork with her legs going in the wrong direction.  Not just legs mind you, but flag pole, too. My pal Valerie from Chaos Castle is the third from the right. She is not sitting all weird.

scan0001Anyway, my grandmother’s recipe for porcupine balls is in there. I remember LOVING them as a kid. My grandmother could cook anything and it would turn out good, though.  Mark was really nervous about trying them. He works a swing shift, and I cooked this on a night where he would be taking them for supper. He told me that he had never tried meatballs that he actually liked before.  I told him to try one and he could take something else if they weren’t good. He tried it and said it was really good, even without ketchup. (which he eats on every meat) Nathaniel ate on a weird schedule that day. He ate breakfast at the same time as the rest of us, but was not hungry at lunch. He decided to eat lunch about 5 minutes before I started cooking supper. So he still has not tried them. I gave Benjamin and Samuel one to try. Benjamin looked at his for several minutes. Samuel grabbed his, popped it into his mouth, and said, “Hey, can I have more of that? It’s really good!” Benjamin was feeling a little better after seeing his dad and brother like them. So he licked it. It didn’t kill him, so he ate it. And ate more on a plate. So it has a 4 out of 5 approval rate, with one untried


  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1/2 cup instant rice
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp salt*
  • 1/2 tsp celery salt*
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt*
  • dash of pepper

Combine all ingredients and form into balls. Fry balls in 2 T of shortening until brown.


  • 1 (6oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Mix sauce ingredients in a bowl. Pour over meatballs. Cover and simmer 45 minutes on low heat; add water if too dry.

*I should note: We do not put much salt in our food. I omitted the salt, used 1/4 tsp of celery seeds, and a smidge of garlic powder. (My family is not super keen on garlic. They all get a look of terror in their eyes if they see me get garlic cloves at the store.) I also used oil instead of shortening to fry the meat balls. I have been buying the cheap rolls of meat for tacos and spaghetti. They are fine for that, where something does not need a shape, and can be drained easily. Next time, I will use better meat. There was a lot of shrinkage and I had to unplug the electric skillet and drain it.

on a plastic John Deere plate in honor of my childhood out in the country.

on a plastic John Deere plate in honor of my childhood out in the country.


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