Ham Salad

Are you a meat salad eater? As a child, I don’t remember ever having a sandwich made from chopped meat and assorted crunchy additions.

Tuna sandwiches were bread spread with Miracle Whip and canned tuna set on top, maybe a lettuce leaf was included. There was no such thing as chicken salad. If you had a chicken sandwich it was sliced chicken meat on buttered bread (sounds a bit dry doesn’t it?). Ham was another sandwich choice, but it was slices of ham on Miracle Whip (we called it mayonnaise, little did I know that was not mayonnaise). Now with the ham you probably got a slice of cheese. That was all I knew about sandwiches with meat.

Years later, I mean I was an adult, before I knew of the tastes of chicken salad, tuna salad, and ham salad as options for sandwiches. So now when we have ham, the leftovers will be ground up and a ham salad is created.

What do you put in ham salad? I tend to add and add until the bowl is brimming. There might be hard boiled eggs, celery, sweet pickle relish, some finely chopped onion, shredded cheddar cheese, perhaps a dab of horseradish sauce, and of course, Miracle Whip. Any or all ingredients will find its way into my ham salad. It’s never the same twice.

Often I will bring my mom some of the food I fix for dinner. This way she gets some variety and she doesn’t have to cook. I mentioned to my mom that I was going to bring over some food and ham salad was one of the items I named.

“You don’t have to put so much into the ham salad,” she tells me.

I’m confused, “What do you mean? It’s not ham salad if I don’t put in celery, relish, and other stuff.” What I’m figuring out from this conversation is she doesn’t like my ham salad.

“What if I just bring you the ground ham, and you can put in whatever you like,” I suggest.

That would be perfect. So now I’m wondering, what constitutes ham salad?

22 thoughts on “Ham Salad

  1. I truly don’t make any salads, and if I make tuna salad, I do it the “cheat” way – a little mayo with a can of tuna. My mom used to make ham salad all the time and I loved it as a kid, but find it difficult to eat now. I am always intrigued at how our taste buds change with age.
    I was amused by your mom’s comment; have had similar comments from my mom from time to time.

  2. I remember watching my mom use an old hand crank meat grinder to make ham salad. As a 5-6 year old it grossed me out. Know I think how cool to make your own and less expensive.

  3. Jaana says:

    I don’t think I have ever had ham salad. Neither was tuna or chicken salad. Perhaps I need to try ham salad one day…..but I tend to follow your mom’s advice; not too many things in it!

  4. I also have never heard of ham salad! But you definitely had me smiling as I read your mother’s comments “maybe not quite so much in your ham salad.” I definitely could hear my grandmother saying that to my mom–trying to nicely drop a hint.

  5. Leigh Anne says:

    I hate to tell this story but…you when you get sick on a food it becomes very difficult to eat again? I don’t eat hamsalad. 😦

  6. How I love these posts about the ordinary. You made the conversation about a sandwich extraordinary. The only time I have had ham salad lately is during a party where they offer a variety of finger rolls. You ham salad with the crunch sounds good.

  7. I actually love all those meat salads! I love tuna, chicken, ham, anything salad! I especially love it when someone else makes it, and I think it’s sweet you bring your mom food. It’s interesting, though, that everyone likes their salads a certain way – the way they’ve been brought up, or a specific regional recipe, etc. I say if you make it and I don’t have to, I’ll love it! 😉

  8. We had ‘all’ those meat salads, & I don’t care for them anymore, less & less meat in my diet, but when we did, we had all those ingredients, Elsie. Maybe your mother doesn’t like the pickle taste? I do still like pimento cheese, but don’t make it anymore. The only thing I use the old grinder for is cranberry relish. (It’s nearing dinner, you’ve made me hungry!!)

  9. After I read your first question I got confused. I was thinking what does she mean a meat salad and my confusion continued as I read about sandwiches. I was thinking salad salads. By the end I figured out what you meant. Maybe I have been hanging out in First grade too long I am starting to think like them. 🙂 It was an interesting lesson for me in comprehension.

  10. My mother, Maxine, was not much of a cook, but I do remember the meat grinder and grinding different meats for her. She would mix whatever meat with what sounds like you do now. As a kid, I really did not care for her salads…but I was a picky eater. Now, I will make chicken salad using cream cheese and a bit of mayo, dill and sweet pickles…sometimes I will put in a boiled egg. I have not made ham salad in ages.

  11. I don’t like wet bread, so I never opt for any kind of “salad sandwich”. However, as a kid, I remember that one of my favorite jobs was getting out the hand crank meat grinder and running slices of bologna and pickles through it. My mother would then spread this on bread for sandwiches that I did not eat. I have recollection that this was considered party food.

  12. Me, I would just go with ham slices, lettuce, tomato, and cheese. I am not and never was a ham salad, or any other king of salad, person. Dare I say it, I do not like mayonnaise or Miracle Whip…the exception might be in a chocolate cake.

  13. Tam says:

    Out of the mouths of older babes!–too much in the ham. Nice you bring Mom food. This would be a good idea to do with grandkids. Here is the chopped ham, what do you want in it?–just like making pizza.

  14. Phillip Van says:

    As a kid I was shocked to hear PAult v.s. tell Frank he had had ham sandwiches and San Miguel beer for break fast in the Philippines.

  15. Hmmm. Ham salad. I haven’t had that in forever. My mom used to purchase our ham salad from the deli at our local grocery store. I really never think to grind or cut meat down after our dinners to make these different salads. I think you found the perfect solution for your mom.


  16. I had the same sandwich education you did (including thinking that miracle whip was mayonnaise) so I have no idea what makes ham salad. Yours sounds good to me!

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