Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Matter of Taste

Growing up in the hills of WV, six siblings and mom and dad, 9 mouths to feed was an accomplishment. Though my father owned three farms, cash was a scarce commodity. Everything that was on the table came from the fields on the farms he owned except for pinto beans, salt, sugar, cornmeal and flour. Daily meals were mostly beans and potatoes; the beans bought in huge sacks and stored for use. Weekends and usually only Sundays were meat days. Chicken freshly slaughtered and cleaned and fried, the potatoes mashed and the usual pinto beans and cornbread or biscuits were a treat. A treat because meat wasn't served daily.

In the fall a pig and a  cow was slaughtered and packed away in one of the three freezers scattered around on the property. Even with the freezers full, the meat was used sparingly but more often then just on Sundays.

Three meals a day were served. We didn't know what a sandwich was except for the occasional sandwich we would have served at the school lunches.

When I would spend the summers with my grandmother, the menu was an expanded gourmet of sliced white bread and sandwiches. Grandmother would make ham salad sandwiches and they were delicious. She would buy bologna unsliced and grind it up, add some boiled eggs, sweet relish and salad dressing.

Yesterday while at the grocery store, I noticed a chub of bologna. Not just a hunk of unsliced bologna  but a whole chub. Thinking about the ham salad from my youth, I bought it home. Today I spoke with Ms. K who also grew up eating these "ham salad" sandwiches and we both laughed when she said "I thought that was how ham salad was made", though we both knew ours was made from bologna.

I ground up the bologna in my Cuisinart food processor and added all the other ingredients. I toasted some whole grain bread and sat down to enjoy my sandwich and it was just as delicious as when I sat at that table covered in a plastic tablecloth at my grandmother's house.
It must have been a regional recipe? I surfed the web and found the link that I have posted at the beginning of this blog. There it was; a recipe for the bologna "ham" salad and some of the people that left a comment on that site called it "ham" salad too.


  1. We made the same kind of sandwiches here, but used SPAM instead of bologna. Although I have a vague memory of a friend's mother making this too. I don't know if they called it ham salad. I made some SPAM salad sandwiches just last week, as a matter of fact. Good on a hot day!

  2. I'll have to try it with Spam! Don't tell anyone, but I like Spam sandwiches....


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