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Sunday, April 21, 2013
Mama's Ham Salad!

In the South, we tend to bake a ham for almost every holiday and occasion. Christmas, Easter and some even add a baked ham alongside that turkey on Thanksgiving for good measure, will all definitely call for a baked ham. If someone dies, graduates, has a church potluck or family reunion, somebody is baking a ham. We just love a baked ham. A big ole baked ham can feed a bunch of folks and even after they have all gone home, there will usually be some leftovers from that ham. If there isn't, you didn't buy a big enough ham. Buy a bigger one next

When I was a child and Mama was baking a ham, I knew we were getting ready for some special event or company was coming! My job was always to stick the cloves in the little squares she had scored in the top of the ham. The smell of cloves still takes me back to that little kitchen and sitting around that table with Mama and sometimes other family, while they diced celery and peeled hard boiled eggs for potato salad and deviled eggs. You know those are a given if you are baking a ham in the South!

Later on, I also knew there would be leftovers and I never minded that. As a matter of fact, I loved the leftovers. My father on the other hand, did not and would grumble for He still does according to Mama. We had ham sandwiches, ham and rolls, casseroles, ham and noodles, quiches, and on and on, but the thing I really loved was the ham salad. When my creative mother had made just about all of the things you could out of the ham and all that was left were the smaller pieces and ends of the ham, she would grind those up and make her ham salad. The best ham salad is made with the remnants of a good baked ham. That sweet glaze you bake the ham in just makes that ham salad so much better. If you need a good recipe for baking the ham first, try my "Kentucky Bourbon Brown Sugar Ham" or "Nana's Smiley Face Ham"!

Now, on to the discussion of ham salad that I would call the 'real deal'. We like the ham in ham salad ground up or at least chopped fairly fine. Big chunks of ham do not spread all that well and for me, it's just not as appetizing. However, if you like it that way, go for it. It's best to grind your ham with a food processor or a meat grinder, but don't over do it. Sometimes, food processors do too much to food. We are not making pate. You can use one of those manual food chopper things. My favorite one is the kind Pampered Chef sells. You can't chop much at a time, but it gets the consistency just right for things like this. I also chop my celery for this very fine. Here is what you will need for this ham salad:

4 cups ham, finely chopped or ground
4 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup sweet pickle relish (we grind up bread and butter pickles usually)
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. yellow mustard
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. sugar (You might need 2 tsp. if your ham was not baked in a sweet glaze)

Mix all ingredients together and serve or cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

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