Friday, January 09, 2009

ham loaf

The other day at lunch one of my co-workers casually remarked that she and a friend had bought 20 lbs of ham loaf to take back with them after the Christmas holidays. 20 lbs you might say? Forget that, what the heck is ham loaf?

Now before I get started, I must admit that although I was born in the U.S.A., my bringing up was more child-of-immigrant-family-comes-to-live-in-NYC (even though my dad was born in this country, sort of - da Bronx) than Middle America.

My family never made a green bean casserole, mac 'n' cheese, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, or any other traditional American comfort food. My mom admits that when she married my dad she didn't even really know how to boil water, so my Sicilian grandmother taught her how to cook. So the rare times we had anything "American" like meat loaf - you can be sure that it was served with spaghetti sauce! I'm not trying to be snobbish here at all. This was my experience. Like a lot of other aspects of my childhood, we marched to a different drummer than most of our friend's families, most obviously, culinarily.

So ham loaf wasn't anything on our horizon. I've never even had SPAM (although I adore the Python routine.) Dad was fond of ham steak, however, much to my brother's disgust. I tend to like salty stuff, so that didn't bother me, as it always could be accompanied by tons of applesauce. My maternal Grandmother loved ham salad, something I never had until I started visiting her in Florida at fourteen. I have to admit that sometimes I see it in the supermarket and have to get it, because it makes me think of her. I guess we are what we eat. Or we eat what we know. Or something like that.


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