My first experience with ham balls was actually back in 1994 in New Concord, Ohio. It came in the form of a ham loaf instead of balls and was a post funeral dish that a friend of my mom brought over after my Daddy’s funeral. We all raved about the luscious ham loaf and asked for the recipe. That and a former boyfriend’s mother’s Hot Chicken Salad Casserole are the foods that I remember from that difficult time. Food has a way of reminding me of events and times.
Living in Freeport, Illinois and attending Trinity UMC was another reminder of the great dish as they had an annual Ham Ball Supper to raise funds for different projects. Oh the memories of those dinners and those amazing ham balls. Yum.
Fast forward to our time living in Mason City, Iowa and I was reintroduced to the lovely concoction as it was a staple in the area. Local grocery stores carried the ham ball mixture all ready to cook up and I frequently bought it. My North Iowa Blogger friend Val who is also a pig farmer had a wonderful recipe that we always begged her to bring to our get togethers. You can check out her recipe here.
I decided to ring in the new year with a nice pan of ham balls this year. Not traditional at all but judging from all of the comments on my pictures of them on social media folks are right on board with me on making ham balls. I took my recipe from the Trinity UMC cookbook and give credit to the best ham ball maker I knew – Mildred McCulloch. I did not alter her recipe at all so full credit goes to this pillar of the church. I suspect she might be rolling ham balls in heaven now.
Enjoy the recipe and let me know if you have a memory of having ham balls for dinner.
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