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Apr 13, 2009 06:16 PM

Ever have ham loaf?

I have a recipe that was written by my grandmother. It's titled Mrs. Whipple's Ham Loaf. This has been a staple in our family for generations. It's a combination of ground pork, ground ham, breadcrumbs, eggs and milk. Formed into a loaf and glazed w/ a brown sugar glaze (w/ cider vinegar, dry mustard, ground cloves & water). It's sooooo good and was always served w/ scalloped potatoes, green beans and pineapple souffle. Simple comfort food. The Italian deli, back home in PA, sells the loaves ready to bake. I've never seen ham loaf anywhere else and few folks I've met have heard of it. But those that have had it (or are from my hometown) seem to love it.

I no longer live in PA and so I have family bring me frozen loaves when they visit. I've spoke w/ a few butchers in the area and they cannot (will not) grind ham to blend w/ the pork. A NY butcher recently opened up shop here and he said he'd make the loaves if I give him the recipe.

Anyone familiar w/ ham loaf? What are it's origins... is it a PA dutch thang? How do you serve it and with what sides?

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  1. I have no idea, even thought i grew up in PHilly. BUt i will say I do love ham salad, with some sweet pickle and red pepper thrown in there.

    1 Reply
    1. re: somervilleoldtimer

      I am a fellow ham salad lover too. I also stock up on this at my PA deli "back home". Never heard of ham loaf, eh? See, to many it is a mystery. :)

    2. I remember my mother making a ham loaf. I think it had a glaze on it -- maybe pineapple? I do remember liking it as a kid.

      She is German Wisconsin. I don't know where she got her recipe -- maybe from a friend. I will ask her what's in it and where she got it.

      1. We have a cookbook that is basically a collated collection of recipes gathered by a local woman, most of which seem to be from the post-war canned goods as king era. It has recipes for tuna in gelatin, and bean and olive bake, and similarly unappetizing things. It also contains a recipe for "Upside Down Ham Cake". It's the same ingredients as you listed, plus pineapple rings. We've never tried it, nor anything else from this cookbook.

        There's also a recipe for pancakes, layered with ground beef, sour cream, asparagus, and american cheese. It's called "Fiesta Pancake Stack".

        4 Replies
        1. re: Brunhilde

          Wow! That collection of recipes sounds Horrifying! :)

          1. re: King of Northern Blvd

            I know exactly what you are talking about (I'm in Minnesota). My grandmother used to make "ham balls" with those exact same ingredients. There was a butcher/company either in MN or Iowa that came in blue and white packages called "moon's ham loaf" - and she mixed it to make meatballs that she'd broil first in the oven and then transfer to a crockpot. We had them every time we visited her. I've only known about Moon' could try googling it.

          2. re: Brunhilde

            Yea, can't say that I'd try anything in that cookbook either - ew. However, hamloaf I know is a far stretch from the "Fiesta Pancake Stack" you described.

            1. re: Brunhilde

              I would love to see that cookbook! any chance of buying it from you?

            2. i'm from iowa and we used to have ham loaf when i was a kid--ham loaf or ham balls. this was simply a way of using up leftover ham that was in pieces mom could no longer slice.

              my go-to reference for old-time recipes is james beard's <american cookery.> predictably, this wonderful source book contains recipes for both ham loaf and ham balls.

              1 Reply
              1. Bon Appetit published a ham loaf recipe in 1998. Here's a link:


                There's not much info about ham loaf and its origins on the 'net. However, it does appear that it may be a PA dutch/amish thing as many of the recipes have those words in the recipe title.

                2 Replies
                1. re: lynnlato

                  We had hamloaf growing up frequently. I grew up in PA Dutch country. I think my mom bought the ham loaf mix already prepared at the local grocery store, owned by Mennonites.

                  1. re: lynnlato

                    Gentrified ham loaf---orange marmalade and dijon mustard