Sunday, November 10, 2013

From the Luncheonette Counter -- Ham Salad

Soda Shop Salad Special with lots of crunch to balance the rich ham

Soda Fountains livened up Main Streets all over the country during Prohibition. No longer could businessmen go to the corner saloon at midday and enjoy their "free lunch" with a nickel beer. Now the fountain luncheonette became a cultural crossroads. Mothers and their children stopped for hotdogs and ice cream. Secretaries indulged in ice cream sodas with their salads. Gentlemen enjoyed roast beef sandwiches with their coffee. 

This Prohibition-Era Ham Salad is more vegetable than meat, making it a lighter version of a lunch or snack favorite. This balance of ingredients harkens back into the 19th century when chicken and other meat or fish salads had a similar ratio or cabbage and celery to the titled ingredient. Then, the use of ingredients was driven probably more by economics than calories, but today this lowered calorie version hits the spot.

Prohibition Ham Salad

1 cup finely chopped cabbage
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup diced celery
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 cup diced ham plus an additional cup for garnish at serving
lettuce leaf for serving

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the cabbage, onion, celery, and mayonnaise. Stir well and let stand 10 minutes. Stir again and add the 1 cup ham. Chill a half hour before serving. Serve with crackers or place a lettuce leaf on a plate, mound 1/2 cup of ham salad in the center and garnish with additional diced ham.

Makes 6 servings 1/2 cup each.

Copyright 2013 Rae Katherine Eighmey from Soda Shop Salvation: Recipes and Stories from the Sweeter Side of Prohibition. Published by the Minnesota Historical Society Press.

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