It came! The first “coatless” day of spring. (Thank goodness.) My husband, Marc, who refers to our winter parkas as “space suits,” is not only cheered by the return of warmth, he’s downright nostalgic.
I first met (and fell for) Marc here in New York City, but we didn’t grow up here. Our childhoods were spent (much like our amateur sleuth Clare Cosi) in small towns outside of Pittsburgh, PA, which gave us a common denominator of memories, including the culinary kind.
Some of you may recall my past posts about recreating the Ohio Valley's Eat'n Park Fresh-Glazed Strawberry Pie or “Pittsburgh-style” Chipped Ham Sandwich... (Check out the comments on the Chipped Ham post and you’ll see a discussion that includes a bit of Pittsburghese.)
|My copycat Eat'n Park Strawberry Pie|
For the recipe click here.
“school picnic” ritual looked like in this
adorable, landmark amusement park, watch
the “Pittsburgh Dad” comedy video below,
which was filmed on location at Kennywood…
in the center of the image below...
When we were young, we couldn’t wait to stuff ourselves with cotton candy, chocolate dipped ice cream cones, and bright red candy apples. Our parents, however, weren’t about to watch us turn green from riding roller coasters all day with a system full of nothing but sugar.
Their answer was the “picnic” part of the school picnic. They brought big coolers full of homemade food, and Kennywood provided beautiful shaded groves with old-fashioned wooden picnic tables for families to enjoy their own noshes.
|Cleo and her partner in crime writing,|
her husband Marc. Together they write
The Coffeehouse Mysteries.
As for my recipe today, it’s one of the items Marc’s grandmother always made for their family’s "school picnic" basket. With Easter dinner leftovers still sitting in fridges across the country, I hope this ham salad recipe comes in handy. If you make it, I sincerely hope you will...
"School Picnic" Ham Salad
On school picnic day, the heavy steel cooler in Marc's family was packed with cold fried chicken, deviled eggs, potato salad, and (for dessert) homemade fudge. There was always another tasty treat in that cooler, ham salad and crackers for snacking. Here's our favorite recipe, based on Marc's grandmother's.
Too retro for you? No problem. Just call it "American Pâté" serve it with a glass of wine, and garnish those ham-salad topped crackers with slices of jalapeño and cured, pitted olives seasoned with Herbes de Provence. (Ooh là là!)
To download this recipe in a PDF document that you can print, save, or share, click here.
3 cups ham, fully cooked
1 hard-boiled egg, chopped
2 heaping teaspoons dill relish (you can swap in sweet)
1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 green onion, chopped (or 1 T. chopped shallots)
1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard (or yellow if you like)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
The Coffeehouse Mysteries
|To view the|
book trailer, click here.