Ham balls are meatballs…..made of ham. I’ve made balls of beef, turkey, lamb, seitan, lentils—how had I never thought of ham? It’s so simple and so genius. The recipe is something that seems to be straight out of a World War II rationing cookbook, and was probably overlooked for decades because of hideous vintage food photography. But as I held this recipe—from Uncle Jim on my husband's side of the family over in Iowa—in my hands, I realized that I had found treasure, a priceless heirloom that had been tucked away in a dusty corner of the attic. If I brought these balls onto Antiques Roadshow, I’d make a bazillion dollars.
They are not just a dish—oh, no no no, ham balls are an event. You get all the people in your church together, everyone makes ham balls, and then you walk around the church basement sampling all of them. This isn’t just a quirky little recipe Matt “forgot” to mention. This is an integral pillar of Iowan society! —Allison Robicelli
Allison Robicelli is a cookbook author, humorist, host of the Robicelli Argument Clinic Podcast, occasional TV personality, restauranteur (Oaxaca Taqueria & Rip's Malt Shop in NYC), wife, mother, and all around good time.