Ham delights are delicious sandwiches that originated during World War II.
They were created to combat food shortages caused by rationing.
The name “delight” comes from the fact that they contain both ham and cheese.
What Is The Main Ingredient In A Ham Delight?
The main ingredient of a ham delight is ham.
Ham is usually sliced very thin and then spread on slices of white bread or rolls.
Cheese can be added at this point if desired.
Cheese may be added either before the ham is spread on the bread or as an additional topping after it has been put on top of the bread.
Some recipes include bacon instead of ham but those tend to have more flavor than the original sandwich.
Tips when making ham delights
- When spreading the ham onto the bread, make sure you get all of the pieces into each slice.
- If using cheese, place it on top of the sandwich once it has cooled down.
With these tips in mind, let us move forward and explore what else you might find in a ham delight.
What Other Ingredients Are In A Ham Delight?
A ham delight contains two slices of white bread, one slice of Swiss cheese, and slices of cooked ham, all covered with melted American or cheddar cheese.
Some recipes also include sliced onions, lettuce, pickles, tomato, mustard, mayonnaise, and/or relish on top.
You can use any type of ham you like, but most people prefer thick-sliced smoked ham such as hickory-smoked ham, country ham, or corned beef.
The sandwich was originally served cold and then reheated when it got too warm to eat.
However, some restaurants serve them hot out of the oven.
Ham delights are usually served as an appetizer at parties or special occasions.
They are best eaten while still slightly warm so the cheese melts completely and the ham stays soft.
How Is A Ham Delight Prepared?
The recipe is very easy to follow.
You will need three things: ham, cheese, and crusty homemade or store-bought bread.
There are two ways you can prepare this sandwich—you can either make it as a casserole or on a panini press.
- Casserole method: Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius). Butter an 8×8 inch baking dish. In a medium bowl combine all the ingredients except the butter. Sprinkle some salt over the top of the mixture. Spread the butter evenly across the bottom of the dish.
- Panini method: Place the butter between slices of bread and then add layers of ham, cheese, and bread until there is no more room left inside. Put the sandwich into a preheated panini press if using one. If not, place the sandwich onto a sheet tray lined with parchment paper. Cook in the middle rack of a 350 degree F (180 C) oven for 20 minutes.
What Is The Origin Of The Ham Delight?
The first recorded use of the term “ham delight” was in an article published on March 12, 1943, in the Chicago Daily Tribune.
In this article, it says that the sandwich is made up of two slices of bread topped with one slice each of cheese and ham.
One variation adds lettuce or tomato between the layers of bread.
However, there are other variations to the basic ham delight recipe, such as adding mayonnaise, mustard, onion, pickle relish, celery salt, or even olives to the mixture.
There are also different types of meats used in them, including bacon, salami, corned beef, tongue, roast pork, and turkey.
It’s not just America where people enjoy these tasty sandwiches.
According to Wikipedia, ham delights have been popular across Europe since at least 1941.
As a result, many countries around the world call their own version of the delicacy something similar like “ham sandwich,” “sandwich de la marmotte,” and “cantonese dai mian.”
In addition to being enjoyed all over the world, some think that the ham delight originated in England.
Some believe that it started out as a way to serve soldiers stationed overseas.
Others say that it came about when American soldiers who had served abroad brought back recipes from their native country.
What Is The History Of The Ham Delight?
The first known example of this sandwich was in 1943 when it began appearing on menus across America as part of an effort to provide soldiers stationed overseas with something to eat after being issued their rations.
Ham delights quickly became so popular among American troops that some restaurants reported that they sold out every day.
By 1944, soldiers were requesting these sandwiches for lunch at home and civilians began ordering them as well.
Before long, the United States government decided to take advantage of this demand and begin producing more than 1 million pounds (450,000 kilograms) of ham delights per month.
These sandwiches were given to US military personnel, but also shipped to other countries around the world, including Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, France, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Germany.
In addition, deli owners throughout the country were asked to produce as many of these sandwiches as possible for sale to the public.
In 1946, President Harry S Truman started a program encouraging Americans to donate surplus meat to help feed hungry people.
As a result, millions of pounds of leftover ham went into making ham delights that could be sent to relief agencies all over the world.
After the Korean War broke out in 1950, the US Department of Defense began providing ham delights to American soldiers stationed there.
During the Vietnam War, the Ham Delight Association was formed to promote the consumption of ham delights and encourage manufacturers to make more of them.
By 1969, more than 100 million pounds (45,000 tonnes) of ham delights had been consumed by American troops alone.
At this point, the U.S.
Government stopped supplying ham delights to foreign militaries because they felt that supplies were getting too scarce to continue sending them abroad.
However, in 1973, the U.S.
House of Representatives passed legislation authorizing the federal government to start selling ham delights again.
After that, the number of ham delights eaten worldwide continued to increase until 1977 when the last shipment left the U.S.
Military Supply Center in Stuttgart, West Germany.
There have been several attempts to bring back the production of ham delights and even try re-creating them using modern technology.
One such attempt came in 1996 when a company named Good & Plenty attempted to recreate the famous ham delights using frozen chicken breast fillets instead of ham.
Unfortunately, the taste was not nearly as good as the original.
How Popular Is The Ham Delight?
The popularity of this sandwich varies depending on where you live in the world.
In the United States it has been around since the 1940s, but not everyone knows about it.
However, there is no doubt that many people enjoy them!
In 2014, the National Sandwich Day recognized the ham delight as one of the most popular sandwiches ever.
There was even an official stamp put out by the U.S.
Postal Service that year.
To celebrate National Sandwich Day, McDonald’s offered free hamburgers all day long.
At the same time, customers could get a Ham Delight for only $1.
Where do we eat ham delights?
There isn’t much information available online about how ham delights came into existence.
However, a few things can be determined through historical records.
For example, in 1943, the American Red Cross began selling these sandwiches at war relief centers across America.
These sandwiches were also sold in the military mess halls.
And finally, the first mention of ham delights appears to have occurred when President Roosevelt gave a speech in 1944 that mentioned them as part of his famous meatless diet plan.
These facts give us enough evidence to conclude that the ham delight was invented sometime between 1942 and 1946.
But what else do we know about it?
What Are Some Variations Of The Ham Delight?
The classic ham delight contains sliced ham, cheddar cheese, and two slices of white sandwich bread.
Some people like it served open-faced on rye or pumpernickel bread instead of white.
You can also make them in toasted buns if you prefer a bun rather than bread.
You can also add other ingredients such as chopped onion, green pepper, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, olives, etc.
Another variation includes adding bacon bits to the filling.
If you want something more decadent, try putting together your own version of this favorite snack using different types of cheeses, meats, and seasonings.
Spinach Ham Delight Recipe
This spinach ham delight recipe calls for thinly cut ham, Swiss cheese, cream cheese, mayonnaise, salt, black pepper, and watercress.
After assembling the ingredients, fold the ham into the mixture before spreading it onto four pieces of English muffin.
Bake at 350℉ for 10 minutes or until heated through.
Cheese and Bacon Ham Delight Recipe
If you love cured meat but don’t like all those fat calories, this ham delight recipe uses only half a slice of thickly sliced ham.
Topped with shredded American, Cheddar, and Colby cheeses, it has just enough bacon flavor to satisfy even the pickiest eater.
To prepare this tasty treat, start by slicing one half of an 8-inch square piece of heavy duty aluminum foil.
Lay out the bottom layer of three slices of whole wheat sandwich bread (or any type of loaf).
Top each slice with 1/4 cup of shredded sharp Cheddar, followed by 3 tablespoons of diced cooked bacon and 2 teaspoons of minced garlic.
Next, spread 1 tablespoon of creamy horseradish mustard over the top.
Spread another quarter cup of shredded Cheddar across the middle third of the bread.
Then, place the remaining slices of bread on top of the cheese.
Spread 1 teaspoon of prepared horseradish sauce evenly over the entire surface.
Finally, place the remaining quarter cup of shredded Cheddar atop the horseradish sauce and press down firmly so that the sandwich stays closed.
Place the sandwich inside the pre-cut sheet of aluminum foil and wrap tightly.
Place the packet directly under medium heat broiler for 5 minutes or until the cheese melts completely.
What Are Some Common Complaints About The Ham Delight?
If you have ever eaten one of these sandwiches, then you know it can be hard to find an ingredient that tastes good together in a sandwich.
There was so much choice back then.
People could choose between different types of meats such as chicken or turkey instead of ham.
Some people also chose not to eat meat at all during this time period because of rationing.
So, there had to be something else on those sandwiches that tasted great.
The original ham delight recipe used only one kind of cheese.
That cheese is cheddar.
However, today many recipes use other kinds of cheeses.
For example, it may include Swiss or provolone.
Another complaint people make about this type of sandwich is that it doesn’t last long once it has been opened.
When you buy them ready-made, they will usually say things like “best if served within 24 hours” or “use refrigeration after opening.” Of course, you don’t want to get rid of these sandwiches too soon! They taste best when fresh out of the oven.
One thing to remember is that even though they might look and smell great, they aren’t necessarily nutritious.
Although some varieties of delights do provide vitamins and minerals, others simply add flavor to your meal rather than providing nutrition itself.
Is The Ham Delight A Healthy Dish?
The ham delight isn’t as bad for you as other popular fast foods like burgers or pizza.
You could eat them every day if you wanted to, but it would be better for you if you didn’t.
This sandwich contains high levels of sodium in its ingredients.
Sodium (salt) is an essential mineral needed for your body to function properly, but too much salt can cause health problems including heart disease and stroke.
A typical serving size of this sandwich has over 1,000 milligrams of sodium, which puts it way above what is recommended on most nutrition labels.
A traditional ham delight only includes one slice of bread.
That means there is no binder holding everything together.
Without any added fat or protein, this may not be the best option when trying to lose weight.
If you are looking for something healthier to replace your favorite ham delight, try these recipes instead.
Roasted tomato sandwich
- 1 large tomato
- 4 slices whole grain bread
- ¼ cup roasted red pepper hummus
- ½ ounce crumbled goat cheese
- ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Slice tomatoes into ¼ inch thick rounds.
Place onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Drizzle olive oil on top of each round, then sprinkle sea salt on top.
Bake until browned, 5-7 minutes per side.
Meanwhile, spread hummus evenly across 4 slices of bread.
Mix cheese with remaining tablespoon of olive oil in small bowl.
Sprinkle mixture evenly across 2 slices of bread.
Place 1 sliced tomato on bottom half of bun.
Top with ½ ounce goat cheese, followed by another layer of hummus, then topped with remaining two slices of bread.
Chicken salad sandwich
- 8 ounces shredded chicken breast
- 1 stalk celery
- ¾ cup chopped walnuts
- ⅓ cup dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 6 slices multigrain bread
- Tomato paste
- Dried basil
In medium skillet, combine all ingredients except chicken and bread.
Cook on medium heat until liquid evaporates. Add chicken and cook until heated through.
Spread 1/3 cup of mayo on first 3 slices of bread.
Layer chicken salad on next three slices of bread.
Spread final third of mayo over last three slices of bread.
To assemble sandwich, place top piece of bread on plate, cutting corner diagonally so sandwich resembles a triangle.
Cut off triangular part of sandwich using knife or kitchen scissors, forming a pocket.
Fill pocket with chicken salad.
Repeat process with second triangle of bread and fill with more chicken salad.
How Can I Make A Ham Delight?
The ingredients in this sandwich include sliced ham, Swiss cheese, butter, mustard, salt, pepper, and bread.
- Slice up a loaf of white or wheat bread (or any other type)
- Spread some softened butter on top of each slice of bread
- Put two slices of bread together so that you have an open-faced sandwich
- Sprinkle some kosher salt over your ham slices
- Place one slice of ham on top of each piece of buttered bread
- Top each sandwich with a slice of Swiss cheese
- Drizzle some mustard on top of the cheese
- Add another slice of ham on top of each sandwich
- Season it all with fresh black pepper
What kind of bread should I use if I want to make a ham delight?
You can choose between white or whole grain breads to make your ham delight.
White bread will give more texture while whole grain bread is better for you because it has fiber.
Some people also prefer rye bread as well.
- 2 packages Pepperidge Farms Party Rolls
- 3 cups country ham
- 2 cups Swiss cheese finely grated
- 1 stick butter softened
- 3 tablespoons yellow mustard
- 1/4 cup onion finely grated
- 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- Combine the grated ham, butter, poppy seeds, mustard, onion, and Worcestershire sauce. Delete for now if not.
- By taking the rolls out of the tray and slicing them in half, you may divide them. Keep the individual rolls together. Return the tray’s bottom to it. On each side, spread the mixture.
- If using, scatter small chunks of sliced ham over the butter mixture. Put the top layer of rolls back on top after adding the shredded cheese.
- Wrap the tray tightly with foil, covering the entire surface. For about 20 minutes, bake at 350°F until the cheese melts.
- Serve heated after slicing between the buns with a sharp knife.