Most folks have never heard of hamloaf. It seems to be a regional thing and I grew up in Ohio. Mom was a gifted and opinionated woman. She loved her family, she was passionate about God, politics, travel and reading but not always prioritized in that manner. You notice cooking did not make the list. By the time I'm old enough to remember (as the youngest of 5 kids and Mom was over 40 when I was born), cooking was not even in the same zip code as her priority list. Cleaning? That's a whole 'nother blog post but I don't want to make Mama roll over in her grave. Hamloaf is the subject at hand. While I've never seen her recipe, I've played with others to attempt to get close to hers. Here is my latest and it's pretty close to what I remember:
2lbs ground fresh ham (not cooked...you'll probably have to go to a butcher shop to get it. All the hams at the big box chains seem to be pre-cooked or smoked)
1 sleeve round butter crackers (Ritz if you want the name brand)
12 oz tomato juice or something that resembles it
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup mayonaise
1 large squirt mustard
1 small-medium jar "designer" mustard (optional), set aside
Combine all ingredients and press into a square or rectangular pan.* Bake at 350 for approximately 60-90 minutes. Smear designer mustard on top before popping into the oven. The one I used most recently had Champaign or something like that in the name, I think. Pair with real, fresh sweet potatoes (not the processed ones that look like hocky pucks and doctored with cinnamon and brown sugar that kids might actually like!) and as many green vegetables as you can humanly find. If you ever visited my parents home, you realize the enormity of this statement. All meals were accompanied by milk, lots of milk. Beets are good, too. Mama loved beets.
*I've baked this in a 9x13 pan and it ends up dry and over done. I suggest a slightly smaller pan or even square. I like it best when the edges are almost nearly burned and the center looks "dry". Again, it's a regional thing!