Ham Boats – Mid-Century Recipe Guest Test Sunday

Posted on Dec 8 2013 - 5:04am by Erica

Hey guys! RetroRuth here, and I just wanted to introduce you to a new feature here on Mid-Century Menu! Over the last couple of months, I have become aware of two things:

1) Taking care of a baby takes up a lot of time.

2) I have more recipes in my collection than I can ever test in my lifetime.

In light of these discoveries, I have decided to round up some help. So, from now on Sunday will be a guest test post! Erica from Retro Recipe Attempts has been kind enough to volunteer to help me out with my enormous backlog of testing, and she even convinced her husband to pose for tasting photos somehow. That is dedication! So, everyone welcome Erica, and enjoy the additional tested goodies!

By Erica

RetroRuth sent this to the Retro Recipe House with my kids in mind, which is wise.

If we don’t give the kids something fun and appealing every now and then, they completely refuse to try any retro recipes.


3.0 from 1 reviews
Ham Boats
  • 4 Rolls
  • 4½ oz. can Underwood Deviled Ham
  • 2 tbsp. Mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp. Sweet Pickle Relish
  1. Fill 4 scooped-out ROLLS with 1 Family Size (4½-oz.) can UNDERWOOD DEVILED HAM mixed with 2 tbsp. MAYONNAISE, 2 tbsp. chopped SWEET PICKLE (or 2 tbsp. sandwich spread). Cut a "sail" from colored paper. Secure with toothpick "mast".


You’ll notice that a mashed potato tropical island isn’t part of the recipe. That was a completely unscripted addition to up the fun factor. (Plus, if the ham boats were totally nasty, the kids wouldn’t hate me forever.)


I love an easy recipe. Dump and mix.

I don’t really love a recipe where, when you dump something out of a can, it comes along with some weird yellow fat stuff.


You can fill pretty much any kind of roll with this: long ones, short ones, whatever you’ve got. And don’t forget the paper sails…


Buzz was totally prepared for this tasting. Boating safety is important, kids. Although I guess he can’t actually taste it with the snorkel, huh…

ahoy tasting1 tasting2


It isn’t too terrible, until the pickle sort of stabs you in the tonsils.

The Verdict: Not great. Adorable presentation overwhelmed by pickles.

Tasting notes:

The amount of pickle was totally out of proportion, and this ended up being rather soggy and sour. Overall it wasn’t terrible, though. The sails and roll-boats are just too cute. Add paper umbrellas if you want to even more thoroughly distract diners from what they’re eating.

WordPress Author Box

Erica was inspired to learn to cook by a complete lack of home economics classes in high school, and a love of old books. When using antique cookbooks to teach herself some skills, she realized a lot of the recipes were pretty strange by modern standards. All that fun testing just begged to be shared with the world. Regular recipe testing can be found here on Mid-Century Menu, on Erica's Retro Recipe Attempts blog, and also I Ate The 80's.

17 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. cbjames December 8, 2013 at 9:42 am - Reply

    On the one hand, fantastic! Ham boats! Genius!

    On the other hand, gross.

    • Erica December 9, 2013 at 9:34 pm - Reply

      Indeed, it was an interesting mixture…

  2. Eartha Kitsch December 8, 2013 at 10:08 am - Reply

    Ha! I love his commitment with the costume! Wow, deviled ham. I ate so much of that as a kid that even as a longtime vegetarian, I can still taste it in my mind. Buzz’s grimace in the last photo pretty much says what I’m thinking.

    • Erica December 9, 2013 at 9:36 pm - Reply

      He’s having a lot of fun with tasting photo poses — the snorkel here belongs to our six-year-old, but he wedged it on!

  3. Maureen December 8, 2013 at 2:26 pm - Reply

    Buzz’s expression is priceless! These are very cute-but I agree with the other commenters-yuck!

    • Erica December 9, 2013 at 10:14 pm - Reply

      I was really glad I got that face recorded for posterity!

  4. RetroRuth December 8, 2013 at 8:57 pm - Reply

    They did end up cute, didn’t they? But man, that is a lot of pickle!

    • Erica December 9, 2013 at 10:14 pm - Reply

      Adorable. Thank you for the recipe! (I think!)

  5. dkzody December 8, 2013 at 9:08 pm - Reply

    THere was a time in my life that I liked deviled ham. A little mayo is really all you need to add. Maybe a pickle slice on the sandwich. I had a deviled ham sandwich last year, though, and wondered why I ever liked the stuff. Guess our tastes change.

    • Erica December 9, 2013 at 10:12 pm - Reply

      I know there are a lot of things I used to find delicious that I now find unappealing. (And then I make something like this, and find new unappealing things…)

  6. Jennifer barnaby December 9, 2013 at 2:07 am - Reply

    Imagine serving that at your child’s birthday party? Yikes! I can only imagine the cake that goes with it!

    • Erica December 9, 2013 at 10:03 pm - Reply

      I don’t think most kid’s parties have sandwiches at all nowadays, let alone fancy boat-shaped ones! Must have been a fun time…

  7. Lassie December 9, 2013 at 11:10 am - Reply

    A little Deviled Ham goes a long way. That’s why it’s sold in such teensy cans. IMO. Now, ham and pickle salad, home made or store bought? YES please! But please, forget this retro Deviled Ham carp, no one really eats that any more.

    • Erica December 9, 2013 at 10:08 pm - Reply

      Well, certainly no one SHOULD eat it. But there are silly people like me and Buzz out there…

  8. Tracy December 9, 2013 at 2:29 pm - Reply

    I have to say, Underwood really missed an opportunity here. That sail is begging to be made out of American cheese!

    • Erica December 9, 2013 at 10:04 pm - Reply

      Darn it — the cute factor there tempts me to make them again, but ew deviled ham salad…

  9. Amorette December 10, 2013 at 1:02 pm - Reply

    I remember begging for Deviled Ham in those little cans a kid. I don’t know that I liked it that much but they were SPECIAL.

Leave A Response

Rate this recipe: