Canned Ham and Dill Pickle Dip


I adapted this recipe from a dip that my mom’s late friend Carol was apt to make for holiday gatherings. Carol excelled in both kindness and her flair for making simple things festive. It was no surprise that her birthday was none other than Christmas day.

My favorite Carol story does not have meal time appeal, but since almost no subject is forbidden at my dinner table, I will relate this particular anecdote. When Carol was a newlywed back in the 50’s, she found herself unexpectedly in need of feminine products near the end of her honeymoon. Her husband was a true gentleman at this moment and went forth to buy these supplies. Since he had no idea what size or brand to buy, he bought the largest box of pads he saw. This enormous box lasted past their 10th anniversary, for Carol had most of her eight children during that decade.

I’ve admired three women who had eight children each: Carol, my former secretarial co-worker Sue, and my late mother-in-law Fannie. I am impressed that each of these women retained their sanity, personality, and individual interests while raising so many children.

Carol’s original dip recipe was simple and good: mix a block of cream cheese with a drained can of smoked ham and a 1/4 cup each of chopped onion and green olives. Finish by studding the outside with more green olives.

Since I am very fond of dill pickles, I revised the recipe to feature them.

Canned Ham and Dill Pickle Dip

  • 2 oz blocks cream cheese, softened
  • 2 – 5 oz cans smoked ham, drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped refrigerated dill pickles, such as Claussen brand
  • 1 T pickle brine

Mix all ingredients in medium mixing bowl until well incorporated. Transfer to serving bowl and offer with crackers and cut vegetables.

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