This article is a part of "The Amish Cook Column", a weekly series of featuring a story & recipe from Gloria Yoder, Amish widow & mother of six from Flat Rock, Illinois
Mom, we're playing restaurant!" Hosanna's hazel eyes beamed.
We were at our friends, the Zehr's, house for an evening around the campfire, singing, food, and fellowship. I felt myself relaxing another notch as I soaked it all in.
Hosanna was enthralled with her friend's playhouse. It had a mini kitchen set she's always dreamed about, a small bed, and even a window perfect for a drive-through at their restaurant.
When I stopped to check on her, she clutched her play money, ready to buy a treat.
Memories flooded back to when my brothers and I set up a small square card table and draped blankets over it, leaving only a tiny opening on one side where we'd hand out the food in our make-shift restaurant. Usually, we'd use imaginary food. I recall once when the boys and I set up our restaurant and headed for our nook with two five-quart pitchers of water to serve to our customers. Mom smiled. She knew three or four children would never consume that amount of water.
My favorite times were when I had to prepare and serve the 'food.' I would post an enormous homemade sign on the blanket next to the opening where I printed the words "Gloria's Goodies."
My dream was to have someday an actual restaurant called Gloria's Goodies. I gave up that idea a long time ago; I'm a mom, and no, I won't trade it for the most charming restaurant in the world.
Instead, I enjoy the pleasure of watching my children play restaurant. Hosanna discovered it works well for her to be inside the living room window and serve 'food' to her younger brothers on the porch.
Julia has a creative slant to whatever she does; last week, when the children had a restaurant, she showed Hosanna how to make a 'pizza' by using leaves, bits of fruit, or whatever she gets her hands on. They love when it's snack time, and they can use real food, or best of all, when Mom joins in, using smarties or other small treats to pay.
We miss not having Daddy to join in on these family times, yet we have a Father in heaven who sees it all and even has a record of all difficulties his dear children face on earth. One day it will all be restored. No doubt, today, on Father's Day, there are many of you out there with broken hearts who are also wiping tears, then looking to God and keeping on with another day.
A special thanks to all dads continually pressing on, going beyond what they feel like doing for their families and those around them. No doubt, Daniel would never regret the days and nights he sacrificed for the sake of his little ones or the times he took his family fishing even though he hardly had time to throw in his line; his example lives on- forever.
You never know the tracks you may be leaving today.
Whether setting up a restaurant with little children in your life, going on a picnic, or even at home, these crunchy dill bites are perfect for the occasion. I was impressed when my aunt shared this basic recipe with me, and I hope you'll enjoy it as well. If you're not sold on dill pickles, try sweet.
📷 Editor's Recipe Notes & Pictures
Okay, I'll say right up front that I am not a pickle fan. I occasionally tolerate them on a burger, if they are a cold, crisp pickle that contrasts nicely with a soft juicy burger, but even then I could probably take it or leave it. But I'm game, let's give this ham & pickle roll-up a go. First, though, a little bit about the Amish and pickles.
🥒 In a Pickle With the Amish
The Amish do like pickles. In fact, they are known for their delicious and varied pickle recipes. Some of the most popular Amish pickles include dill pickles, bread and butter pickles, and spicy pickles. Amish pickles are often made with fresh, local cucumbers and are cured in a variety of brines. They can be eaten as a snack, on sandwiches, or as part of a meal.
📜 Step-By-Step Ham and Pickle Roll-Ups
First of all, this is a simple recipe, as simple as it gets. I mean, it's really not a a recipe so much as a methodology.
This is it. All you need, three ingredients: pickles, cream cheese, and ham.
I used baby dills like Gloria suggested, but you could use sweet pickles. I bought whole baby dills, drained the jar, and sliced them.
The only thing I would have done differently is zapped the cream cheese in the microwave for about 20 seconds to make it more spreadable. I kept it out at room temperature for awhile, but it still didn't spread very well.
I rolled up the ham lengthwise and the sliced into ½ inch rounds. Gloria recommended a thinly sliced ham, but when I tried spreading the cream cheese on the ham slice, the slice would sometimes tear. So I doubled up on the ham slices and I think that is a good idea anyway, it makes it a more durable finger food and makes it a easier to pick up and eat.
Okay, and here is the starting thing: I REALLY liked these. I could have eaten every one of these on the plate. For some reason, the combo of slightly salty ham, slightly sweet cream cheese, all wrapped around a crunchy dill was super pleasing on my palette. You can also add other goodies if you are so inclined: diced onions, chives, or perhaps bacon? So even if you don't like pickles, give these a chance!
FAQ Ham and Pickle Roll-Ups
Yes, you can assemble the roll-ups in advance and refrigerate them until ready to serve. Just make sure to cover them with plastic wrap to prevent them from drying out.
The roll-ups can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. After that, the texture of the ham may change, and the roll-ups may become less appetizing.
Absolutely! Feel free to experiment with different types of ham, such as honey-glazed ham or smoked ham, to add different flavors to the roll-ups. I used a brown-sugar ham for these.
Yes, you can make vegetarian roll-ups by substituting the ham with thinly sliced tofu or a vegetarian deli meat alternative. The flavor profile will be different, but the roll-ups will still be delicious.
🥒 More Amish Pickle Recipes
🖨️ Full Recipe - Ham and Pickle Roll-Ups
Ham & Pickle Roll-Ups
- 16 ounces thin deli-style ham
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 1 jar whole baby dill pickles
- chives optional
- diced onion optional
- Soften cream cheese
- drain pickles and slice into bite-sized bits
- spread cream cheese onto ham slices
- place pickle bites onto cream cheese covered ham
- add optional onions, chives, etc
- Roll length-wise and cut into bite-sized rounds