June 7, 2021

Samuel Love

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More Than Just a Ham Sandwich

What the ham bun means to members of Michigan's Christian Reformed Church

For many Dutch-American Midwesterners, the ham bun is more than simple nourishment served at Christian Reformed Church funerals and fellowship hours. It's certainly more than the sum of its parts: ham and a pat of butter on a bun, wrapped in foil, and stacked in pyramids a half-dozen sandwiches high. (Fancy versions come with cheese, or with mustard, onion, and poppy seed sauce.) It typically follows a heavy dose of Calvinist theology, delivered by the spiritual—and literal—descendants of the immigrant families who founded the Christian Reformed Church in Holland, Michigan, in 1857.

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