June 7, 2021

Samuel Love

  • Share this story
  • Share More Than Just a Ham Sandwichon Twitter
  • Share More Than Just a Ham Sandwichon Instagram

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.

Please login to view this article

Subscribe to The Midwesterner

Subscribe for access to our stories about food and agriculture in the American Midwest, published on Mondays and Fridays at 8 a.m.

Midwesterner has been a wonderful addition to my weekly reading! As a lover of history and cooking both, I appreciate the way it’s brought so many little-known stories about Midwestern food out to where the rest of the world can appreciate the diversity and deliciousness of our region.”

—Ari Weinzweig, co-owner and founding partner, Zingerman’s Community of Businesses, Ann Arbor, Michigan

  • Monthly Subscription

    $3/month

    Get four weeks of satisfying stories from heartland woods, fields, kitchens, and dining rooms for less than you'd pay for a loose meat.
  • Annual subscription

    $20/year

    Get twelve months of virtual road trips in your inbox for less than you'd pay for a tank of gas. Book the full year now and save more than 40%.
  • Founding subscription

    $200 (one-time)

    Help us do this right! This'll get you a subscription for life. We'll also send you a hat, a t-shirt, and a couple of stickers.