I served this delicious sandwich at an 1864-style baseball game where I was charged with providing a few period-appropriate concessions. I was inspired to create this flavor combo after stumbling across this recipe (albeit from 1884) from Mrs. Lincoln’s Boston Cook Book for Apple Johnny Cake:
Apples stirred in to cornbread? Awesome! Why had I never heard of this before?
I initially made the cornbread according to the historic recipe; it was very dry, grainy, and crumbly. Not pleasant. I prefer a cakier, modern cornbread. So I retronovated: I grabbed my favorite contemporary cornbread recipe (Mark Bittman’s) and folded in about a cup of chopped apples at the end.
Cornbread and ham were common foods served at fairs and political rallies in the 19th century, so it only made sense to pair my apple cornbread with a thick slice of ham. At the baseball game, I toasted the cornbread on a griddle and heated a slice of ham alongside. The cornbread got a healthy smear of fresh, handmade, sooo-yellow butter I got at Saxelby’s Cheese in the Essex Street Market. Seriously, one forgets how yellow fresh butter is.
Anyway: cornbread, butter, and hot ham on top. It was a damn good sandwich.