Saturday, November 21, 2009

I Have Given Myself Over to the Pork Side, Episode II - Ham

My last post detailed how the Pork Side began to seduce me over this past summer. Although I felt an intuitive sense of resistance - at the risk of mixing pop culture metaphors - resistance was futile. Hooked on the meat and the fat I was. The bacon and sausage from our Berkshire Hog were sublime. But then, I had always liked bacon, and in recent years, I had learned to like quality sausage. With a half hog in the freezer, however, there would be one more test before my journey to the Pork Side would be complete.

I have never particularly liked ham. I have tasted it in various permutations, and though I won't reject a thinly sliced bit of artisanal ham, the thought of sitting down to a hunk of it for  breakfast, lunch or dinner has never appealed to me. So, when I recently asked Bob, "what's for dinner" and he said "ham" - my heart sank. Of course, our half hog had yielded ham - I just hadn't realized until that moment that I'd be expected to eat it!

I spent eight hours in a hideous Continuing Legal Education Seminar (on Business Succession Planning) on November 12. Arriving home exhausted, I caught a whiff of dinner from the garage - it smelled great. Not just great - it smelled like bacon. No, not exactly like bacon - kinda like bacon on steroids. Could this be ham? Would this be my final step on the path to the Pork Side?

Even though it smelled heavenly - I still felt a little tentative. I had never liked ham - sure this smelled good, but would this really taste different?

Oh yes! The butcher, Keller's Meats, had smoked the ham (they had also smoked our bacon and made our sausage, which you saw in my previous post), and the smoky, sweet, savory smell filled the house. And Bob hadn't done a thing to it - so salt or pepper, no grease rub - just roasted it in the oven. The first thing I tasted was the skin - cooked to crispy perfection with an amazing layer of glistening fat under it:

In fact, once I started to nibble the skin - I could not stop. I mean - I really could not stop. Both the crispy top and the creamy bottom of it - I could not stop.

By this time, Bob had sliced up some of the flesh, and dished out our sides (potatoes, butter, parsely and roasted Turban squash).

While the ham slices could not match the unctuousness of the skin - it was not until I had tasted the  succulent, smoky flesh that I knew for sure - I had, of my own free will, given myself completely over to the Pork Side. The flavor was like nothing I'd ever tasted, and the meat melted in my mouth. Don't grieve for me, Obi-Wan - it's a far, far better thing I do than I have ever done! (Drat those mixed metaphors - forgive me Ronald Coleman and Charles Dickens!) I gotta admit - I had fun playing with this Breychak ham!

1 comment:

  1. Looks just like you described verbally.....well done Bob.