It has been said that the definition of eternity was two people and a ham. Hmmm, maybe, maybe not, it probably depends on the individuals penchant for the taste and the inventiveness of the cook. It is curious too, how many times hams are the butt end of food jokes. From this cook’s viewpoint, cooking once and winding up with a lot of meals is a great idea.
France’s most famous sandwich, the Croque-Monsieur, filled with ham and placing the melted cheese on the outside, brought the grilled cheese sandwich to a new level of sophistication. An American variation is called the Monte Cristo. Here the cheese remains on the inside and the bread is soaked in beaten egg. Both of these sandwiches produced ham-fisted results. Their rather grand names may be the true source of the “ham” overacting on stage. Hamburgers, in the contrarian English manner, contain not a smidgeon of ham. Neither, by the way, does the amateur radio operator, unless perhaps he is an amateur actor as well.
There once were common breakfasts in which slabs of ham served with eggs and toast was a breakfast to getting you started and keep you going. Now perhaps, it is an indulgence on an occasion, say Father’s Day or a birthday. However, there are no rules here. A re-reading of the Dr. Seuss classic Green Eggs and Ham is reason enough.
Our lives have become so compacted and rushed that the cheery countenance of a rosy-fleshed ham leftovers are an attractive alternative to dinner from scratch. A glazed baked ham makes a great holiday meal for a crowd. A glazed baked ham represents, by comparison, a much more simple preparation than a turkey, lamb or beef roast, mostly because it has already been preserved in one way or another. Common methods of preservation include: dry-curing, wet-curing (a brining) smoking and salting. When we talk of baking a ham, it is generally to add a glaze or a flavor and to make it warm throughout. Accordingly, today’s recipe is for a Bourbon Maple Glazed Ham. The same procedure can be used for many other glazes. Pick your favorite, try it and, depending on the size of your crowd, dream of those lovely leftovers in omelets, sandwiches, soups, stuffed peppers, stuffed squashes, quiches, casseroles and pastas. This is a road that goes on forever.