I might give meat a hiatus.

Generally speaking I’m a pretty unadventurous eater.  This is in part because spicy foods give me indigestion.  Also, I don’t seem to get as much pleasure from eating as a lot of folks do.  Perhaps this is due to my sense of smell being a bit atrophied from years of assault with disinfectants and nasty animal odors.  I would rather have good food than bad food, but eating is not entertainment for me. I’m pretty much just "eat and pay and get out".  Except for too many sweets, I’m generally a fairly healthy eater, mostly because that’s just what I happen to like.  There’s no virtue in my asceticism, since there’s no temptation.  I don’t really avoid any foods because of obscure moral scruples.  I eat what I like, or if on a Scout outing, I eat whatever we’re having, even if it’s a hot dog [I never eat hot dogs under any other circumstances.  What’s in them doesn’t bother me; I just don’t like the way they taste.]

Last night while working on a little project, I had the television on and watched "Supersize Me".  That in itself would make the average person at least consider fasting for a week. Then tonight I had to do battle with a 20-pound ham.

My friend, Tony Smee, gave me the ham for Christmas.  Since Mr. Smee is Captain Hook’s pirate sidekick, you’d think he’d have given me a peg-leg instead of a pig-leg, but no. Ham: it’s the other pink meat. The ham was hickory smoked, sugar cured and fully cooked, so naturally Tony tells me how to cook it (it’s second cooking — sort of the ham version of being born again). Even if he is a pirate, Tony is one heck of a good cook and knows whereof he speaks.

After cooking the ham in apple cider for six hours, our home smelled pleasantly of simmering fruit, smoke and pork…sort of like a bacon and apple sandwich cooked over an open fire.  We’ll have to try that on the next camp-out.

In Ms. Rombauer’s "Joy of Cooking" she defines eternity as "two people and a ham".  Entirely aside from when and how all that meat will be consumed, there was the more immediate problem of how to store it.  First the meat must be separated from the bones: tibia, patella, femur and a pretty good chunk of pelvis.  I’d say it took me about an hour to slice it all off (while preserving my fingers).  I have an enormous new appreciation for the canned, boneless ham.  Pre-sliced, pressed, chopped ham in a lunch-meat package has gained a new prestige, as well.

While this ham is indeed delicious, I think it’s going to take a week of cereal and salads before I can confront it again.  Bon appetit.

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