Saturday, April 19, 2014

Easter and Ham

It's amusing to see how many of our national holidays are linked to a specific food item - Thanksgiving = turkey, for example..  Easter and ham together evolved as a result of pre-Christian thinking that eating pigs was good luck. (Not so much for the pig though.)

Thursday afternoon - well ahead of the rush we thought - we went to the Ham Supreme shop we've been going to for years.  It was gone.  Vanished without a trace.  Now what?

The only other "ham store" we could think of was Honeybaked Hams, out past the Torrance airport.  We rarely go that far east so had no idea if this would be a wild ham chase or not.   But it was still there, doling out hams as in days of yore. 

An employee sat out front behind a card table.  She was issuing numbers to the customers.  She marked ours "1X" when I told her five pounds of ham, no bone.  Foot traffic in and out of the store was brisk and this was only Thursday afternoon!  Lurid images flickered as to what it would be like on Saturday!  Crazed customers clutching 25 lb. hams for dear life or swinging them like cudgels...

The employee told us to go to any open cashier and hand over the slip of paper.  She bounced her clip-on bunny ears in good humor and gestured toward the door. 

It turns out that Honeybaked doesn't sell ham steaks or slices of meat.  You have to buy a bone-in ham.  I complained gently  that  bone-in wastes a lot of ham, but the nice young man assured me that I would get a rump cut, not a leg, and that there would be very little bone. 

He recommended taking the ham out of the refrigerator an hour or two before planning to use it; room temperature is what is sought.  If you feel you have to heat it -- and your oven is already full of other dishes, put the ham in a slow cooker for awhile. 

Honeybaked had a nice touch ... all of the female employees wore bunny ears; none of the men.  Since Honeybaked sells $450 million worth of ham (18 million pounds a year) they could spring for bunny ears for the guys, too.  Not all of them, of course.  Just to the guys that want bunny ears to go with their earrings.

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