1928 - Alderson High School - 1968


It's Not Too Late To Save The Ham
Pearl & John McCurdy Christmas Ham Recipe

John McCurdy - December  20, 2011

Ah, so! Scrub that sucker with a stiff brush and get most of the crud, mold and assorted mouse droppings off. Then go to the basement and get the meat saw, surely you have a meat saw! It should be about 70 years old with the patina only age and a certain amount of salt and other chemicals can produce, it was once sharp. Cut about 5-7 inches from the small end of the ham, so the lid on the stockpot will go back on. (there is the germ of another story there), Cover with water, (contrary to some notions, the water does not need to dipped from a spring in the hills of WV or VA, nor does it have to be Holy Water, although those things may marginally improve the texture and allow the slices to be thinner,) That always being good when one's brother-in-law is at the table, the stock pop should also contain several medium sized potatoes and carrots to absorb the excess salt of the ham!

Turn the heat up to get the water hot, (if using a wood stove, as one is really supposed to do, just open the dampers a smidgin)! Allow the ham to simmer 5-7 hours depending on the size of the ham. Allow the ham to cool enough to handle and remove the skin at least 1/4 to 1/2 of fat to remain.

Now comes the art, with a sharp knife score the fat not quite to the lean in a diamond pattern. Put a stick clove in each intersection. Stick a few maraschino cherries and pineapples here and there, sprinkle brown sugar and bake at 350 for about 4 hours. Now comes the good part!

Use the sharpest knife you got. Cut down to the bone near the small end several slices and then try to remove them, (the slices), as neatly as possible, from here you're home free for a while, cut the slices as thin as possible, (you can serve folks more than one slice), even the brother in law!

Note: There as some clumsy folks who in their eagerness to get at the ham just slice them longitudinally, brothers in law do such things, crass!

Addendum 2001


Christmas Ham

We drove up on Muddy Creek Mountain an hour or so ago to check on a friend. FOGGY really foggy, but the friend was okay. Came home and Pearl decided it was time for us to start the Ham. I had it hanging in the downstairs (Basement to some, but since its nearly all above ground, I prefer downstairs), a second trip to get the stock Pot and the saw. After scrubbing all the grit and grime off, time to cut the shank off so it would fit in the stock pot. The 2 or 3 year old, shiny stainless 24 inch meat saw was given to us a few years by our youngest, I seem to recall he had borrowed the old one to use in cutting up a deer ago and couldn't find it at Xmas when we needed it. He just bought a new one as impulsive kids do, then he found our old one and brought it here for us to store like everything else he doesn't want to fool with.

The new saw would not cut the bone on the shank of the Country ham, even with both of us holding the ham on the counter, too sharp and the teeth grabbed. I finally, in exasperation, got Pearls lifting contraption and managed to get the old saw from the nail in the stairway from which I had hung it, expecting it to remain there for eternity alongside the Coffee grinders and Butter molds. At least it cut when I finally got it.

Pearl had decide to fill the stock pot in the sink, completely forgetting anything about Archimedes and displacement. Thankfully I stopped her before the pot was full to the brim, the mess on the floor wasn't too hard to sop up. So now the Ham and the two potatoes and the carrots are merrily simmering away on the stove. Unfortunately I had already thrown away the label that gave the weight, so we had to guess!

Just another day in Paradise!


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