28 January 2013

FEC Pink Cardboard

I do enjoy a slice of ham. In a sandwich; in a wrap. On a plate with mustard or chutney. Sometimes I even buy a whole chunk of it when it's on sale.

Recently having been demoted from Turkey Cook for the Inmates' Christmas do, I willingly cooked the Christmas Ham which, let's face it, is somewhat effaced on the table by the Christmas Turkey. The way it all fell out eventually: our committee Head insisted the ham must be from the farmers' market, opining that supermarket hams are pink cardboard ... some ranting on that note ... we want real ham. No problem, I'm all for farm-source products! Ham was ordered in the brisk Saturday market melee, arrived on the specified date, ("just took 'er out of the smoker this morning"), and duly admired. The huge brown smoky *leaking* mass of it.

Our committee Head aka Mr. OCD aka Mr. Control Freak, prone to abrupt blasts of withering sarcasm, also insisted on many details regarding receipts and finances that would bore you to death. That is the way of our democratic, constitutional committee. I like to think of myself as the still turning point in the Revolving Crises of the Inmates' Committee here at the Fading Entertainers' Centre (just say FEC).

Carving any large piece of featured meat is always an issue when the Committee holds such a communal dinner. Volunteer carving experts are unknown. Manual v. electric knives initiates a lot of useless drama. These people lack my rural experience wrestling suckling pigs, to speak of fresh meat, into the oven. To avoid the babble, I flail away in my home kitchen hacking off appalling pounds of distressing fat.

The lovely ham ... so fragrant and succulent ... was conveyed to the Christmas table. Thereupon it swiftly turned into pink leather upon cooling. Cooling happens immediately at a pot luck/buffet dinner, right? No chafing dishes. Aversion to dry, curled-up pieces of nature's own product was noticeable. No-one would be surprised, as well, that the excitement of preparation made me totally forget the fabulous pineapple sauce I created.

It was a good idea, afterwards, facing the small mountain of leftover ham, to make large-ish foil packages for everyone to take home. And for their neighbours who didn't attend. The local Street People were not in evidence when needed.

Also. I am still cleaning indelibly-fused ham FAT out of my poor unsuspecting oven. Not to mention ham leakage in my fridge. My ambivalence wafts between farmers' market and supermarket ... 

© Brenda Dougall Merriman

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