Saturday, November 29, 2008

Hamming it up on Thanksgiving


Tradition at the Angus household at Thanksgiving has always revolved around one meat source - turkey. Not prime rib or lamb chops or ham. Never had much desire for an "Atkins" Thanksgiving. I need plenty of carbs in case I get goaded into a Thursday afternoon triathlon.

This year we volunteered to bring a ham to the festivities over at Jim and Natha's house. Not a big deal, really. I've cooked a ham or two in my day. It's easy. Put the ham loaf in a roasting pan, cover it in pineapple slices and cherries held in place with toothpicks and pop that porcupine lookin' thing into the oven.

The girlfriend expresses her desire to get a bone-in ham. Hmmm, a bit of a challenge but no big deal. She has an idea based on something she saw on the Food Network. Uh-oh. Little red flags popping up on the horizon. Something about the slathering of mustard and packing of brown sugar. I figure I'll be occupied making the beans or rolls so I'm like, "Sure, Honey. That sounds great."

Thursday morning rolls around and all of a sudden I'm recruited to "do the ham". Ok. I'm nothing if not flexible, right? So I take the ham out of the fridge and remove the plastic wrapping. Into the pan it goes and then I'm off to Google "mustard/brown sugar ham".

Google comes through as always and I head back up to the kitchen armed with the recipe. Very easy stuff. Liberally rub mustard all over the offending hunk of meat, then starting from the bottom pack a layer of brown sugar over the entire ham. Cook for three hours and baste every 20 minutes.

Oh, this is going to be easy.

Actually, it was. Slathered that puppy up with Dijon and packed the brown sugar around it, popped it in the oven.

Fast forward about three hours. We are late for Thanksgiving, and in addition to the ham, we're bringing some of the appetizers. OK, Cory will stay behind and finish her makeup and the ham, I'll head over with the crab dip. Everything is going to be ok.

I'm driving over to Jim's house when the cell rings with the distinctive ring tone I have set up for calls from the house: a recording of a woman screaming, "I TOLD YOU TO TAKE OUT THE GARBAGE!!". But that's a story for some other time.

I pick up and Cory says, "You are not going to believe this!" "Try me." I say, all smug in my ham-awesomeness.

Since this is a "G" rated site, I'll save the paragraph of NC-17 verbage that assaulted my delicate ears.

It's not really my fault, I don't think. I took off the plastic wrapper. How was I to know the ham was wrapped in TWO of them? I mean, I'm only human!

So there's good news and bad news here. I guess when a ham cooks in a hermetically sealed plastic wrapper it makes for a succulent and juicy hunk o' pork. The bad news is we also ended up with a perfectly seasoned, mustard rubbed hunk of plastic.

Anyway, that's how we ended up with all kinds of meat at Thanksgiving this year. There was turkey, prime rib, ham and I took a lot of ribbing and was the butt of a lot of jokes.

Next year I'm going to McDonalds.

9 comments:

Joanna said...

I'm going to have to ask the female question here: how could you *not* notice you were smearing mustard over a piece of plastic???!

ihmmb said...

Oh no! I weep for your wasted ham efforts!

Brad Shorr said...

George, The Other White Plastic ... sounds scrumptious. I believe a similar methodology was used to develop the mustard gas used in World War I.

Tumblemoose said...

@joanna; That's really a good question. It felt like ham skin when I was rubbing the mustard. It was very tightly wrapped with no visible seam. Also, when I took the first wrapper off, there was a bunch of juice in it so it never occurred to me there would be another wrapper!

And believe me, you're not the first to ask that question! ;-)

@Brad: And of course Cory had to bring the danged hunk o' mustard gas plastic to show everyone!

Robert Hruzek said...

A somewhat painful yet flavorful disaster, George. Lucky for the rest of us oven-challenged",we have you out there runnin' tackle!

And don't forget, be sure to post photos so your humiliation is complete!

DeeLangdon said...

I just love cooking mishap stories, makes me feel better, had a few of my own back in the day. Why do people kill the bird, cut off his stuff, wrap it up and shove it back up?? Is there a real answer to that?

I'm with you George, two wraps, is that really necessary?

Tumblemoose said...

@Robert: Pictures, eh? Next time I guess. I'll work my darndest to figure out some other kind of public humiliation - trust me, I got a million of 'em.

@Dee: Right on! I even went back to the store and very closely examined the hams - nowhere on the outer packaging does it have a warning label for males indicating TWO layers of plastic...

Robert Hruzek said...

@Dee - Why? Well, to make really, really sure, of course!

Flameminx said...

Quite an entertaining story! I can't say too much on the ham because I have never cooked one in my life. In fact, I just cooked my very first turkey this past Thanksgiving and it turned out to be great. I will, however, keep this in mind in case I ever have to cook a ham.