The Other White Meat and Other White Meats
For good or evil, every barnyard animal has a reputation. If cows, especially bulls, are tough even masculine and chickens are cowardly or flighty, then pigs have an even more entrenched stereotype. One that the pro-hog lobby has not been able to dispel in spite all its public service announcements and donations to key congressmen. You see, pigs have a reputation for gluttony.
Of all the vices to have ascribed, perhaps the most unsavory is piggishness. Besides having made the top seven of the famous deadly sins, it is also considered to be bad form, even unfashionable, to be a hog. This makes the swine the pariah of modern society. Because to be unfashionable is worse, perhaps, than being labeled a thief or an ax-murderer.
Unfortunately for the pig, its barnyard stereotype is basically true. Indeed, Gertrude Stein's famous statement about roses would have had more meaning had it been made about pigs. A pig is a pig. No doubt about it. However, when we sit down to the table with a chop or a ham slice the personality of the pig matters not. For by the mysterious magic of the culinary arts this creature is transformed into a delectable food known as pork. As with chicken, one need not be afraid that the character of the creature being consumed will somehow find its way into the psyche of the consumer.
Besides having acquired a reputation for sloth and gluttony, the poor pig is further stuck with being a ham. I believe a ham is someone who imposes his absurd sense of humor on the mass of humanity around him. I can comprehend most of the barnyard stereotypes, but this one is beyond my understanding as I have never seen a pig ham it up - so to speak.
In any case, ham is one of those meats, like sausage that have been cured, or smoked. For this reason it can sit in the refrigerator for an age, though not infinitely, and still be good.
You can also buy imitation hams. I even recommend them. As far as I am concerned a turkey ham, if it has enough fat, is as good as ham made in the traditional manner.
Perhaps the best thing about ham is that the curing process has killed all of the germs and has, in essence, slow cooked the meat. This means that ham does not have to be cooked before it is consumed. You can expedite a slice directly from the ham-bone to the deep pit of your stomach, pausing along the way only to tingle a few taste buds.
Ham has a nice smoked flavor which adds much to any dish. Try it in a salad or in an omelet, fried straight up, or try out my creamed ham and noodle recipe.
Chicken and Dumplings Recipe | Creamed Noodles and Ham