Friday, December 2, 2011

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories - The Virginia Ham

Continuing my posts for the GeneaBlogger's Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories, today’s writing prompt is Holiday FoodsDid your family or ancestors serve traditional dishes for the holidays?  Was there one dish that was unusual?

Our Christmas celebration has usually included the holiday ham.

We lived in Falls Church and Quantico, Virginia during our early family years.  So because Mom's family lived in Virginia, it was only natural that we would spend the holidays with them.

Thinking back on those years and prompted by "Holiday Foods," I can't help but be reminded of the distinctive salty taste of the Smithfield Ham which graced many of our holiday tables.

The Genuine Smithfield Ham
As its website states, it's "the ham that made "ham" famous."  The Smithfield Ham is aged for up to a year and dry cured with salt, lots of salt, which gives it a unique flavor unlike anything I've ever tasted.  It's a flavor that you either love or hate; I love it!

The meat is best if sliced paper thin and served on buttered rolls or biscuits to complement its smoky flavor and balance the saltiness.  It also makes great leftovers which can be fried up with eggs for breakfast.

 After our family moved to California, we received Christmas care packages from Virginia which occasionally included a ham, but more often we would receive a couple jars of Smithfield ham spread.  This was just as good to me.  The spread was one of my favorite treats.  Mixed with a little Miracle Whip, the spread would transform any cracker or finger sandwich into a culinary delight.

Nowadays, perhaps not as distinctive as the Southern Smithfield Ham, our family ham tradition continues with a spiral-cut honey glazed ham for our Christmas dinner.  But better than that, a new tradition we share is the Cinnamon-Raisin Monkey Bread served on Christmas morning!  Yum!

©2011 – Frank’s Daughter All Rights Reserved

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