Resurrecting a Favorite

My daughter saw this post and prepared the Easter ham dinner for modern times. 
This time of year everything is being resurrected here on  the farm. The grass. The trees. The lilies.  My red tulips, finally   brave enough to bloom, and best of all,  the  lilac in full bloom.   I love the fragrance of the lilacs, don’t you? It’s Easter. 
 Besides remembering   the colorful baby chicks we got free from the bank in Sardinia many years ago, or remembering the fire when brother burned the pony building down on Easter eve and Daddy finding out on Easter morning, oh my, or remembering the excitement of coloring boiled Easter eggs with my sister and then my own children, another memory surfaced just this week about a ham dinner for the traditional meal.
At all gatherings we had deviled-eggs. I loved this plate made especially for them.  Mom still makes the best deviled-eggs. But why on earth did they get that name? Deviled? 

Back in the day, my mother-in-law, God rest her soul, made a delicious ham for many occasions—Easter and Christmas or at other times just because she wanted to have us for dinner.  With the ham she would make homemade macaroni and cheese, a big bowl of mashed potatoes that had a whole stick of butter in it, and I hoped, always, she included the half-dollar size lima beans from last years garden. I never liked lima beans until I ate hers—tender and prepared with lots of butter, LOL.  Always on holidays she made her famous Refrigerator Rolls found on page 117 of my new book.   And can you believe I have resurrected the memory of that meal just this week, decades later?

To make her ham—originally, Gerry never bought it sliced. (I don’t think spiral hams even existed in the seventies, did they?)  Why would she? She had an electric knife to cut it with. Ha! Didn’t we all? I sure did. Mom did. Who didn’t? It was the “in kitchen gadget” of the times.   It was exciting to hear the buzz of the knife at work as the meal went to the table. Others, upon hearing the buzz noise from the kitchen, suddenly appeared   in the kitchen. Waiting for her to say  “Its ready!”  
My mother-in-law always rolled them out and made crescent rolls. But for quick and easy try it like this. Her Refrigerator Roll Recipe is found on page 117 of my book. Didn’t know about the book? Check it out on my website.  

The preparation for her ham went mostly like this, best I can remember!    First, after placing it in the roasting pan, she scored the top of the ham with a diamond pattern—in order to allow the toppings to penetrate. Next, she rubbed it with brown sugar. How much? I have no clue. “Jut cover it nicely,” she’d say. Next, she strategically placed whole cloves in the ham’s diamond pattern. “Not too many. About like this,” she would point.  I wished I had paid closer attention to just how many was not too many or just enough. Lol!  Then she placed pineapple rings on top. Maybe she used toothpicks to hold them on, or perhaps the clove could do the trick. I should have paid closer attention.   In the center of each pineapple ring she placed a red maraschino cherry.  And then she put her bone in, unsliced ham in the oven for a good hour or more. And that was that. I think maybe, she “glazed it” with the drippings from the bottom of the pan to make it juicy like she did when cooking a roast beef. I wished I’d paid closer attention. 

Today, I am remembering her and the ham dinners  we shared together around the oak farmhouse table with a grandchild’s highchair pulled up beside it. Now, that table and chairs resides in my dining room—prompting memories such as these, and often a high chair is still pulled up to it—the great grandchildren she never knew. 

On this holiday it seems a good idea to resurrect a traditional ham dinner does it not? At least for my family it does. And the mere mention of the “bone in ham” conjured up memories of brown beans and cornbread making use of the ham bone.  

After the Easter ham, came the brown beans and cornbread. 

 So Here’s the Thing: What I realized with this remembrance is being in the kitchen preparing a meal together is a treasure we lay up for ourselves to be resurrected and cherished in future years.   

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