The feeling of being sated, in mind and body
April 18, 2011
Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. I love listening to music more than I love most things, and it always feels good to settle in with a kitchen full of eggs and butter and flour for baking and a reliable radio and two hours ahead of nothing but entertainment. I made sugar cookie cutouts in the shapes of chicks and eggs, whipped up a pan of taco bake for dinner, and mixed together a pan of chocolate caramel brownies for my friend Angela, who starts a new job this week.
There are a lot of things in life that bring a person stress, and a new job is right up there. I figured gooey brownies would be just the thing for Angela to return to on her first night after work, and I imagine I was right. I also figured eating a late lunch the day before at the biggest buffet in Minnesota would be a good sendoff. And it was.
And we ate. And ate and ate. This was on Sunday afternoon, and I still don't have my full appetite back. We ate sushi and rice, scallops and sweet and sour chicken, spinach and green beans and these little pastry balls filled with bean paste and rolled in sesame. We ate noodles and crab and edamame and pork on a stick. We even had a bit of rice pudding and raspberry sherbet and when we were finished we sat awhile and talked. And drank water. Glasses and glasses of water.
It feels good now and then to sit across from someone you love and eat until you tip. The conversation, the smell of fried calamari, the brightly colored lanterns hanging above you -- all add to the experience, but what is really at the heart of it is eating a meal with someone who knows who you are. There can be silences or endless chatter and it just plain feels good.
I hope Angela had a good first day at work, and that Minnesota's biggest buffet is finding success. I hope that a new job is the biggest stress she'll encounter for a while, and that the people she meets there enjoy table conversation as much as she does. And I hope every person who reads these words has a meal to look forward to -- that the rice is as sweet and the pie as filling and the green beans as tangy and crisp and the fish as salty. More than that, I wish the feeling of being sated, in mind and body, of having had one's fill of cupcakes and conversation. It's a good thing, to break bread. Better to do so together. For sure.
I've had ham for Easter for as long as I recall, and this recipe is a simple variation on other simple variations. Give it a go this weekend, with some corn casserole and some fresh rolls.
Ham for Dinner
1 country style smoked ham
2 c. water
20 - 30 whole cloves
one (16 ounce) can sliced pineapple rings
1 cup Maraschino cherries, cut into halves
1 cup brown sugar
2 T flour
sprinkling of garlic powder
sprinkling of onion powder
sprinkling of black pepper
olive oil (spray is handy)
Place ham in roaster. Add 2 cups water, and cover. Bake at 325°, about 21 minutes per pound for a large ham, about 25 minutes per pound for a smaller (up to 12 pounds) ham or half ham. If the ham has an exposed bone, cover it with foil. Spray occasionally with olive oil during the first part of the cooking. Continue roasting until a thermometer inserted in center reads about 160°.
When ham is done, remove from oven. Lift off rind. Using a sharp knife, score fat surface crosswise (into intersecting squares) and dot with cloves at each intersection.
To prepare the ham coating, combine brown sugar and flour. Rub this mixture over the scored ham. Sprinkle over lightly with garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper.
Place a pineapple slice on the ham so that one of the cloves will be in the center of the circle. Cover the clove with a Maraschino cherry half. Each cherry half should be placed in the center of a pineapple slice. Continue until ham is covered with pineapple slices and cherries. Brown, uncovered, for 20 - 25 minutes in a 400°F oven or until ham takes on a beautiful glazed coloring.
Garnish the ham plate with pineapple slices and parsley.