22 November, 2017
Ham and Potatoes
It’s the day before Thanksgiving, and a lot of you are probably wondering why I’ve decided to make a post about ham and potatoes instead of turkey and stuffing, like pretty much every other blogger on the planet. Honestly, I don’t have a good answer for that, but I do have a kind of funny, albeit simple, one. The fiancé came home from work one day last week with his lunchbox in one hand… and an eight pound ham in the other. I greeted him and then just kind of stared at the ham. He popped off his shoes and set down his lunchbox and carried on as if nothing unusual was going on; all the while, I kept staring. “So… did you stop at the grocery store on the way home form work?” I finally asked him.
“No,” he replied, shaking his head calmly.
I took the ham from him; “then where did you get this?”
“Work.” (For context: he’s an engineer. He works on graphs and runs analyses at his computer all day).
I just kind of looked at him over the top of my glasses. “…Is there more to this story, or did you rob a coworker for a ham today?”
“No!” he declared petulantly. “The company gave out turkeys and hams to people for the holidays. We’re going to have plenty of turkey on Thanksgiving, so I picked a ham instead.”
I don’t think I’ll ever truly fully understand what goes on at his place of employment. Regardless, I now had a massive ham to feed to people.
On a more culturally-relevant note, this month is Native American History Month. This post sort of leads into the informative and delicious series of posts that will take us into the new year with personal stories, cultural histories, and LOTS of recipes! In light of this month and the native people it honors, I ask that you take some time to learn about the Native American history of your area. I grew up in an area of land called Totiakton, or “the Great Bend,” which belonged to the Seneca people, and it’s an area rich in more current Native American history, namely, the Iroquois Confederacy. Now I live in former Bannock and Shoshone area, and I’ve begun doing some research on their history and lifestyle. The local botanical gardens feature an entire section on native plant life and medicinal plants used by the Native Americans. There’s also a large section that pays tribute to Sacagawea, as she led Lewis and Clark through this area of the US (hence the town of Lewiston and its adjacent counterpart in Washington, Clarkston).
While I can’t honestly claim that ham and potatoes have much, if anything to do with Native American culture, they just happen to be what I had on hand. Idaho is known for its potatoes though, so I guess that’s something, right?
1/2 cup Honey
1 cup Brown sugar
1/2 cup Orange juice
6 large Russet potatoes
1/4 cup Olive oil
1 clove Garlic, minced
1/2 tbsp Salt
1/2 tbsp Pepper
1/2 tbsp Rosemary
1 tsp Thyme
1 tsp Sage
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and place the ham skin-side up in a ceramic baking dish. Cover the ham with tin foil or a lid and cook for 15 to 20 minutes per pound (for example, an 8.2 pound ham takes about 2 hours and 20 minutes to cook). While the ham is cooking, combine the honey, brown sugar, and orange juice to make the glaze. When you have a half hour remaining on the cooking time, score the ham by cutting a diagonal grid across the top. Spoon drippings over the ham, followed by the glaze. Return the ham to the oven to finish cooking.
Preheat a grill to 350 degrees F. While the ham is in the oven wash, scrub, and dry your potatoes. Take two chopsticks and lay one on either side of a potato as guide rails, and cut thin vertical slices into the potato, stopping once you hit the chopsticks. Repeat for all the potatoes and lay each cut potato on a piece of foil large enough to wrap around the potato. In a bowl, combine the olive oil and garlic. With a basting brush, brush the oil mixture over the potatoes and sprinkle the salt, pepper, sage, thyme, and rosemary over the top. Wrap the foil around the potatoes and place them on the grill. Cook the potatoes for 45 minutes, keeping them in the foil until you are ready to plate.