In honor of the approach of Christmas festivities and such like that I offer this recipe which I "inherited" from a friend's grandmother down in Southside Virginia. Over the years I have tinkered with it a bit here and there and would welcome suggestions. I won't necessarily take them, but I WILL welcome them.
The culinary influence of the South seems to be growing. "Miz Paula's" show on the cooking channel is an example, but sometimes people don't know where the dishes come from.
I once had a friend (Northern) express surprise when informed that "Biscuits and Gravy" are not a new thing developed in LA. Oh, well.
Remember: After it is all cooked, including baking, put it in the refrigerator over night. It is ALWAYS served cold. SLICE IT THIN!!!!"A country ham can be hung up in your basement indefinitely before it is re-hydrated. Pay no attention to any signs of mold, etc. To cook a dry-cured country ham from Madison County in God's own Commonwealth, you first take it out of the net bag, then soak it in a big cauldron in which the ham will be covered with cold water. You soak it for anything from 10 to 18 hours, depending on how much salt you want to get out of it. I would recommend about 15 or 16 hours, changing the water 2 or 3 times. Throw the water away, fill with new water to cover the ham. In the water put a medium sized quartered onion studded with six or eight cloves, a dozen black pepper corns, half a dozen Allspice berries, a bay leaf, a quartered apple, and some cider. I would put in a cup of Bourbon whiskey, but maybe you won't. Incidentally, the alcohol will all cook away, so all that will be left is the taste. Bring the water to a boil, and then reduce the heat so that the ham simmers in all this wonderful stuff. Simmer 20 minutes a pound plus another twenty minutes to be sure. Take it out of the pot and let cool until "just warm." Skin it with something like a really sharp "boning" knife. Work the blade parallel to the surface of the ham to take off the skin and then the thick layer of fat underneath. Take the fat off in thinnish layers. You will be surprised at how much fat there is. Be careful you don't get into the meat underneath. The fat is translucent. The meat is, well, not translucent. Once you get all the fat off, score the ham lightly and stud with cloves. Coat this marvelous object with a glaze. We use one made of real maple syrup, brown sugar, dry mustard, and a cup of Bourbon whiskey. Remember. The alcohol will be gone after cooking. Put the ham in a preheated 350 degree oven for an hour. Let it cool completely and you are ready to carve. The ham has two flat sides and two curved sides. Using a very sharp ham slicer with a long, narrow blade, slice some very thin slices off the less curved of the two curved sides to make it flat. Then stand the ham on that side and start carving off the more curved side. Start down near the hock by making a vertical cut to the bone, then slice paper thin slices, working your way toward the big end of the ham and gradually inclining the knife so that after a while you are cutting long, very thin slices that are six or eight inches long. This ham will keep in the refrigerator two or three months, wrapped in aluminum, and is an endless source of sandwiches (turkey and country ham is one great possibility), snacks, etc. Make sure you slice it as near to paper thin as you can manage. Otherwise, the full flavor of the ham will overwhelm you."