Happiness Defined By A Ham - The Ramblings Of A Fledgling Cook Blog at Allrecipes.com - 214207

The Ramblings Of A Fledgling Cook

Happiness Defined By A Ham 
Dec. 29, 2010 11:55 am 
Updated: Jan. 3, 2011 1:44 pm
Hello everyone!

Haven't posted in little over a week - thought it was time to come back and pester yall a bit. This time around, my post is about something I cooked (I know, I know, about time!)

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday - all of us on this end surely did. We went to my mom's on Christmas for our traditional Christmas meal she always has for me, my sister and our families. This year, mom decided she no longer wanted to cook the Christmas meal. She's been doing it for almost 50 years and is just tired of it (and with her age, some things are getting a bit harder to do.) So she designated my sister and I to cook a few meals a piece, that way we could determine who was in charge of the dinner next year (not sure why we couldn't just do half and half every year but thats my mom for ya.) This was very exciting for the both of us, as mom has always been "the cook" of the house. I know a few of you read before that while growing up - none of us were allowed to cook in mom's kitchen. It just didn't happen, much to my dismay.

I ended up fixing the baked ham, green bean casserole & a cheese ball dip (I'd planned to cook more but my sister insisted on doing the majority at the last minute.) I got up bright and early Christmas morning, got it all going and was over there by11. The ham terrified me - it looked so dark and mom wanted to chastise me over the phone for not taking the skin off beforehand. I'd took a few tips I was given on here (keep the skin on, rub it with butter) so I was starting to second guess that.

Anyways, we arrived, got all the dishes ready and then it was time to dig in. My brother-in-law, the appointed yearly carver of both our turkeys and hams, started slicing it and the juices started running out all over the place. I mean pouring. Whenever my mom cooked the ham in the past years, its always been pretty dry. We never say anything but needless to say, the expressions everyone had were awesome to see. I couldn't help but grin. But nothing beat once they started eating, the compliments didn't stop and I was floating. I don't know exactly what I did but the ham was definitely the star of the meal (I wouldn't brag on myself like that as I'm not even a huge ham fan - but from what everyone else said, I take pride in saying that for once.)

A few hours later, mom pulled me to the side. She informed me that I would definitely be in charge next year; my sister took on so much and ended up overcooking most of it. Mom said she'd rather have me do it. That was the best Christmas present I've ever gotten from her. I know it sounds silly to most but if you grew up not being allowed to cook because your mom just KNEW you'd screw it up, then turn around and have her appoint you as the new cook for the family; I can't explain the feeling but its pretty sweet.

Sadly I didn't get to take any pics of the main meal. The 12 lb ham was gone in less than two hours - but that's ok. The memory I now have in my head is better than any picture I could have taken. And for now - that's all she wrote :)
Dried Beef Cheese Ball
Photo Detail
Dec. 29, 2010 12:13 pm
I just ate lunch and now I am hungry for ham. Congrats on the kitchen promotion.
Dec. 29, 2010 12:47 pm
You know what I like about your post? That you have obviously become a good cook and accomplished in the kitchen despite not having had cooking as a cradle language. Good on ya! I know in the culinary world, men cooks aren't all that unique but where I live, I'm something of an oddity because of my love for the kitchen. I credit it all to my Mom, who would all too happily step aside and welcome any of us kids into the kitchen to have a go, giving us as much or as little help as required or wanted. I'm fond of saying my Mom gave me the kitchen and my Dad gave me the library. Anyhow, good for you and keep cooking up the juicy stuff!
Dec. 29, 2010 1:04 pm
Thank you both :) That is awesome that your mom let you help out like that Raedwulf. I love the idea of guys in the kitchen - I'm always getting my hubby in there to help me out (and my oldest son is now becoming a fixture in mine - can't wait for his lil brother to join us.) My mom was just so set in her ways (and the fact that my hair was down to my butt didn't help.) She always thought I'd lean over the stove and catch it on fire (was that not why hair bows were invented?) But regardless, I'm just glad I got to see the day when I am welcomed in her kitchen. I am self taught (thanks to the age of the internet and many, many cookbooks) so although I'm still learning, apparently I got something right so far. You mentioned your dad gave you the library - that is another wonderful thing to have passed along. My mom DID share all her books with me (and to this day I'm still a book worm.) Dad was never home (always working) but for the time he was, I'd like to think he passed on his attitude towards life & his overall attitude, which I am very proud to carry on :D
Dec. 29, 2010 9:12 pm
Congratulations on a job well done! Get out the Bengay, you're going to need it (from patting yourself on the back). Well deserved...
Dec. 30, 2010 12:52 pm
Hi Faith, great to see you back here and as usual, loved what you had to say. I can't imagine my Mom 86'ing me from the kitchen; I had free reign growing up and it was great. But I have enough controlling tendencies to know exactly how your Mom thinks and I am afraid I might be the same way if we have a family. Hopefully not. Ahhhh... family dynamics.
Jan. 1, 2011 12:03 pm
Magnolia, LOL, I was floating but thankfully I didn't need the Bengay :D Thanks for the kind words :)
Jan. 1, 2011 12:04 pm
Nancy, I can understand why she did but I wish she hadn't. But my hubby thinks if I'd have grown up cooking, I might not enjoy it as much now (and he wouldn't get fed as well, lol) so I guess it was for the best. I include my son but only when he insists. Later on, it might become more or less - we'll see :P
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Faith N

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Smoaks, South Carolina, USA
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Walterboro, South Carolina, USA

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Nov. 2008

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Baking, Grilling & BBQ, Frying, Slow Cooking, Asian, Mexican, Italian, Southern, Healthy, Dessert, Kids, Quick & Easy

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About Me
Hello! I'm Faith, a 27 year old work from home mom to two sons (8 & 5.) I'm married to my best friend, Michael. We've been together for 10 years now. I'm not sure how he's dealt with me this long! I mainly cook for my family and a few close friends. I love them all for being my willing guinea pigs. I'm not the best by any means but I love to try anything new.
My favorite things to cook
Most of the stuff I cook could be considered comfort food. Not the healthiest method of cooking but if I can substitute something with a healthier alternative I'll do so. Growing up my family's weekly menu was pretty small. Venison, chicken, hamburger, veggies - anything my parents could hunt, grow or make. Growing up on a farm definitely had its ups & downs. A variety of food was not in the "up" category. I always wanted to try something new but their income said otherwise. We couldn't afford to try something we didn't like and didn't finish. Now that I can enjoy both homegrown and purchased ingredients, I am willing to try anything new that sounds good to my family and I.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Two sweet potato pies and a turkey are mandatory at Thanksgiving while white chocolate fudge and a ham is a must during Christmastime.
My cooking triumphs
Barbecue pulled pork, venison meatloaf & homemade butter biscuits.
My cooking tragedies
I will never forget the absolute worst thing I have ever cooked, a Manicotti dish. It was right after we got our own place back in 2005 and I was going to be brave and try something that wasn't Hamburger Helper or grilled cheese sandwiches. It had too much basil, the noodles didn't finish all the way and the sauce blackened at the end. We tried to choke it down but ended up getting takeout. Since then, I think my skills have vastly improved!
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