Friday, December 7, 2007

Phile under Anglo


Dear Readers:

Yes, this post is about ham. No, I have not been nipping at the holiday punch bowl. Forever pressing the boundaries of what constitutes "style," I have deemed that a ham indigenous to the northeast of England is rakish enough to be included under the generally accepted definition of the word.

I realize this is a first for a fashion blog.

This is not just any ham. Woe to the person who confuses it with an uppity American ham, no matter how long said American ham has hung in the rafters of your grandmother's Ozark barn. It is also not a sugar-sweet Yunnan ham. The York is a ham with a long and colorful history that may include being smoked over timber scraps from York Minster. This is one very ancient regional speciality. It has a mild, salty flavour developed from a three-month maturation process.

History of a York ham: The York ham is taken from the Large White pig. This prosaic description is not mine. There really is a pig called the Large White. We did not invent Large White pigs in America. Let someone else take credit once in a while. The Large White pig was first recognised as a breed in the mid-nineteenth century. It is also know as a Yorkshire pig. In England, a pig is a pig is a pig, unlike in America, where a younger swine is a pig and an older pig is a hog. In America, "swine" is not a term of affection.

The York ham is a dry-cured, farmhouse ham. I can tell you that the hams of Britain are exceptional and well worth savoring, as is most of the British cuisine. In fact, this anglophile finds it superior to our own. The entire time I lived in England I only had one bad meal, and that was at a Burger King.

Any English ham may now be called a York ham, as long as it adheres to the York method of curing by salt, saltpeter, and sugar rub. Since I do not wish to bother Fortnum & Mason with a pedantic question about authenticity, I will direct you to...

Other delightful British things: the blog of fashion editor Liberty London Girl, a must-read. She's sassy, sexy, and knows her way around a stalk of asparagus. Liberty Girl has just had her birthday, so please have a butcher's and offer your felicitations.

Fortnum & Mason York Ham, £97.00
Image: Fortnum & Mason

10 comments:

Bobble Bee said...

Haha! I really like this post!! :) I really like random things in fashion blogs.
In Spain we call "Jamón de York" (York Ham) the one that is boiled and it's all pink, sweet and delicious.
Jamón (Ham) is the one we dry-cured with salt and other species, exactly what a "real Yorker" would call York Ham, with is more salty and stronger in flavor.
Our better pigs to prepare the best of the hams is "black" that is why our best ham is called "Jamón de Pata Negra" (Black Leg ham).

Suzanna Mars said...

BB, thanks for the primer in Spanish ham! Randomness is why I like the blogging community; you never know who has edifying information about pork.

Libertygirl said...

I love you a bushel & a peck, a bushel & a peck & a hug around the neck, hug around the neck... LLG xxx

Suzanna Mars said...

Thank you, Miss Adelaide!

MR style said...

funny post

WendyB said...

Pig! Pig! Pig looks like a lady! (Large white pigs especially).

Claire (Enchant and Doom) said...

May I point you to this post...

http://www.graydonsheppard.com/blog/2007/12/dress-your-subjects-in-chicken-heads.html#links

Hehe.

riz said...

Thanx for this, as one who is an (aspiring) anglophile I of course appreciate this knowledge. Random but, Isn't there a Spanish film with P. Cruz with the word Jamon in it?? I will definitely check out LL girl's blog.

Suzanna Mars said...

And of course the Target version:

http://www.hatsofmeat.com/

Everything is knocked off eventually, n'est-ce-pas?

Suzanna Mars said...

Riz, you must check out LLG's blog. It's a must-read on my shortlist, along with you and WB and BB and CM and SB and so on!