Saturday, May 19, 2012

Aunt Peggy's Decoration Day Baked Ham

My Aunt Peggy makes the best ham. Her method is very simple and foolproof. It always turns out perfectly. It has been one of her staples at Rose Hill for many years. She is my only surviving relative in my father's immediate family. Some say I look more like her than her own daughter, and I cannot deny the fact that we are a lot alike. Both of us are very colorful and out spoken people who share an interest in preserving the past traditions. Aunt Peggy has been an advocate of keeping up the family traditions for many years. She is a pleasant lady who always appreciates the sparse visits, we do not live close to one another, regardless of how short they may be. I can't do enough to honor her and the impact she has had on my life, but I can share with you her method of cooking the most tender and juicy ham I have ever tasted. She is not a fussy person in the kitchen. Her philosophy has always been keep it simple be thankful for it. She is the kind of lady that will not hesitate to speak her mind, (pot, meet kettle!) but she has mastered the art of doing it with some grace. The mark of a true Southern Lady, which she most definitely is! So why not give her ham a try? I think you will enjoy it. I prefer to eat it without added glaze or decoration, but she fancies hers up a little after it is baked.
Following the recipe I have included pictures of a couple of the old graves at Rose Hill. I am not related to these people, but have always found them to be interesting.

straight from the oven

no time for frills, time to eat!

You need a good size ham, either butt or shank portion. Aunt Peggy prefers shank, I prefer butt, either is fine.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Remove all wrapping and wash ham, pat dry.

Double wrap the ham in heavy duty aluminum foil.

Place in large roasting pan.

Cook at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes.

Turn down heat to 200 degrees.

Cook overnight or at least six hours, depending on size of ham.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes or so.

Unwrap and if desired, score the skin with a knife and brush with a glaze made of  brown sugar and orange juice.

At this point you can place pineapple rings on it and put a cherry in the center of each.

Place back in the oven and brown the glaze, I would suggest the temperature be around 325 degrees for this. Don't leave it in too long, you want it to remain juicy.
Or, you can just slice it up as it is straight from the oven and eat it, which is my preferred method. 

This memorial was added many years later, replacing an engraved slab of rock. It marks the grave of "Old Black Mammy." She was a freed  slave of the Walker family. She stayed on with the family and became regarded as family. The Walkers placed this stone on her grave so future generations and descendants of  Aunt Phoebe and the Walkers would never forget. This grave was always the first of many that I placed my own little flower on as a child at Rosehill on Decoration Day. I am not a Walker descendant, but the lady resting here has always stirred emotion for me.
I don't know anything about this particular headstone except what you see. Interesting though, at least to me,

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