Friday, December 07, 2007

Red Eyes

Hog Slaughter & Lemon Pie
low fire enamel on blown glass, ham curing bags
By Elizabeth Ware Perkins

Elizabeth is a good friend of mine and a wonderful Glass Artist.

According to legend and not necessarily facts, Andrew Jackson (1767-1845), 7th President of the United States, who was an American General at the time, called his cook over to tell him what to prepare. The cook had been drinking "moonshine" corn whiskey the night before and his eyes were as red as fire. General Jackson told the cook to bring him some country ham with gravy as red as his eyes. Some men nearby heard the general and from then on, ham gravy became "Red Eye Gravy.’"
(Whats Cooking America)

I know that I haven’t posted anything is a very very long time but recently I have had one thing on my mind which happens to be Country Salt Cured Ham and Red Eye Gravy. Damn straight, now were talking!!!! I love it!!! Bam, shazam, and sparkles all around. It is that time of year for a little heavenly grit on your plate no matter how bad it might be for you later on in life. A little greasy, highly salted meat never hurt anyone. I am buzzin just by the thought. So in my present obsession for this southern delicacy I have done a bit “researchin” as they say into various topics on Country Ham.

First of all is the history of ham in the states and Virginia. You can’t go wrong here and the next time you are on Jeopardy this might be that question that kicks you into the next round.
Whats Cooking America Country Ham History

I picked up this cookbook while over at Neal’s house last time I was in and “OMG.” ☺ It was like walking back in time to my grandmothers kitchen when she used the real stuff. Who makes green beans with a chunk of animal fat, butter, and honey anymore? I could smell the aromas of my childhood learning how to cook as I flipped through the pages of this wonderful treasure. This cookbook is as original as moonshine and maybe with the same kindakick. With 145 pages this books fits into the building blocks of a long passing culture with sheer blunt “cookin truths.” It’s a hard one to find and in fact I have not had a chance to find it yet outside Neal’s kitchen. There are some great Ham recipes in this one. --

I think I have mentioned this one before and have it in my kitchen now. I recommend this to you all. Such a delightful read. --
Smokehouse Ham, Spoon Bread & Scuppernong Wine:
The Folklore and Art of Appalachian Cooking

By Dabney, Joseph Ear

Smithfield Ham Website

The Country Ham Store (For your ordering pleasure)

Appalachian Traveler

Wealth of Information-----
Dry-Curing Virginia Style Ham

Ham Definitions (I can’t believe I have said that)

I am sure there are plenty more so throw me some this way.


Jeremy Peters said...

mmm-MMMM, good stuff! You really got my stomach growling with this one.

There's nothing like some good country ham. I like it for breakfast on biscuits, but you can't beat it with mashed potatoes smothered in red eye gravy and some green beans on the side. It's a heart attack on a plate, but wow what a way to go!

My mamaw loves country ham, too, and always gets her's from Benton's, a little, family-run, out of the way place on Highway 411 in Madisonville, TN, just south of Knoxville. I remember going by there several times as a kid as we visited her sister in TN. If you are in the area, pay them a visit and buy some ham. You can smell the salt and smoke before you even step in their door. They'll slice and package the ham for you right there. And while you wait, see if they'll let you peek in their curing room!

And for those who are geographically challenged like me, they're on the web, too: Hallelujah!

One note, they are currently so busy from recent publicity that they're not taking online orders, but should be back up after the new year.

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