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Experimenting in the kitchen with an Easter ham

Upcoming religious holiday inspires attempt to bake traditional dish

POSTED: April 16, 2014 1:00 a.m.

I have never made a holiday meal.

Sure, I’ve helped my mom and grandmothers out with a few dishes here and there, but I’ve never touched the main course.

But this year, my family isn’t having a big meal for Easter, making it the perfect time to test my skills in the kitchen.

When local cookbook author Crevolyn Wiley sent The Times a recipe for a honey-glazed ham, my first thought was “seems easy enough.”

With my limited experience, I thought I’d ask her for a few tips before I dived into the Easter dinner tradition. The biggest thing, she said, is to preplan and avoid the last minute.

“Make your menu, get your shopping list, think about your timing and anything you can do ahead of time I would strongly recommend,” Wiley said.

Wiley suggested I do the bulk of my shopping before the weekend so I’ll have one less thing to worry about. I took her advice and went to the grocery store.

As I was checking out, the cashier scanned the brown sugar, cloves and ham and said “This is my favorite way to make a ham.”

I told her I’d never made one before and she gave me a few of her favorite tips. The main one was putting the brown sugar in a bowl and patting it down so the entire ham is covered.

When I got home, I decided to make a “practice ham.”

I followed the instructions Wiley sent, only having to use the Internet twice.

The first instance was to find out what “score ham” meant. It’s a decorative and functional crisscross pattern cut into the meat that lets the glaze sink into the meat.

From there, I simmered the butter, brown sugar and honey in a saucepan and covered the ham in the glaze every so often as it cooked.

After an hour and a half, I took the ham out of the oven and realized I had no idea how to cut it. Again, I asked the Internet for help.

Eventually I figured it out, but I essentially rebutchered the once fairly attractive ham in the process. My family didn’t seem too concerned about the ham’s appearance and eagerly ate the lopsided slices.

I asked Wiley what I should do with all the leftovers since I’ve still got a few days until Easter. She suggested I freeze the leftovers and use them in other recipes. Then she advised I get a little more creative for my “real” Easter ham.

So she sent me a recipe for Dr. Pepper pineapple ham. I’ve already looked up the steps online and feel optimistic about making it.

But if it doesn’t work out, I’ll just pull my practice ham out of the freezer.

Savannah King is a reporter for The Times. She can be reached at 770-718-3401.


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