Spice of Life: Ham it up for Easter dinner

By By Eric Cormier / American Press

At least once a week, some food lover pulls me aside and tells me the ingredients and cooking technique used to prepare a

favorite dish.

On Sunday, a food lover’s mouth watered as he recounted how ham was prepared for holiday family gatherings.

“We would use sugarcane that was cut thin and then used to skewer the ham. All that sugar got in that ham,” he said.

Watching him tell the story was just as entertaining as listening to it.

The man, who is in his 60s, squeezed his eyelids close together as he gently placed his right index finger against his right

temple while recounting as much about the ham from his childhood as possible.

This weekend, many families will share traditional Easter eating moments with barbecue, baked chicken, roasted lamb, fried

fish and boiled crawfish.

Rest assured, a baked ham will be a centerpiece on the dinner table somewhere, too.

An easy baked ham recipe follows.

Sugarcane stalks aren’t called for, but if you have them, stick them in the hog anyway.


Baked Ham


• 1 ham

1 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup honey, maple syrup or cider vinegar

2 teaspoons dry mustard

15 or more cloves

1 can pineapple rings (optional)

For basting sauce

1 cup brown sugar

• 1 teaspoon dry mustard

• 1 cup orange juice


Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place the ham on a rack in a shallow roasting pan, fat side up. Bake the ham unglazed until the

thermometer reads 130 F, or until one hour before the ham is done.

Prepare for glazing by scoring the outside fat in a diamond pattern cutting 1/4-inch deep with a sharp knife. Combine the brown

sugar with the honey, syrup or vinegar and the mustard. Mix well and spread over the outside of the ham.

Stuff with whole cloves set decoratively in the center of each diamond. Or if you like pineapple rings, set them in place

with tooth picks, putting the cloves in the holes. Return to the oven for one hour to finish baking, brushing if you wish,

every 15 minutes with basting sauce. Let it rest and carve at the table.

Note: Be sure to read the label on the ham: some are precooked, some partially cooked. If the ham has not been precooked at all,

allow 20 minutes per pound in a 350 F oven, then use a meat thermometer to be sure that the internal temperature is 160 F.

If the ham is precooked, you must still allow 10 minutes per pound to warm the meat and melt the glaze.

From the Fannie Farmer Cookbook

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Eric Cormier writes about food every Wednesday. Contact him at ecormier@americanpress.com or 494-4090.