Ham (and Eggs) for the Holidays

My family didn’t eat turkey this Thanksgiving. We didn’t eat it last year, either. Yes, we’re still mostly proud to call ourselves Americans. And yes, we’re thankful the pilgrims didn’t die out that first year. But, the simple truth is that we’re not very excited by turkey… at least not any more.

Ours is a familiar story. Like many families, we had a particularly hearty Thanksgiving feast a few years ago. So hearty in fact that it fed us not only for the night but also for another week (and beyond). Turkey sandwiches, turkey soup, turkey stew, turkey goulash, turkey salad… we collectively gobbled up enough leftovers that no one in our family—and I mean no one—gave so much as a grunt of protest the next year when we metaphorically flipped the bird to the bird itself. I can’t recall how long ago that actually was, and nobody really cares. Why? Because now we eat ham.

Boy, do I ever love ham. I’m not willing to say that the fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden was a good thing, but I am willing to say this: I enjoy eating beef, chicken, and pork more than fruits or vegetables. If you’re a vegetarian or a vegan, I won’t knock your dietary decisions, nor will I dare to dabble in the great food debate. I know that if my diet depended on my survival skills, I would have died a long time ago (whether from eating a poisonous mushroom or playing Winnie the Pooh with a bee hive). I’m not a fan of violence outside of comic books and movies, but if I had to hunt and kill game for survival? I’d give it my best shot. Why? Because as cold as this sounds, my life means more to me than the lives of animals.

Thankfully, the meat we do eat at least has an opportunity to grow fat and happy before being relocated to our bellies. Pithy as that may be, it does assuage my childlike remorse over the fact that something has to die for me to eat a hamburger (although in the case of fast-food, I think the victim is my colon).

I’m also especially thankful that I’m not restricted to a kosher Jewish diet. That’s not a knock on an entire aisle of foodstuffs. In fact, everything “kosher” I’ve ever eaten has been very tasty (including Hebrew National franks, which I have in the refrigerator right now). But as you probably know, my beloved ham is of course pork, and pork is considered unclean for God’s chosen people to eat. That’s why being a Gentile is a double blessing—not only did God extend His grace to those helpless heathens, but He also permitted them to fry, batter, bake, boil, broil, roast, broast, barbecue, and carve that delicious cloven-hoofed hog until the second coming.

I’m getting hungry. In any event, the leftovers that I took back home made for a delicious late night snack, followed shortly by an amazing meal of scrambled eggs that I shared with one of my housemates. But that wasn’t the end of the miracle meat! No, the last of my holiday ham went into the above-pictured savory-sweet cheesy pasta meal. Slicing up a few yellow bell peppers (also takeaway gifts from my mom), I simply added diced ham to a box of Pasta-Roni, then added garlic-parsley seasoning for a hint of green. The ham was already a little sweet; the peppers just made things sweeter. Salty, cheesy, savory, and delicious were the words that I tasted, and I relish the chance to make it again. Maybe I should give it a name.

Not as mighty as meat.

Seeing as Thanksgiving has come and gone, I do have more recent eatings to talk about. Pictured on the left is the start of an incredibly-satisfying four (4) egg omelet that I made on Friday. That’s right. Carrots and onions! Sadly, I had no ham left by this time, otherwise it would have made up for a much-missed element of meat.

So yes, I sautéed (am I using that word correctly?) baby carrots in butter and olive oil, along with a dash of my boilerplate kickin’ chicken seasoning (that stuff winds up in almost everything I make). The onions I added later, once the carrots were cooked, since I prefer them firm instead of floppy. Once the “filling” of my omelet was ready, I emptied it into a bowl, cracked some eggs together, whipped ‘em up, added kickin’ chicken seasoning to the eggs (along with my other stalwart standby: garlic-parsley salt) and dumped the whole mix into the pan.

For a few minutes, I debated making a scramble. Most of my egg-inspired ideas wind up as scrambles because I can’t leave the pan well enough alone. But, I ultimately decided that a monster omelet would be more rewarding and make for a better blog post. The only other question left was whether or not to wrap the carrots and onions or eat them as a side. Since I had nothing else to use for a filling, that was a no-brainer.

Breakfast for dinner is tomorrow's meal today!

Breakfast for dinner is tomorrow’s meal today!

In retrospect, I should have considered the size of the omelet relative to its filling. As giant as the omelet was, it couldn’t quite contain everything. I made sure its underbelly didn’t show when I photographed it. The photo is a little less than awesome due to the seasoning mixed into the eggs, but believe me when I say it was the best omelet I’ve ever made (though not the best I’ve ever had).

A pleasant compliment to my breakfast-for-dinner was freshly-brewed Gevalia coffee. I understand Gevalia to be a fairly new brand, at least in the US, but I must confess it’s the finest coffee I’ve ever brewed. As a man who likes a little coffee with his creamer, I drank the first cup black. That’s how bold, flavorful, and well-balanced the French Roast was, despite being brewed by a meager 4-cup Mr. Coffee machine. In time I hope to own a ridiculously expensive brewer that uses only the finest filtered Britta water, but for now, my snobbery will have to wait.

And now for all the gory details. The carrot and onion filling was delicious; well-seasoned and cooked thoroughly (a tricky task for carrots), but a little bit of ham or hot dogs would have gone a long way. My carnivorous tooth still laments this fact. Ah well.

Inside the belly of the beast.

As you see, the omelet’s insides weren’t particularly pretty. Some of that is due to the lighting, but this particular offspring of my culinary exploits was simply an ugly ducking. At least my tastebuds were happy. More than that, the sheer scale of the omelet left me feeling filled and fattened, so much so that eating my toast (which I eventually jammed with grape jelly) was a chore to consume. Thankfully, the coffee washed everything down with a satisfying finish. Another successful dinner. Er, breakfast.

Christmas will be upon us in only a few weeks. Already I’ve heard “Santa Baby” while sipping a latte at Barnes & Noble. That song… if anything can shatter the holiday spirit for me faster, I’d be surprised. I hate it! Hate hate hate, loathe loathe loathe. Some may argue that Eartha Kitt’s rendition is the lesser of several evils, but arguing a moot point is a missed point altogether. For the sake of brevity, I digress.

Oh, and for Christmas dinner? I suspect my family will have pot roast. Certainly not turkey. But between you and me, another ham would be divine… though certainly not kosher.

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