On another note, I was wondering if you have a menu planned for Easter (I am assuming you celebrate it since you posted about the King Cake a little bit ago, if you don’t just disregard this). I would love to see it, as I feel I am missing something in mine. It is the first holiday my husband and I have had a chance to host so I really don’t want to ruin it.
Easter is one of my favorite dinners of the year. Every year since I can remember, I’ve had absolutely wonderful North Carolina ham (with some side dishes, of course). For the past several years, my parents have been generous enough to order a ham for me when they get one for themselves, a gesture I always appreciate, becuase if they ever stopped ordering it, I’d be forced to spend my own money to get one as I can’t imagine Easter dinner without one.
North Carolina ham is salt cured, with no water injected. It’s quite a bit drier and saltier than supermarket hams, but it’s also quite a bit higher quality. My Uncle Luther used to raise hogs in Meadow, NC. We were always lucky when he sent us one of his hams. I don’t think he ever heard the phrase “free range,” and if he did, I doubt he’d have used it; but that’s how he raised his hogs because that’s what made sense. A pig tastes better when it gets exercise, so he gave them a limited run of the land, allowing them to swim in his irrigation ponds and run through the woods. I was always a bit scared of them when we went fishing in the ponds with our bamboo poles, but now I think it’s a wonderful way to treat your livestock. Another great technique he used was to let the hogs root through the sweet potato fields after they had been harvested and eat the tubers that hadn’t been pulled.