Mike Sula files a report on country hams from Cadiz, Kentucky. He went on a really fun-sounding road trip to the Trigg County Country Ham Festival, where he sojourned with a charming old man and his prize-winning aged hams.
Three things we learned:
1) The hams produced in this area are discussed in the same sentence as prosciutto di Parma and jamon Serrano (Cadiz is prime jamon country, after all)
2) The competition judges evaluate the hams’ smell, “uniformity and desirability of the outside color, ratio of meat to fat, neatness and attractiveness of the trim, and general shape,” but DO NOT ACTUALLY TASTE THE HAM. Maybe the judges are observant Jews and Muslims?
3) Apparently, a locally produced ham was the champion of the Kenucky State Fair, and sold at charity auction for $500,000. That is really crazy
Right, so we found this photo of country hams being orally abused by a trick of perspective:
This photo was taken at Smith’s Country Store, established in the venerable year of 1906. What’s less venerable is the store’s location: at Guntown Mountain, an imaginary Old West village hard by Mammoth Caves, in Cave City, KY. Now, correct us if we’re wrong, but Kentucky is in between Utah and Nevada, right? The website’s lit says, “Guntown Mountain is an authentic re-creation of a wild west town from the days of the frontier.” May we ask why the phrase “authentic re-creation” isn’t causing our computer to explode?
Even still, the ham is probably pretty good.
Ham Country [Reader]
[Photo: the real amelinda hamming it up for the camera]