Tag Archives: sandwich

Friday 5 – Perfection

22 Nov

By Chris Garbutt

Anyone who believes that nothing’s perfect hasn’t read enough food blogs. The word “perfect” appears millions of times. Herewith, a perfect storm of perfection from the foodiesphere:

1. You know you’ve been looking for it: The Perfect Mac n Cheese. I ask you, have you found a better version?

2. No one knows perfection better than Martha. In honour of the coming American holiday, here is Her Stewartness’s perfect Thanksgiving turkey.

3. Always screwing up boiled rice? Apparently you can get it right, and it will be perfect! Still, do people really have that much trouble with boiling rice?

4. The word “perfect” appears in this post. It’s my excuse to put in a link to Butter and Radish sandwiches. A little out of season, but man, I gotta try me one of those!

5. This whole blog thinks it’s perfect. I won’t argue. Check out the post on cooking pumpkin flowers.

A Rare Pig

8 Jul

By Monica Udoye-Stubbins

Down oyster shell driveways, past horse drawn buggies, former slave plantations, tobacco fields and the great Chesapeake Bay on rare days exists a peculiar pig – only on the tip of Southern Maryland. St. Mary’s County is the home to the growingly popular stuffed ham.

Navigate your way through the unique southern dialect and brief suspicion granted outsiders for the St. Mary’s famous October Oyster Festival or holiday visit. On these days there are a number of Southern taste-tempting innovations. Oyster-cornmeal pancakes fried in sizzling lard with a side of creamy onion cast-iron stewed potatoes, piping hot blue crabs and evenings filled with mugs of Dandelion wine are delicious. But nothing can compete with the sacred pig only found on holidays. This little known county that could not attract visitors with all its boasted attractions, including a historic plantation and abounding nature was able to attract the likes of CNN, The Food Network and countless others with the religiously worshipped stuffed ham.

Each holiday, strangers that have only had a taste of some friend’s stray stuffed ham sandwich wander to the county in search. Wrapped in cheesecloth, a corned ham is slotted throughout and stuffed with finely diced kale, watercress, collards, cabbage, mustard seed, onion, lots of hot red pepper, a little celery and a dash of salt and pepper.

Recipes vary slightly. Boiled for several hours, and cooling in its own juices, the cheese cloth is removed, layers of stuffing that were packed on top fall away to reveal a perfectly pink ham stripped with green manna – food from heaven, a mouthful of complex flavors, which historian credit to the cultural hodge-podge of colonial St. Mary’s.

Seventy minutes south of Washington, DC, an isolated peninsula called St. Mary’s developed a distinct culture. Stuffed ham is said to be the result of a rich history of slaves, indentured servants and Natives who came together during harsh times, grafted English traditions of “boiled meat”, Yaocomaco Native American tribal grilling of leaf-wrapped meats and slave practices using the exact same ingredients and curing methods used in stuffed ham today. A labor of early American Cooperation, stuffed ham is in St.Mary’s County Maryland to stay. It seems a part of a rare place with a rare pig.

During holidays St.Mary’s grocery stores are stocked with Stuffed Ham, though they aren’t elsewhere. St. Marian Sandra Marshall, who makes her own, says simply, ” I don’t think we could live without it.”

Sandra Marshall’s Stuffed Ham

1 (20 to 22-pound) corned ham, boned 8 pounds cabbage

2pounds watercress (optional)

2-3 pounds kale

5 pounds onion

2 to 3 tablespoons crushed red pepper

1 1/2 tablespoons black pepper

3 tablespoons mustard seed

1 tablespoon celery seed (or substitute a bunch of chopped celery )

1 package cheesecloth

Wash cabbage, watercress, kale and onions (optional celery) with cold water after chopping into approximately 1 inch pieces. Place in a large bowl.

Prepare a large pan of boiling water. Wilt cabbage, watercress, kale and onions until slightly pliable. Make sure vegetables are not in the water too long as it will cause them to loose flavor. Drain kale, cabbage, cress and onions well. Add mustard seeds, celery seed, red and black pepper. Mix all ingredients thoroughly.

Parboil ham 20 minutes in water used for wilting stuffing. Remove ham from water and prepare ham for stuffing by making 1 or 2-inch slits all over the ham, roughly 1 to 2-inches deep. Press stuffing into slits, crevices and cavities throughout the ham. Make sure you pack stuffing tightly and covering ham with stuffing as much as possible.

When finished stuffing, wrap ham with cheesecloth and tie ham with string.

Make sure ham is tied securely. If ham is loose or falling apart, use wooden skewers used for grilling or similar cooking tools to hold together. If ham is tied tightly this should not be necessary.

Either cook ham in water used for wilting on stove top for 4-5 hours


Cook ham in water used for wilting in oven covered with aluminum foil and bake in a preheated 400-degree oven for 4-5 hours.

When ham is finished, drain and let ham cool down overnight in the refrigerator before carving. Usually served cold.

Monica Udoye-Stubbins was raised in a “cooking family” in Southern Maryland. Her family recalls Monica cooking from the age of two – her very first original recipe “potato chip cake”! Learning to cook with family-farmed produce and livestock (without running water), she believes in “all recipes from scratch”. Tucked safely in the woods (where no one would hear a two year old was allowed to cook), she developed her writing hobby alongside her culinary one. She currently works as a model, cooks for her husband and Hollywood Hills neighbors and writes. Her work has appeared in “The Baltimore Sun” and “Spillway”.