I have wonderful memories of holiday meals with my extended family. We would all gather for every major holiday–Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter–and most of the minor holidays–Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and often Independence Day.
The faces at the table changed over time. Babies came, loved ones passed, and new husbands or wives appeared. Always present, though, was the love for each other. And the Southern Maryland Stuffed Ham.
When Ken and I got married, I insisted on a complete, traditional Southern Maryland fall menu. That had to include stuffed ham. My Dad and my grandmother spent days making enough stuffed ham for 300 people. Ken’s Eastern Shore relatives never again saw holidays meals the same way. Each time we returned from Thanksgiving or Christmas at my Mom’s house, Ken’s family asked, “Did you bring back any stuffed ham?”
Looking back, I’m amazed that Dad and Gram pulled off this feat for my wedding. Stuffed Ham is not your average meat.
If you look closely at the Thanksgiving picture above, you will see the stuffed ham in the middle of the table. “What’s all that green stuff?” you may ask. That, my friend, is the stuffing. It’s not your average stuffing made of some kind of bread and mild spices. This ham is stuffed with a bushel of fresh, leafy kale and a boatload of hot, savory spices. It’s unlike anything you’ve had before, and unlike anything you will have anywhere other than St. Mary’s County, Maryland (yes, Charles County and a small area of Virginia have their own versions of stuffed ham, but it’s not the same) and small parts of Kentucky to which early Marylanders migrated.
While the dish itself is one of the most unique you could ever have, it’s the process and the history that really make this truly different and special.Read more