Just over 2 years ago I was sent on a Ham Carving Masterclass at Lunya in Liverpool.
There were just over ten of us on the course. We sat on a series of tables surrounding the master ham carver who was to give us the lesson. We were shown a slide show of happy black footed pigs guzzling on acorns and we spent time holding a very sharp knife and trying to get to grips with the art of cutting very fine strips, always with some fat, so that the fat melts on the tongue sweetening the salty punch of the meat. In between times there was salt water beer to be drunk.
Over the course of the evening I sort of got the hang of it and I came away with a small pack of suitably thin slices of ham.
I am not sure what the master ham carver would make of the rather hacked about leg that is now lurking in the basement.
It came as a gift just over a year ago and even as it went into the basement it was noted that the best before date was almost upon us.
There were people over for New Year’s Eve and that seemed like a good excuse to rescue it from the basement to see how it had matured. By then the use by date was many months past but that appeared to have little or no impact which given as they are supposed to mature over time is only right.
We had a good few slices from it on New Years Eve and since then it has provided a couple of piled platefuls for another two parties. But most days it has done sturdy work in providing the filling for my lunchtime sandwiches.
After 31 days I am almost getting to the end of it. Every evening I bring it out of the basement to carve myself a small plateful of slices. Now I am having to bend the knife around awkward angles to get anything like a decent slice.
By the the weekend it will be done and I will have to spend time scrapping out the last few nuggets of deep ruby red meat for a good bean stew with sausages.
In the meantime I have been calming the nerves by listening to Willie Nelson.