2020, Leftover Ham, and a Lifetime of Lessons
As the founders of Mount Salem Vineyards and Mount Salem Kitchen, which, respectively, create high-quality wine and food inspired by Central European flavors, we obviously relish a high-quality meal. So, during the holidays, you’re bound to find the best-of-the-best meats, vegetables, breads and more on our table, prepared using the finest recipes and ingredients.
However, this Christmas was a bit different. After a year of being pummeled by 2020, and, surrounded by only four total immediate-family guests, we decided to go back to the basics. We wanted something traditional and stress-free, without any of the usual bells and whistles.
So, we bought a $22, 10.5-pound ShopRite ham. It didn’t even need to be defrosted.
Making the best out of a second-rate situation
However, after the table was cleared and Christmas Day was behind us, something interesting, and perhaps indicative of 2020, happened. We took something normally second-rate – leftovers – and made the very best of it.
Rather than simply heating up ham leftovers until we couldn’t look at them any longer, we started meandering through our voluminous collection of recipes, winnowing down to anything that used ham as a central ingredient.
We made it a game, and got very creative. That leftover ham found new life as Frittata; Red Beans & Rice; Ham & Chevre Pastry with Pan Gravy; Ham Tertrazzini; and Ham & Shrimp Jambalaya – all from one 10.5-pound ham.
Enduring lessons of positivity and resourcefulness
As 2020 comes to a welcome close, it’s clear that all of us are in need of nourishment in more ways than one. Businesses lack economic nourishment. Children lack intellectual nourishment. Some of us lack physical nourishment. All of us lack social and emotional nourishment.
But, as we saw with our modest leftover ham, it is possible to make the best out of an unfortunate situation and nourish ourselves, and our families, while using every single resource we have. Even without a sunny choice, we can choose positivity and resourcefulness every time.
2020 was not the year any of us saw coming and certainly didn’t hope for. But that doesn’t mean all hope is lost, either. Let us take nothing for granted – even a measly scrap of ham – and carry the lessons of this year with us, always.