Homer: Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. Lisa, honey, are saying you're never going to eat any animal again? What about bacon? Lisa: No. Homer: Ham? Lisa: No. Homer: Pork chops? Lisa: Dad! Those all come from … Read More
Homer: Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. Lisa, honey, are saying you're never going to eat any animal again? What about bacon? Lisa: No. Homer: Ham? Lisa: No. Homer: Pork chops? Lisa: Dad! Those all come from the same animal! Homer: [Chuckles] Yeah, right Lisa. A wonderful, magical animal.
Some Jews, it is said, are fixated on blonds, like the dark haired South American's fascination with children's TV host Xuxa. Others wonder about Jesus–or perhaps just about people who wear Jews for Jesus T-shirts above their fanny packs. As for me, my fascination with the non-kashrut goes back to my childhood. Perhaps it's my German ancestry, perhaps it was my father's choice in sandwiches, but I revel in the wonder of a food that can have so many names.
Ham can be from a place: Virginia, Irish, Scotch, Canadian (and how many foods are Canadian?), and even Bayonne (France, not New Jersey, but who's really to say?)
It can be on a lark: Country or Picnic. Out on the town: City or Smoked. Old or young. Ready to eat or just pickled for whatever you want, whenever you want it.
In short, the ham is a seductress. The Xuxa of the deli. At one moment, entertaining us in our childhoods, the next, discarding her pink helicopter and taking it all off for '90s Playboy (you find the link) and reducing us to tears. (Or was that just me?)
Regardless, I end with a very short story I wrote in the 1980s. And tomorrow, I promise, no more traif.