Ham, by Lorie Sheffer, Guest blogger

Holiday food traditions
Holiday food traditions (photo: Lorie Sheffer)

It seems each family has at least one holiday tradition that others may find unusual.

The best story I heard was the one about a traditional Christmas Eve ham. My friend told me that every year, her grandmother would bake this special ham. When grandma got older the dinner preparations were taken over by Mom. When Mom got to be up in years, the daughters took over the honors. Always, ALWAYS, that ham was prepared by first cutting off each end by about an inch. One year, one of the daughters forgot this crucial step and placed the ham into the roasting pan, ends uncut. A hush fell over the kitchen. Mom, hoping to avert what was sure to be the ruination of the centerpiece of the Christmas Eve buffet, gently reminded her daughters that they must never forget to cut of the ends of the ham first. “Why?” one of the girls asked. Mom just stood there, not really knowing the answer. “It just tastes better if you cut off the ends before you bake it. Grandma always did that, and she always made the best ham.” This made no sense to the girls, but since it had been done that way since before they were born, this tradition of holiday ham preparation surely must have some logical explanation. Grandma was now well into her nineties, but still mentally sharp and sitting in the next room enjoying the appetizers. They decided to go ask her.

“Grandma, we have a question for you. Why did you always cut the ends from the ham before baking it? Does it stay more flavorful? Is it better for the glaze to get in there?”

She looked at them as if they had hit the eggnog a bit too hard.

“I cut the ends off so the ham would fit into my roaster.” Then she shook her head and started to laugh.

Holiday tradition. Sometimes we just continue them without ever asking “Why?”


By jeff noel

Retired Disney Institute Keynote Speaker and Prolific Blogger. Five daily, differently-themed personal blogs (about life's 5 big choices) on five interconnected sites.