Let's take a look at West Virginia-the home of Virginia ham. Ham can either be dry-cured or wet-cured. A dry-cured ham has been rubbed in a mixture containing salt and a variety of other ingredients (most usually some proportion of sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite), Sugar is common in many dry cures in the United States. This is followed by a period of drying and aging. Dry-cured hams require a prolonged period of rehydration prior to consumption. A wet-cured ham has been cured with a brine, either by immersion or injection. The division between wet and dry cure is not always hard-and-fast as some ham curing methods begin wet but are followed by dry aging. The majority of common wet-cured ham available in U.S. supermarkets is of the "city ham" variety, in which brine is injected into the meat for a very rapid curing suitable for mass market. Traditional wet curing requires immersing the ham in a brine for an extended period, often followed by light smoking. Traditional wet cured ham includes the English Wiltshire ham and the French Jambon de Paris. Dry-cured varieties include the Italian prosciutto crudo (notably the prosciutto di Parma) and the Spanish Jamon Serrano (notably the Cured Ham of Trev'lez) and jam'n ib'rico (notably the Cured iberic Ham of Guijuelo). The United States has country ham (including Virginia ham), which might or might not be smoked. England has the York ham. Germany's Westphalian ham is usually smoked over juniper, in Belgium, there is the smoked Ardennes ham, and from China there is the unsmoked Jinhua ham. Ham is also processed into other meat products such as SPAM luncheon meat. Baked ham is also a traditional dish served on Easter. BAKED VIRGINIA HAM INGREDIENTS 1 (14 to 16-pound) fully cooked, spiral-cut smoked ham, on the bone 6 garlic cloves 8 1/2 ounces mango chutney 1/2 cup Dijon mustard 1 cup light brown sugar, packed 1 orange, zested 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice METHOD Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the ham in a heavy roasting pan. Mince the garlic in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the chutney, mustard, brown sugar, orange zest, and orange juice and process until smooth. Pour the glaze over the ham and bake for 1 hour, until the ham is fully heated and the glaze is well browned. Serve hot or at room temperature. AND FINALLY... As ham sandwiches go, it was perfection. A thick slab of ham, a fresh bun, crisp lettuce and plenty of expensive, light brown, gourmet mustard. The corners of my jaw aching in anticipation, I carried it to the picnic table in our backyard, picked it up with both hands but was stopped by my wife suddenly at my side. "Hold Katie (our then six-week-old daughter) while I get my sandwich," she said. I had her balanced between my left elbow and shoulder and was reaching again for the ham sandwich when I noticed a streak of mustard on my fingers. I love mustard. I had no napkin. I licked it off. It was not mustard! No man ever put a baby down faster. It was the first and only time I have sprinted with my tongue protruding. With a washcloth in each hand I did the sort of routine shoeshine boys do; only I did it on my tongue. Later (after she stopped crying from laughing so hard) my wife said, "Now you know why they call that mustard 'Poupon.'"
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