The most exquisite peak in culinary art is conquered when you do right by a
ham, for a ham, in the very nature of the process it has undergone since last
it walked on its own feet, combines in its flavor the tang of smoky autumnal
woods, the maternal softness of earthy fields delivered of their crop children,
the wineyness of a late sun, the intimate kiss of fertilizing rain, and the
bite of fire. You must slice it thin, almost as thin as this page you hold
in your hands. The making of a ham dinner, like the making of a gentleman,
starts a long, long time before the event.
- -- W. B. Courtney, "Reflections of Maryland Country Ham",
from "Congress Eate It Up"