It used to be that you could only get Key Lime pie in the Florida Keys. Now, it is ubiquitous. But St. Mary's County Stuffed Ham is still a strictly local food - unknown outside of southern Maryland.
Stuffed ham came about when some thrifty cook decided to stuff some greens in the cavity that was left when the ham bone was removed from a ham hock. The greens - usually kale - are chopped and mixed with spices, and then the stuffed ham is cooked. After it is cooked, when it is sliced, there is a center of greens in each slice.
Bob doesn't like ham much, and he doesn't like kale either. But I do. I only get stuffed ham once a year at the Oyster Festival. I usually buy two sandwiches and eat one at the Festival and take the other one home for lunch. This year, they also had stuffed ham soup.
This is one recipe. There is another at the website below.
Southern Maryland Stuffed Ham
(Per 12 pounds)
* Fresh corned ham, boned
(If not boned, the ham will need to be slotted for stuffing)
* 3 lbs. kale
* 2 lbs. watercress (if not available, use kale)
* 4 to 5 lbs. cabbage, diced
* 2 tablespoons mustard seed
* 2 tablespoons red pepper
* Less than 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
* Less than 1 teaspoon salt
* Less than 1 teaspoon pepper
* Less than 1 tablespoon peppercorns
* 1 stalk celery, diced
* 1 tablespoon celery seed
* 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (optional)
* 1 tablespoon mustard (optional)
* 1 large onion, dices, or 4 bunches spring onions
Cook greens until cooked down. Add spices and thoroughly mix with greens. Stuff ham with greens; make additional slots in the ham for additional stuffing. Wrap and tie in cheesecloth. Cover ham with water. Boil for 20 minutes per pound. Let cool in water before removing.
Southern Maryland Council Telephone Pioneers Cookbook
The county fair is usually Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday on the last weekend in September. Wednesday and Thursday is when all the exhibits come in - the vegetables, the needlework, the art work of the school children, and the 4-H animals. Saturday is the day of the parade.
Friday is "Schools Day" when all the local school children get in free. It is also a holiday because the fairgrounds is across the street from the Leonardtown Middle School, Leonardtown High School and the St. Mary's County Tech Center. The 4-H Horse Show is on Friday where the kids qualify for the State Fair on the following year.
We haven't been to the county fair in several years, so most of these pictures are from the Oyster Festival, which also had the rides and some of the same food.
The Amish are a respected members of the local community. Businesses often have hitching posts for their buggys. If you see a phone booth out by the road that may be an Amish businessman's business phone. The shoulders on the roads are wide so that the horses and buggys won't hold up traffic.
The Amish do not like to have their pictures taken as it is against their religion. The buggy in the picture below is being loaded by the Southern States employee (not Amish)
The picture was taken several years ago. Southern States (which sold feed and house and garden supplies) is no longer at this site.