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Ham-Bone Pie
By Rob Terrell

Several years ago, one of the other VGG members decided to have a Thanksgiving dinner event thingy, but being a lazy VGG member decided to make it potluck so that he wouldn't have to do any cooking himself. Given the culinary skills represented by this group, this was a dangerous thing to do indeed — just do a search for Jason's hush puppies recipe for a clue.

When asked what I'd bring, I would say, as is my way, "I have no fucking clue" and "leave me the fuck alone" until when really pressed — now that I think about how much pressing was going on, it must have been T. Mike having this event — I promised to bring a Ham-Bone Pie.

I made up some story about how this was a southern culinary delicacy, a tradition in my family's holiday tradition. For some reason, they (now this one T. Mike pressing for info has somehow become an army of annoyance) bought it. And — this was key — stopped bugging me about it. I was born in New Jersey, but they still bought it. And it was never mentioned again. I skipped the event, as is my way, probably because I forgot, as is my way, and it was pretty over.

Except in future years the Ham-Bone Pie would sometimes draw a mention here or there. And thus a legend grew: of a pie that was so light and flaky, so delicate and sweet, and yet tasting of honey-glazed ham, even possessing a ham bone poised gently in the middle. Grumblings and rumors began to surface in the group that maybe such a pie didn't exist at all, that I made the whole thing up. I realized that someday I was going to have to back up this mystical pie with some real baked goods.

And thus began the experiments. I decided to develop a pie that I could spring on the guys this Thanksgiving and thus save face.

Exhibit A: the modified apple pie. Thinking the Ham-Bone Pie to be a dessert pie, at this point anyway, I found an apple pie recipe and simply substituted chunks of ham for the apples. Everything else was exactly the same: amount of sugar, baking time, everything. Not having any honey-glazed lying about, I made do with some deli slices I had. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown and presto!

The end result: it's like eating shoes in a sweat-and-sour sauce. Hammy, hammy shoes.

Exhibit B: the modified cherry pie. This time I decided to try to steer clear of the problems in the above pie by making an actual cherry pie, but adding bacon bits to the cherry filling. I had a hard time getting the neighbor's dog to eat it.

Dejected, I did what any self-respecting researcher would do: head to the internet to download some porn. Along the way I found myself on a recipe site, and did a search for "ham pies." The results would shock you (although not nearly as much as the results of my porn search): there were dozens of ham pie recipes available. Apparently there is a rich southern tradition of ham-based pies! However, none of them really fit my needs. These were dinner pies. I needed a dessert pie.

In the end, it was easiest to simply redefine the "Ham-Bone Pie" of my youth as a dinner pie, and to claim loudly that anyone who thought otherwise was sadly mistaken. So I decided combine the best parts of each of the recipes I found and, with the insertion of a ham bone, christen it "Ham-Bone Pie" and pretend it was the pie of my youth.

Ham-Bone Pie

Serves 6
 2 c Honey-glazed ham, cut
 1 c Swiss cheese, shredded
 1/3 c Onion, chopped
 2 c Milk
 4 Eggs
 1 c Bisquick baking mix
 1/8 ts Pepper
 GREASE pie plate. Place ham bone in center of plate. Sprinkle ham, 
 cheese and onion in pie plate. BEAT remaining ingred. 15 sec. in blender
 on high speed. Pour into pie plate around bone.
 BAKE 35-40 min. at 400 or til knife inserted comes out clean. Cool 5 min.
 Cut into 6 servings.
 DELIVER to your friends. Leave RAPIDLY to avoid their WRATH after they eat.

Of course, me being me, I never got around to making this pie. I really hope Jason's planning on other foodstuffs at his Thanksgiving potluck this year. Once I figured out how to make the pie, actually making it was far less interesting.

But if any of you actually ventures to try this, I'd love to know how it goes.

© copyright 2000 The Van Gogh-Goghs