Chinese ham

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Monday, January 13, 2014

THANKS to my father, the Chinese ham has been a tradition in my family. The ham appears magically and with much anticipation during the Noche Buena. When my father was still alive, he would make sure that all his children and his siblings would have ham. So it was almost automatic that when Christmas came, the ham would be there. When my father died, we had to find our own ham. Last year, because of the scarcity of the ham, we were not able to eat that particular ham during the Noche Buena. We had to find an alternative. It was okay but it was not what we wanted. So, this Christmas, we were determined that this would not happen again. It did not but it was a close call.

We actually got the hams; yes, hams two days before Christmas. The whole month of December was spent looking for those hams. We wanted to order from Manila but we were not so sure about the quality so we had to get the hams here. We went to all the malls but pffft, no ham. As a last desperate shot in the dark (drama!), we went to one of the malls. A woman was ahead of us and she asked if they had any Chinese hams. Pffft. My heart sank.

What now, inihaw! Then, for some reason, I overheard another woman on the phone. She was talking about hams. And nonchalantly, she mentioned to us that if we were looking for Chinese hams. I wanted to scream not so loud because that woman who was also looking might hear us. (so much for the spirit of sharing!) It turned out that she was a supervisor of that company that was selling hams and that she even knew me. She told me that she still had a ham in another mall. I almost screamed out, pa reserve mo na. And then to my wonder she said, meron pa dalawa, so tatlo na! And I almost screamed again, kunin na namin! She called the two malls and reserved the hams for us. She said that we would have to go to two other malls to get the ham. I wanted to embrace her but also I groaned inside because the traffic was already bad. But hey I was not complaining the hams were there and our prayers were answered. So off we went. The first mall we went to was so busy and we had to wait sometime because the ham was not even listed in the inventory. We waited for another 30 minutes or so. When I finally got the ham, I wanted to light fireworks but they are banned in Davao. I was so happy that I did something so rare. I asked one of our sons to take a pic of me holding the ham. After getting the first one, we then proceeded to the other mall. I wanted to burn tires but there is a 30kph speed limit! Our children stayed behind because they wanted to do some shopping. I did not care about the shopping, I cared that there were still two hams out there waiting to be cooked! It was worse in the second mall because the crowd was just.... When the saleslady saw us she practically rammed the hams in our faces, Seeeeeer, ang eeeeeeenyong ham!


I called George the chef who has this talent of making the Chinese ham simply delectable. He said that he could only come on the 25th. No problem because we were not having dinner on the 24th at the house. So on Christmas morning, George came with his big karahay and started cooking the hams! Everyone in the family was happy and Chona was watching how the hams were being cooked. We were going to have ham for Christmas dinner AND ham for New Year also! That was the good news. The bad news was we were having ham on the 26th, the 27th, the 28th and so forth, OR until the ham is no more! Ham for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I still have to find a way to make paksiw na Chinese ham! Miguel put it nicely when he said December 26 should be officially called National Leftovers Day! I guess we all can identify with that. So it was ham and ham until nahuman ang ham. But no one was complaining so loud because we knew we were all grateful with the ham.

God is good. He arranged the whole thing. I believe that. I know that!

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 13, 2014.


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