In Lesson 22, Sue makes Baked Ham with Browned Potatoes for lunch. This is similar to the baked ham recipe that I ate growing up. I thought it was a Depression era recipe from my grandmother, but apparently it predates the Great Depression by quite a bit.
This is the first full meal that Sue and Ruth Ann learn to cook during their Saturday lessons. Each week their adventures appear as a chapter in When Sue Began to Cook, a cookbook in the Bettina’s Best Recipes cookbook collection by Louise Weaver and Helen LeCron. Clicking the link will take you to Lesson 1 so you can follow Sue’s adventures in order.
Every week Sue has something chatty to say in her kitchen diary, and this week is no different. Let’s peek into Sue’s diary and see how the story progresses…
Sue’s Baked Ham Kitchen Diary
“Uncle John and Aunt Lucy will be here for lunch today,” said Mother at breakfast, “so we must plan to have a very good meal. Yes, I believe I’ll have you and Ruth Ann make Baked Ham with Browned Potatoes.” I held my breath. That sounded so hard, and grown-up-i-fied! [Sue is not averse to making up her own words when normal ones won’t do.]
“Besides that, we’ll have canned grean beans, hot biscuits and jam, and some sliced oranges with cake.”
“Whee-ee!” cheered Robin. “That’s a real lunch!”
“You may go to meet Ruth Ann, Sue,” Mother went on, “and buy your own meat at Wilkins’. I’ll tell you exactly what to get. As I want you and Ruth Ann each to learn to make Baked Ham with Browned Potatoes enough for four, we’ll have to use both pans of it for lunch. Ruth Ann won’t mind, I’m sure.”
“Oh, I know she won’t mind, I’m sure. She’ll be so glad to learn to make something real! Somehow it sounds lots more important to be making Baked Ham with Browned Potatoes than any kind of dessert, no matter how good.”
And oh, the Baked Ham was dee-licious! Uncle John is going to have us come out to the farm some Saturday soon and make it again for him, he says.
[Uncle John and Aunt Lucy appear in the other Bettina books. John is a farmer who champions good cooking, no matter who makes it. He was just as appreciative when Bettina cooked, before Sue was born.]
Baked Ham with Browned Potatoes
- 1 frying pan with lid must be oven safe to 425 degrees F
- 1½ lbs sliced ham, cut 1 inch thick Mother had us buy it ourselves and watch the butcher slice it. [From the recipe, this sounds like ham that was not precooked. See notes section.]
- 12 whole cloves
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2 tsp powdered mustard ground mustard, dry
- ½ cup vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 4 potatoes, washed and peeled "good sized", probably medium size Russets
- ½ tsp salt
- Mother showed Ruth Ann and me exactly how to wipe off the ham with a clean, damp cloth, and cut off the rind. Then we each stuck our twelve cloves into the meat, six cloves on each side. (It seemed a funny thing to do.) Then Mother had us each put our ham in a small deep frying pan.
- Next, we mixed the brown sugar, powdered mustard, vinegar, and water and poured the mixture right over the ham in the frying pan. Then we covered the pan with a lid.
- We had already lighted the oven and it was very hot. Mother had us put our pans of meat in and leave them for ten minutes. Then we lowered the fire and let the meat cook that way for forty minutes more. Note: See notes for cooking information.
- Every once in a while Mother had us turn the meat over with a fork and several times she had us take some of the vinegar mixture up in a big kitchen spoon and pour it over the meat. (This is called basting — pouring the juice over the meat, I mean.)
- While the meat was cooking we washed and peeled our potatoes and Mother had us cut each potato in half lengthwise. When the meat had cooked forty minutes, or fifty minutes altogether, we put the potatoes in the pans, too. We laid them, round side down, all around the ham. We sprinkled the salt over them. Then we covered it all up with the lid again and let them cook for twenty-five minutes more. At the end of that time Mother had us look at them. The potatoes weren't quite brown enough, she said, so she had us take off the lid and cook them that way for ten minutes more.
- Baked Ham and Browned Potatoes does smell so good while it's cooking, that even Ruth Ann could hardly wait for lunchtime to try it!