But the New York Times reports that fire has destroyed the Edwards smokehouse in Surry, Virginia. When I lived in Norfolk, we often drove out to Surry and Smithfield to get ham dinners, with vegetables picked from a garden right outside the window of the dining room at the Staunton Inn (closed long ago).
Then we'd put the top down on my 1967 Corvair Monza Spyder and return home using the ferry run by Mr. Edwards' forebears.
The fire has had ripple effects far beyond Surry. Heritage farmers here and in the Midwest, who raise the rare-breed hogs Mr. Edwards requires for his specialty pork, have lost their biggest customer. A Brooklyn purveyor of sustainable meats who buys those farmers’ hogs and sells Mr. Edwards his pork is grappling with a break in his supply chain. Chefs from Washington to New York are busy adjusting their menus.Ugh. I guess I should be grateful that hipsters are helping to preserve the old ways, but a Southerner doesn't have to adjust his menu.
If you can get real ham, here's what to do with it.
Make thin, crispy corn cakes. Cover with paper thin slices of ham, top those with shucked Chesapeake oysters. Run this under a broiler long enough to make the oysters curl.