Thursday, 4 February 2016

German ham

"They gave him Tea, and Cakes, and Jam,
And slices of delicious ham."

I have long thought that the ham in Hillaire Belloc's Jim would have been “kasseler rippenspeer” which I first ate as a child in South London. The first and only time I have eaten it in Germany was in Aachen. I later discovered that a butcher called Cassel who lived and worked in Berlin in the nineteenth century invented the "Kasseler"  process. After smoking a large loin of pork, he then placed it in brine, drawing moisture out of the meat and preventing the bacteria from spreading. Not only did it preserve the meat but it gave it a distinctive taste. It is unlike other dried hams, such as Parma ham or Serrano ham, I think because it still contains more moisture than those kinds.

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