Maybe it is just a “Plate o’ Shrimp” moment, but after a significant amount of time of ham barely being on my radar — you know, the occasional ham & cheese sandwich, but nothing terribly memorable — I have had some great chunks of ham in the last few days. The first was at the Thanksgiving party mentioned yesterday. The second was this morning at a greasy-spoon restaurant called Diane’s.
I had only eaten at Diane’s once before, about a year ago. It is your typical inexpensive eggs+bacon+pancake diner. Apparently, it was not notable enough to return to within the past year. This morning, in an act of laziness we decided to go out to breakfast. The contenders were Bar Carlo and Diane’s. Out of cheapness and a little variety (also, its proximity to a dry cleaners due to an event I will likely expand upon later), we opted for the latter.
I ordered the ham & eggs, which the menu said came with ham, two eggs, and two pancakes. I was expecting a couple of slices of honeybaked-ham-quality meat. You know, processed just enough and mechanically sliced such that you know, on an intellectual level, that the piece of perfectly consistent meat you are eating came from an animal, but with very little to physically remind you of the fact. I thought this because, well, after two eggs and two pancakes, how much room for ham do you expect to have left? What I got absolutely surprised me — in a good way! It was huge! There was one giant plate for the ham, with the eggs crowded in at the edge. There was a separate giant plate for the pancakes. Moreover, this was not just some abstract concept of meat processed at a manufacturing facility. This was a hunk of pig flesh! There were giant chunks of fat, ringed by skin. Cross-sections of bone were clearly visible. One even had marrow!
I never even touched the pancakes.
By the time I ate the eggs and as much of the ham as I could fit in my belly, the ultimate fate of the pancakes was a foregone conclusion. They were clearly not going to be eaten. This was too much food.
I am certain that I could not eat like this every day. Heck, I doubt I could even pull it off once a month without feeling dirty. But as a rare treat, it was amazing. It was delicious. It was incredible. And this, friends, is why I believe ham will become the new bacon.
P.S. Kim was a little grossed out when I wore the marrow bone as a pinky ring.