There is a horrendous void in the celebratory calendar between New Years Eve and Australia Day.
A void that can only be filled with ham.
Enter the patented Accidental Household's Happy Ham Day.
Well... alright, so its not actually patented. Yet. Therefore, if you enjoy ham as much as we do, probably best to jump on the bandwagon now. To assist you, here are the Accidental Happy Ham Day social conventions:
1) there must be a hot, freshly roasted, generously basted ham.
2) only invite people whom the whole host family likes. No charity invitations are to be issued to annoying friends, no relatives are to be invited solely out of a sense of duty. If you wouldn't invite them to the pub, then Happy Ham Day is not the time for a catchup.
3) it's BYO sides. If guests want a sandwich, then they had better bring bread. And if they want roast veggies, then owning a car oven is advisable. (Do they exist? Perhaps they should.) The hosts of Happy Ham Day are obliged to provide ham, and ham only. Anything else that may be available is a delightful bonus.
And so, adhering to those fine rules, yesterday we warmed our new CityCottage with a delicious, clove studded ham, litres of cider and a boat load of friends. (A boat slightly larger than a dinghy, but smaller than a ferry. I suspect about a yacht's-worth.)
Oh, the ham! I'm quite sure the pig, had he known how amazing he was going to taste and how he would be fussed over and complimented, would have considered willingly donating his left leg to the cause. The basting made it glow, and the salads and breads our friends brought as sides complemented it perfectly. (For the record, I did do up some roast veggies. They were quite well received, but nothing compared to Mr Ham.)
We sat down to lunch at the table, and didn't move until far, far later that evening. We ate all the ham, the sides, and then ordered in pizza. We drank all the cider, the wine, then sent an envoy to the bottle shop. Four rowdy dogs played under the table, and four rowdy kids ran up and down the hall, all insisting they were not tired, and all sleeping the minute their heads hit their beds.
I sat at the laden table and finally spent time, after far too many years, with some of the people I love most in the world. The best friends of my youth burst from high school and scattered to the four winds - different careers, different states, different continents. But now, twelve years later, we all meandered back home at same time, and congregated around my dining table. Its a strange, wonderful old world.
I just wish I had some ham left over to eat in it!