When I was a girl, my mother would buy hams from a butchershop in the Farmer's Market in LA that no longer exists.
These hams were large, fatty, still had hide on them, not very salty, and so delicious you would fall to your knees and weep. They were thick with fat, which made the meat meltingly moist and rich. My father would stand at the table after dinner and just grab chunks of it and eat and eat until he was ill. It was irresistable.
My mother prepared them by putting them in a very low oven for about 16 hours. She did not, and did not have to, soak them in water to de-salt them.
I would take the skin, which had hardened in the roasting, and put it back in oven on a high heat, making the yummiest crackling snacks you ever tasted.
I long for this ham... even a close approximation would do. Because all the ham I've had in the last 20 years is pretty much inedible, dry, salty and completely unappealing.
Last year, I searched the internet and found one place, Uncle or Col. Somebody's... the prep sounded amazing, all natural curing, hanging, on and on. Evidently by the time I was to eat it, the hog would have been dead a year! I talked to the proprietor and ordered a ham, then, as instructed, I soaked it in water overnight and baked it. UGH EW BARF...not anything in the neighborhood of my mother's ham. Horrible stuff, I can't imagine why anyone would eat it.
Someone suggested to me that modern ham is not capable of being as delicious as my mother's simply because hogs are being bred too lean. But that can't be 100% true, can it? Isn't someone, somewhere, breeding nice fat pigs that turn into nice moist hams?
Anyone have a clue what I mean and where I could turn?