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Anne's Kitchen: Notes at the New Year


Anne Freeze shares the recipe for a crockpot ham that

Anne Freeze shares the recipe for a crockpot ham that "knocked her knee-highs off." Check out the Weaver D's muffins recipes, too. Photo by:


Anne Freeze



A friend of mine who I've known since first moving to Columbus teases me about the sell-by dates and expiration dates of the food in my home. Granted, I do lose track of what is in my pantry, and l do sometimes forget that little dish of leftover whatever pushed to the back of my refrigerator. For the most part, this status is a result of a) having too much stuff, b) just an average day in "Anne Land" (I forget what's in there) and c) Terry and I really do try to not waste food. We faithfully composted for several years until we gave up our gardening efforts. My mother, who composted before I knew the word, influences me. She had a large pile of leaves, horse manure (which she harvested from the University of George barns) and kitchen garbage. Of course, I was embarrassed to death, but that's normal for a preteen. Now, of course, I'm proud of her hard work to garden naturally. 


Let me be perfectly clear: We do not eat rotten food. We simply try and repurpose, recompose leftover food. I quickly become bored with leftovers, so I try and disguise them any way I can. And Terry and I may be at the forefront on the year's hottest and, for my money, best trend: anti-food waste. I googled "food waste movement" and 5,600,000 results appeared (somewhere). There are groups devoted to it, research and studies being done about it, and grass roots movements starting even in the Golden Triangle (see The Dispatch, Jan. 4). So, here are some ways we use what we have: 


  • I'm trying hard not to buy any more mustards and pickles and hot sauces. Enough is enough. 


  • I use leftover protein (meat, ham, seafood) and appropriate vegetables in Sunday night quesadillas, or turn it into quiche. 


  • Make soup. I recently made New Year's Day soup from leftover hoppin' john, turnip greens and diced ham. I made a light cream base from frozen chicken broth and added these to it. It was yummy. 


    You get the idea.  




    Ham and muffins 


    So, we had a wonderful New Year's Day lunch with family and friends. Turnip greens, Daddy's hoppin' john, Weaver D's cornbread and crockpot ham. Weaver D had a restaurant in Athens, Georgia, for years, Weaver D's Delicious Fine Foods. The sign behind the counter read "Automatic for the People." (Sound familiar, all you R.E.M. fans?) It fell on hard times a few years ago, and I'm not sure if it is still open. I found a cornbread recipe of his in an Athens cookbook; I use it a lot. However, at the lake over the holidays I couldn't find it so I turned to the Internet. I found a different one with his name; it was also wonderful. Below are both of them. I mean, the new one with mayonnaise was really, really yummy (it had mayo in it, so yeah, it was).  


    I also made a ham in the crockpot and it knocked my knee-highs off. The slow cooking infused the ham with flavor all the way through (good and bad thing). Good because it's good; not as good if you want ham pieces that are savory and not sweet. Eating it right out of the pot, hot, was amazing. Using it over the next few days (and, yes, weeks) was harder than a baked ham because it was so tender it was falling off of the bones. You couldn't easily slice it for sandwiches.  


    I joined two recipes, using one for the method and one for an outstanding glaze. I have made notes on them below. 


    So, it's time to get into the kitchen. Use your imagination and cook outside of the recipe. Open the refrigerator and imagine what you can do with that cold broccoli staring at you. You'll be surprised. 






    Serves 6-8 




    1 butt-portion ham (about 6-9 pounds) 


    3 cups light brown sugar (this was way too much; I recommend 2) 




  • Remove ham from plastic wrap; also remove plastic circle that is covering the bone. 


  • Cover the bottom of the crockpot with a good layer of brown sugar. 


  • Place the ham face (flat side) down in the crockpot. 


  • Cover the top of the ham with the remaining brown sugar. 


  • Cover with lid (or foil if lid doesn't fit). 


  • Cook on low for 8-10 hours, or high for 6-8 hours. (I cooked on low for 6 hours and high for 1 hour; could have cooked 1 hour less). 


  • Flip ham in the last hour or two to ensure that the top of the ham is allowed time to soak in the juices. (There is a lot of juice) 


  • Remove ham from crockpot when ham easily falls apart. Pull ham apart (being careful not to burn your fingers) to separate the meat from the fat and bone. 


    (SOURCE:, notes by Anne Freeze) 




    For the glaze: 


    2 cups brown sugar 


    1 cup yellow mustard 


    1/4 cup apple cider vinegar 


    1/2 teaspoon black pepper 


    (This is the glaze I used. I had handwritten it from somewhere. I added ground cloves) 




  • I cooked this together on the stovetop and then in the last hour poured it, about 1/4 cup at a time, over the ham. I could have just used this without the brown sugar in the bottom.  






    Makes 12 muffins 




    1 1/3 cups self-rising white cornmeal 


    1 tablespoon sugar 


    1 egg, slightly beaten 


    1 1/3 cup buttermilk 


    4 tablespoons butter, melted. 




  • Preheat oven to 425 F.  


  • Combine cornmeal and sugar in a mixing bowl, make a well in the center. Combine egg, buttermilk and butter; add to dry ingredients and stir until smooth. n Spoon into greased muffin tins, filling two-thirds full. Bake 20 minutes or until golden. 






    Makes 24 muffins 




    1/4 cup vegetable oil 


    3 cups self-rising white cornmeal mix 


    1/4 cup sugar 


    2 cups buttermilk 


    1/2 cup butter, melted 


    1 tablespoon mayonnaise 


    3 large eggs, lightly beaten 




  • Preheat oven to 425 F. 


  • Spoon 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil into each of 24 standard muffin cups. Heat muffin pans in oven 5 minutes. 


  • Combine cornmeal mix and sugar in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture. Stir together buttermilk and remaining ingredients; add to cornmeal mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Spoon batter into hot muffin pans, filling two-thirds full. 


  • Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven; tip muffins on their sides in the pan, using a knife. Serve warm.



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