Hello! And welcome to the first Blog Idle post of 2013. I'd like to say that it's great to be back but if I'm being really honest with you (which is something I generally try to make a good stab at) then I'd much rather be either asleep or, depending on what time of day you're reading this, sunning myself on the deck, topping up on Ferrero Rochers, or just lying about, not really needing to think about what time it is. But holidays cannot last forever.
Nor, it's sad to say, can ham.
And what better way to kick off the new year than to document my complicated relationship with the deteriorating cut of meat in my refrigerator? What better metaphor (or "meataphor") can there be for the excesses and indulgences of the holiday season that inexorably give way to the tired realities of the working year? What, indeed?
And so, I present to you via my own artwork (in defence of which, I got a D in 7th Form Bursary Art), "The 5 Stages of Ham".
For me, the first Ham Stage is the best - Anticipation. This is the period during which the ham is just imaginary and I reminisce about the Christmas hams of my childhood. Joints that seemed to stay miraculously fresh under a damp teatowel in my mother's fridge for the whole summer.
The long, golden summer of childhood replete with an unending supply of ham sandwiches.
Once the Great And Glorious Leg of Meat arrives the real fun kicks in - the eating part.
Initially I go quite mental with the ham, cutting slices that are indecently thick. In the grip of "ham fever" I will want no other food and will happily eat ham sandwiches for breakfast, lunch and dinner though I might break the monotony a little by having a ham omelette.
This can't last, of course, and eventually I'll settle down to eating sandwiches that can actually be picked up without some kind of supportive wrist-brace. The ham-fever* has peaked at this point and though I do not yet know it, my ham-fandom is on the wane...
The honeymoon is over and I'm starting to wonder if the ham might not be in it for the long haul.
I start to handle the damp teatowel covering the ham somewhat gingerly and sniff at it in a cautious manner.
Is is a bit sticky to the touch?
My flirtation with the ham is coming to an end, and each new sandwich is a question, namely "does this come with mustard or botulism?"
Eventually even the most ardent of ham relationships must end. Between suspicion and rejection there may come several days of denial, or just an awkward period during which both of you know it's over but the bins don't get emptied until the weekend so it's just easier to leave things as they are in the meantime.
Nobody can make you let go of your ham before you are ready, but if people are gagging each time they open the fridge that's a pretty good sign that you need to "let it go".
I am now transitioning from suspicion to rejection, with at least one "denial sandwich" that happened a few days ago about which I felt very uneasy. Post-binning, I expect there will need to be some kind of ritual cleansing of the the ham teatowel.
Are "The 5 Stages of Ham" familiar to you? If so, what stage are you currently in?
* Not to be confused with Hamm-fever, which can last for years.