La Tienda in the Press
Virginia Law Weekly - March 18, 2011
Virginia’s HamRichard Massony
I’m standing over my largest cast-iron pot, using a wooden spoon to stir a murky, steaming broth, and wondering if something has gone terribly wrong. I have decided to spend my Sunday afternoon simmering a pot of New Orleans-style white beans with ham hocks, a comforting one-pot dish that will help me come down from the high of five days of Mardi Gras. However, there is something different about these beans: they are positively perfuming my apartment with an intense odor, a smell that is musky, sweet, and porky. Instead of using store-bought pork shanks, I am seasoning my beans with a single mammoth ham hock from one of Virginia’s oldest and finest ham producers, S. Wallace Edwards & Sons. The hock is almost the size of a cabbage, and its meat is darker and smokier than anything that might be called "ham" in a supermarket deli. It is a freak hock. And it is doing something to my beans.