The Ham Rut

I heard a story quite a while ago about a deliciously cooked ham. The dinner guests just raved about how good that ham tasted. Finally, one of the guests asked her host what her secret was to preparing such a succulent tasting ham!

She replied that her special secret was that just before cooking, she trimmed off both ends of the ham. “And why do you do that,” the inquisitive guest asked?

The proud host then explained, “Well, that’s how my mother taught me to cook it. That’s the way I have been doing it for years, and it always comes out delicious.”

Not satisfied, the curious one pressed on. “But why did she trim off both ends of the ham? How in the world does that make it taste so good?”

“I really don’t know,” her guest replied. “I’ve never thought about it. But I’ll ask her, and I will get back with you.”

The next day she called her mom and asked why she trimmed the ends off the ham before cooking, hoping to get some secret cooking answer. But her mom was no help at all. “Why, honey, that’s just how your grandmother taught me. She always did it that way, and her ham was always delicious,” she answered. “Why don’t you ask her?”

Feeling like she was now on a quest for something very important, she indeed called her grandmother and asked the same question. Much to her dismay, she got the same answer. Grandma simply said, “Oh my dear, that’s just way my mother taught me.”

Now desperate for an answer, she called her great-grandmother and asked, “Why did you trim both ends off of a ham before cooking it? Does it cook better that way? Does it have something to do with the juices?”

The wise old lady replied, “Oh sweetie, cutting the ends off of a ham has absolutely nothing to do with any of those things.”

“But then why did you cut the ends off?” the young lady asked, now very puzzled.

She answered, “I trimmed the ends off so it would fit into my pan!”

Now there’s quite a lesson!

Are you into a “ham rut?” Lots of people are. It is so easy to get into a rut or routine and not even know why we are doing things.

Many times, it is because we have been taught or have observed things. After doing them a certain way for awhile, we find it hard to change. Even though we have never even asked ourselves why we are doing things the way we are doing them, we just continue on in the same old way.

This is especially true with our thinking patterns. We think we are thinking the right way, because we learned it somewhere, and we just continue thinking that way without ever stopping and asking, “Why?”

In the world that we live in today, change is happening almost everyday. The days of staying at one job for 40 years and then retiring with a pension are pretty much gone. The need to continue to self-educate and improve our skills is becoming a vital necessity rather than an edge.

It’s always a good idea to take a look at the things we think and do and ask, “Why?” in order to find out where it all started. We can then determine if we need to change our thinking or course of action.

I’m certainly not saying that we ought to change something just for the sake of change. But it can be very beneficial to examine and evaluate.

And, in doing so, if you find you are in a “ham rut,” then why not put the whole ham in the pan and see how it cooks?