Is some French ham raw?

Aug 23rd, 2013, 02:02 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 50
Is some French ham raw?

Hello - Can anyone enlighten me about what I ate in Arles? I had a ham and cheese sandwich on a delicious crusty baguette. However the "ham" was unlike any ham I had previosuly eaten. It was quite pink, very moist and thinly sliced. It had a similar appearance to smoked salmon (the moist kind, not the dry kind). After I thought about it, I wondered whether it might have been raw, and how safe it was to eat? In the US, as far as I know, all ham is fully cooked. Any thoughts?
artfan is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2013, 02:15 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 8,827
Raw ham in Arles? Not hardly. All ham has to be cured by one process or another, and would be quite different from what you would normally get at home. It was probably Jambon de Bayonne from the Pays Basque region of southwest France.
Robert2533 is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2013, 02:28 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 47,849
Sounds like jambon blanc (no, it's not raw). There are various kinds of ham known as jambon cru, but none is truly raw - they're all salted and dried (cured).
StCirq is online now  
Aug 23rd, 2013, 03:42 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,168
Lots of hams are raw in the sense that they have not been cooked, but curing them does the same thing as StCirq notes. Prosciutto crudo is one example. My father cured his own hams, as did many Southerners of his generation. You could eat them "raw" if you could stand the salt.

However, I have never seen a real cured ham with the kind of texture to which you refer. However, I regularly eat raw bacon (after James Beard recommended it in one of his books) and lucky Italians eat lardo, cured strips of pork fat -- uncooked -- without harm.
Ackislander is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2013, 05:29 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
many hams - even in the us are not cooked. i think only boiled ham is. the others are cured - as in europe - and can be eaten cold or heated (but not cooked).
nytraveler is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2013, 05:50 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,999
Ummm, most hams in the US are cooked. Country ham is cured, and probably can be eaten raw. Ham in your deli is cooked, please.
Pancetta is cured, but I don't believe you would eat it on a sandwich. Prosciutto is cured and much like country ham in a way. You can eat it as is.
To say that only boiled ham is cooked in the US is just not correct. Ham off the bone, Black Forest, etc. etc.--cooked.
Gretchen is online now  
Aug 23rd, 2013, 11:57 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 21,992
A moist ham is cooked, so you did not eat raw ham.
kerouac is offline  
Aug 24th, 2013, 04:45 AM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 50
Thank you all - I'm feeling better about what I ate. It wasn't bad, but the consistency wasn't my favorite. I don't eat much ham, but can see that I have some research to do on the different varieties.

In any event, I think I'll leave the raw bacon for others to enjoy, but that's interesting.
artfan is offline  
Aug 24th, 2013, 05:10 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,168
At better cafes in Paris, you will have the opportunity to order sandwiches with lots of different kinds of ham, though only one per sandwich! Over the course of a week, you can try a lot of different styles.
Ackislander is offline  
Aug 24th, 2013, 10:19 AM
  #10  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,476
Hey art,

Aren't you glad to learn that you didn't die from eating raw meat?

Did you try steak tartare?

ira is offline  
Aug 24th, 2013, 11:28 AM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 50
Yes Ira, I'm glad to know I didn't die (very funny!). But I do like to know what I'm eating, or in this case, ate. I always thought pork supposed to be cooked well, but maybe that is not current thinking.

Steak tartare not for me, because I don't really like beef, cooked or otherwise. However I have been known to enjoy a good tuna tartare now and then (although very picky about where).
artfan is offline  
Aug 24th, 2013, 11:32 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 21,992
I also enjoy eating raw bacon. In fact, tomorrow I am going to the Vosges mountains and hope to bring back a 2kg slab of special country bacon from my grandmother's birthplace, most of which will be eaten raw.

Meat processing standards are extremely high in Europe and U.S. methods such as soaking meat in chlorine bleach are not necessary.
kerouac is offline  
Aug 24th, 2013, 11:36 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,999
K. that's an OLD story/perjorative.
As for ham being raw--it IS cured so it really is not raw, and raw raw pork should not be eaten.
What's with the "moist" definition. Prosciutto is "moist". Country ham is NOT moist when cooked. LOL
Gretchen is online now  
Aug 24th, 2013, 11:39 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 21,992
It is not an old story. American chicken is still soaked in a chlorine bleach solution since it spends so much time floating in water full of fecal matter.

Google is your friend.
kerouac is offline  
Aug 24th, 2013, 11:57 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 47,849
Regarding the "moist" definition, those little packets of sliced jambon you can buy all over France are packed in water and have a slightly "slippery" feel to them. Maybe that's what you're referencing.
StCirq is online now  
Aug 24th, 2013, 12:58 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 3,093
If it had a light pink colour, as opposed to the typical darker reddish colour of smoked/cured ham, it was indeed cooked.

By the way, the cooked ham has a much shorter span of going bad than the "raw" ham that has been dried in smoke.
quokka is offline  
Aug 24th, 2013, 02:11 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 4,836
If it's not too boring, a little bit of biological history here. The reason there is (was?) a requirement for U.S. ham to be cooked is because of the danger of trichinosis, a disease in which a parasitic worm invades the muscle after the victim has eaten infected raw or undercooked pig or wild game meat.

It used to be a big problem in the States until the disease cycle was understood. Infected raw meat scraps were being fed to swine mixed in with their food. Man then eats infected pork, and gets really sick. Regulations were passed that made it mandatory to cook pig food containing meat, and to be extra safe laws were passed forbidding selling uncooked pork. The problem essentially went away, and there are currently only about 11 or 12 cases per year in the States, mostly from eating undercooked game or home raised pigs. I'm not sure, but I think the requirement for cooking all pork products is still in place.

It never was much of a problem in Europe, as cooking pig feed has been the norm for generations. Almost zero risk from eating raw pork in Europe, is my understanding.

Don't do it in Asia, Eastern Europe, or the developing world, though. There are about 10,000 cases in China a year, with something like 200 deaths.
nukesafe is offline  
Aug 24th, 2013, 04:45 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
Um- I have never seen a deli with one type of ham - usually there are numerous types of ham and several of them prosciutto and other similar - are cured - not cooked.
nytraveler is offline  
Aug 25th, 2013, 03:57 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,168
Kerouac, what would I call this "special country bacon" should I be so fortunate as to find myself in the Vosges?
Ackislander is offline  
Aug 25th, 2013, 04:03 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 22,095
To digress a tad: I cook with many cured meats, including pancetta, prosciutto, guanciale, etc.
Like to use a bit of pork in many shellfish dishes, soups, and various pasta sauces.

I was surprised to be served pancetta on bread in inland southern Italy; I think of it as a meat to be incorporated into cooking, not served as the centerpiece of a course, cold.
ekscrunchy is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:13 AM.