“Marginally Unremarkable” Bourbon Ham, Kitchen Grief, Self-Compassion and Hope Springs

“Marginally Unremarkable” Bourbon Ham, Kitchen Grief, Self-Compassion and Hope Springs
Don’t tell my husband I used his good bourbon on this ham. Take a ham and cover it in honey and bourbon. However much honey and bourbon you want. It will all be good. Throw a handful of cloves on there. Cover it with foil. Bake at 375 degrees F for about 4 hours.

Truth be told, bourbon makes me want to wretch. Don’t tell anyone in Kentucky that I just said that. However, it’s not too shabby baked in a cake or poured over a ham. It’s hard to f up a ham. It really is. A cured ham is already cooked. Already crammed with flavor. Anything you put on it is really just a finishing touch, and a great way to make the house smell good.

It was “potpourri ham” I was interested in today. First, because I had zero time to cook anything truly remarkable (remember, the title states this ham is marginally unremarkable). Second, because I needed a fair amount of aromatherapy in my kitchen today. “Why”, you may ask?


Fruit salad of the day: Fruit salads are a key component of my “Unassing “ regimen.

Please, first, have some watermelon with fresh sweet mint. Yes, it’s refreshing. It’s delightful. It will dissolve on our tongues and distract us from the agony of this:

Horror Sound effects: **WREE WREE WREE WREE WREE**

WREE WREE WREE WREE. This week in the *beta test session of my Home Management Mentorship Program*, we’re talking about TRAUMA BLOCKS in regards to clutter. Since the hurricane and our relocation, I’ve been in grief over losing my cooking school, my orderly kitchen, my garden (especially my birds and squirrels) …. and all the other things that I liked about Camp Lejuene. Sure, there’s plenty that I didn’t like about living there. Dwelling on the unhealthy shit things I disliked made it all the easier to look on the bright side after the upheaval. However, while I’m very good at looking at the bright side of things, no amount of positive thinking can trick one out of PURE grief.

Existing grief ALWAYS finds a way to be present in your life. Did you know that? Well it does. I could blame the assed-up nature of my kitchen on my children. I do have SEVEN (ALL CAPS) children, after all. Children are easy to blame for the problems in your life. I mean, it’s a shitty thing to do to them, but adults everywhere generally agree that children can be blamed for just about everything. Got a “toxic person” in your life? You can blame them for the rest of your problems. There. No one can blame you for your assed up kitchen anymore. Or anything, for that matter. And now all your problems are solved, right?

My grief of the hurricane and all that I lost settled right into the clutter of my kitchen. Right at the heart of me. Right at the heart of what I do and how I create and how I breathe. I went from a kitchen where my spices where kept in world-class order and where I had a fully-equipped cooking school, to a kitchen where the spices fall out of the cupboards – and I can’t find a cookie sheet. Frustrations that further my grief and push me to the border of hopeless.

This is as far as I got today. It was very taxing on me. Hauling all my purchases out of the cupboards was enough for one day.

Even if you do blame your kids for your messy house or “toxic person x”, the fact still remains that you’re living in a mess. And I think it has everything to do with you and your grief. So today, feeling ready to make some progress, I decided to address my Kitchen Grief and attempt to Unass the place. Sure, I could leave it all there. Who would notice? Who would care? The funny thing with NOT resolving grief clutter is that every time you look at it, you’re sort of “retraumatized”. And then you stay stuck. And that’s just the pits. It’s the wound that keeps on wounding.

Music of choice for my grief cleaning….

My soundtrack to my kitchen today is Tracy Chapman. Tracy understands my grief. She’s got me. She understands my grief of losing my garden and my squirrels, and my river. And my cooking school. And my husband coming home every night. And she certainly understands the injustice of being given a crappy moldy house in disrepair, and all the pressures in the world telling you to just STAY THERE AND TAKE IT because of some archaic notion of what a “good CO’s wife is supposed to do”. Tracy and I both call BS on all of it. Tracy and I both know that gardens can be replanted. And kitchens can be Unassed. And that it’s 2019 for f sake. And as a CO’s wife, I got the stiff arm more than not anyway. You’re dammed if you do, and dammed if you don’t and I find it funny that the more rank and accolades my husband has pinned to his body, the more scrutiny I get thrown at me. So why not just do something different?

*edit* 4/30/19 Waves hello!

“Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

I must be ready to move on because I bought some plants. Little soothing replacements for the garden that was destroyed in the hurricane. Rosemary, mint and sweet mint that I used to garnish my watermelon.

And almost as if on cue, this little White-Breasted Nut Hatch popped out of her home, right in front of my kitchen window. And only because I was ready, did I dust off my Nikon, and I used the last 30 seconds of battery to photograph her. Her husband is here too. I’m happy for them. They are at a very exciting time in their lives – starting a family and everything.

I had a small salad for lunch with balsamic vinegar – which is my dressing of choice. Eating a lot of vegetables is part of my “unassing process”. AKA, self care. It wasn’t enough after my mile swim, but I had the ham to look forward to for dinner and that’s something.

“Marginally Unremarkable Ham” is good. Mostly, it made my house smell amazing. And I really needed my house to smell amazing today. We ate it with rice. Simple. I bought the whole ham for it’s “bean soup possibilities” anyway. Maybe I’ll make some ham and bean soup tomorrow.

I ordered a new camera battery from amazon. It should be here in two days. There’s a lot of wildlife photography I’d like to do here before we move to Germany. Of course you know I’ve made animal friends here. Of course I have. And I’ll have to tell you the story of the cat and the horse who are best friends. They are neighbors of ours. Now that’s legitimately remarkable. Phenomenal, even.

Shannon Vavich



Leave a Reply