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Patrick's Piece - November

With the holidays approaching, many Hampton Roads tables will feature a country-style ham, a hallmark of the Old Dominion since early colony days. Since there was no refrigeration available to early settlers, meats were first cured for storage rather than flavor. But the combination of native razorback hog meat, curing spices, and smoking wood made hams a favorite; they were routinely shipped to epicures, from the king down, in Mother England during Colonial times. During the Revolutionary War, an aide of General Washington seized every Smithfield ham available, believing they would strengthen the American troops.

Patrick Evans-Hylton, BFBLHR's food historian, is a Johnson & Wales-trained chef, as well as a food authority on Chesapeake Bay regional cuisine and author of the upcoming book, "Dishing Up Virginia." His work appears in print, television and radio. Read more of his adventures at