Monday, May 23, 2011

Ain't nothing like the real thing!

Coca Cola . . . what’s in a name?  Coca . . . as in coca leaves.  Cola . . . as in Kola nuts.

The coca plant contains the alkaloid cocaine . . . yep, that cocaine, the narcotic. Without coca there would be no cocaine.  The coca leaf has been chewed and brewed for tea traditionally for centuries.  When chewed, coca acts as a mild stimulant and suppresses hunger, thirst, pain, and fatigue.

Kola nut has three times the caffeine of coffee.  It is chewed in many cultures . . . often by African Muslims, who are forbidden to drink alcohol.  Chewing kola nut is a stimulant and can also ease hunger pangs.

So, in case you were wondering, Coca-Cola actually did have cocaine in it  . . . but, alas, no longer.  Coca-Cola has been cocaine-free since 1929. 

How much cocaine Coke actually contained and how much kick you got from it is not known.  But for years the drink eas called  "dope" or "a shot in the arm," while soda fountains were called "hop joints" and Coke delivery trucks "dope wagons."

Coke was  formulated in 1886 by an Atlanta druggist. Among other things it contained . . . and presumably still contains . . . three parts coca leaves to one part cola nut. Coca-cola's recipe is a closely guarded secret with only a handful of people who know the entire recipe.  

Back then cocaine was not considered a dangerous drug and could be purchased over the counter at pharmacies . . .  it was advertised as a benign substitute for alcohol.  Soon after it was introduced, cocaine lost its popularity and the public turned against it.  Coke quietly switched from fresh to "spent" coca leaves  . . . the cocaine removed. 

So Classic Coke isn't exactly THE classic and it ain't nothin' like the real thing!


Incredible as it may seem Coca-cola makes for a moist, delicious ham.  I was looking for a recipe for a ham with a sweet crust and I found this one.  I took a chance and tried it . . . it was delicious!  Don’t be shy . . . give it a try!

Classic Coke Baked Ham With Brown Sugar Crumb Crust

1 Ham, Butt End Or Shoulder 
10 Cups Coke Classic (depending on the size of the ham.  I only used one can for a small ham.
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Cup Bread Crumbs
1/4 Cup Butter
2 Tsp. Dry Mustard
1 Tsp. Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Preheat oven to 350F.  If you eat the ham skin, leave it on, if you don't eat it, remove it now. Place the ham in a roasting pan.  Add about 1 inch of Coke to the pan.

Bake, covered, allowing for 15 minutes per pound.  Baste the ham frequently with the Coke.
Add more Coke to the roasting pan during the cooking as it evaporates to prevent burning.

Turn the ham over 1/2 hour before your baking time ends.

Meanwhile make topping:  In a medium bowl combine the brown sugar, bread crumbs, butter, mustard, and pepper.

After the ham has baked for 15 minutes per pound, remove it from the oven.  Carefully press the crumb mixture onto the ham, don't worry if some falls into the liquid in the roaster.

Return the ham to the oven, UNCOVERED, for 30 to 40 minutes more, until the coating is golden.

Again, don't let the bottom of the roaster dry out -- add more Coke if required.
Let sit 10 minutes before carving.

There will be crumb mixture that has fallen into the roaster. Stir that into the liquid in the roaster, pour into a gravy boat and serve as a sauce.

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