Ham of Dreams

In the 1930s, Harry J. Hoenselaar worked at a honey-glazed ham store in Detroit, handing out samples and teaching drugstore clerks how to slice hams for sandwiches. He had long since mastered knifing ham from the bone, but he knew there had to be a better way.

Then Harry had a dream, and with a tire jack, a pie tin, a washing machine motor, and a knife, he fashioned and patented the world’s first ham spiralizer. He later bought the Detroit store on Eight Mile Road in Detroit where he once worked from the owner’s widow in 1957.

This, the original Honey Baked Ham store,  eventually spawned a company with 417 stores, from Southern California to New Hampshire. The busiest is in a suburb of Birmingham, Ala. After decades of familial wrangling and consolidation, the entire operation has landed in the lap of Linda van Rees, a granddaughter, who moved the company headquarters to Alpharetta, Georgia, in 2015.

Many people will bake a spiral-sliced ham, but it’s best bring the ham to room temperature, twist a steak knife around the small center bone, and follow the natural lines of the meat to cut smaller pieces for the table.

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