Thursday, November 14, 2013

What are you looking for? Ham loaf and suet

Where can you find . . . brands of butter, favorite cookies, specific cooking gadgets? My inbox is peppered with food wishlists. Most of the time, I can help. I pay close attention whenever I'm out and about, looking for good sources of maple syrup and pomegranate molasses.

Still, sometimes I get stumped. I'll throw these to out to you readers, in hopes that you have spotted them:

Pudding suet. This request comes in every year as the holidays approach, usually from either British ex-pats or people who love British food. Suet is the hard fat around the kidneys of cattle or sheep; hard fat from around the kidneys of pigs usually is used to make lard. But I've learned from British friends that just any old hard cubes of fat won't do. What they want is the shelf-stable version tossed with flour or some type of starch. It's common in England and hardly ever seen in America. It's what most people's steamed pudding recipes require.

Does anyone know a great source of good suet for steamed pudding? 

Ham loaf mix. It was new to me when Chuck Howard, transplanted Ohioan, wrote in. I've seen meatloaf mix, which usually includes ground beef, veal and pork, but I didn't know ham loaf. I had to ask Chuck to clarify:

"It's nothing more than the fresh pork and ham ground together and in Ohio I bought it by the pound like any ground meat. It could be used for patties or a loaf. I'm assuming here I'm going to need to find a meat department that will grind me a ham some time. I'll divide it, freeze and use as needed."

Has anyone seen a meat cutter or butcher who makes ham loaf mix? 

If you've seen either one, respond here or email me at And if you have more food unicorns you're trying to spot, pass them on. If I don't have a source, I'll see if I can find one.