Chinook ham

When I came upon the phrase “Chinook ham” in my studies, I had to pause.

Chinook ham

Not to refresh my memory; I’d never heard this term previously.  Have you?

But I wondered: was this a brand name?

Or was it a dialect term in Pacific Northwest English?

Come ham or high water (sorry, had to justify using that graphic), I still can’t answer that question.  The evidence is that limited.

An ad in our own Spokane Daily Chronicle (Tuesday, April 18, 1916, page 17, column 5)–same paper I carried as a kid–advises,

“For Easter Sunday
Eat Chinook Ham.
If you try them you will eat them all year.  An extra good special on these hams for Easter only.
Also other live wire specials this week at the
Big East Side Meat Dept.”

[This place was at Washington Market, intersection of Washington and Main streets, downtown.  That’s now the location of, a wine tasting room, a “parkade” and the newly razed Cyrus O’Leary’s restaurant.)

The same newspaper, on Friday, August 11, 1916 (page 18, column 5) sports an advertisement from Metzger’s Market at Sprague & Wall–now the location of the beloved Domini’s “no veggies, never” sandwich shop–downtown, apparently another location where various merchants had stands to hawk their wares.  That idea’s been coming back lately in town.  Metzger’s long-winded slogan was “Ten steps to any traction car–count them.  Few steps to Water Power cars.”   I gather these traction cars were the trolleys we had until 1936; my dad was present at the decommissioning parade and burning of the last one.  WP cars must have been electric, no?

Anyhow, the notice from Class A Markets, “the best of meats”, suggests,

Put a good, thick slice of Chinook ham in a small pan and cover it with sweet milk.  Cover, and put in oven and let simmer until brown.  Serve hot.  This is delicious.”

And here the trail goes cold.  I haven’t found further references to Chinook ham, not even where the Chinook, WA newspaper has printed ham recipes 🙂

On an incidental, in fact barely related note, Chinook salmon was going for about 18 cents a pound at the time.  Mmmmm…