Jesse Thorn had me on Bullseye again to talk links. We discussed Benton's ham (see if you can make it past the "we're about to go ham" crack at the beginning) and Senna, one of my favorite films from the past six months.
Allan Benton makes ham, some of the most delicious ham you'll ever taste. In a pair of documentaries, Benton talks about his approach to life, business, and ham. The first is short, just a couple of minutes, and offers a taste of Benton's daily schedule:
And this one is a more straightforward documentary look at Benton and his philosophy of ham.
Benton was interviewed by Esquire in 2009:
It's not the dollar that motivates me so much as the compliment.
and profiled by Gourmet in 2006, in which Benton takes a trip to some of the NYC restaurants using his products:
David Chang of Momofuku, the iconoclastic ramen and small plates bar, is a stalwart. He has been using Allan's bacon and ham since January 2005. When Allan and Sharon arrive, Chang beams. He genuflects. He stands tall by the stove and dishes a soup of cockles in a ham broth. He whisks a ham-skin-scented dashi into a pan of yellow grits, then tops them with a poached egg, crescents of ruby shrimp, and a thatch of crisp chopped bacon. And as Allan and Sharon fold their napkins, Chang exits the galley kitchen and joins them at the counter.
Allan, who has the countenance and intellect of a presidentialera Jimmy Carter, ducks his head and grins. He snags an afterthought of bacon with his chopsticks and drags it through a puddle of yolk. "I had no idea what you were doing with my bacon and ham," he says, his face twisting upward, the corners of his mouth gone vertical. "This is amazing, just amazing, especially for a purebred Tennessee hillbilly."
I get the Benton's ham every time I go to Ssam Bar. You can order hams and bacon from Benton's web site, which, with its odd URL (bentonscountryhams2.com) and default page title ("Network Solutions E-Commerce Web Site - Home"), is just as delightfully old timey as the rotary telephone in Benton's office.