1 lb. lean cold boiled ham or tongue
1/4 lb. fat from ham, or 2 oz. butter
Mace or allspice (optional)
Cut a pound of the lean of cold boiled ham or tongue, and pound it in a mortar with a quarter of a pound of the fat, or with fresh butter (in the proportion of about two ounces to a pound), till it is a fine paste (some season it by degrees with a little pounded mace or allspice); put it close down in pots for that purpose, and cover it with clarified butter, a quarter of an inch thick; let it stand one night in a cool place. Send it up in the pot, or cut in thin slices.
From The Cook’s Oracle by William Kitchiner, MD, New York, 1829
Comment: This is a form of preserved meat which over time evolved into that well-known form of ham spelled with an “s” in front of its name, mocked and derided by everyone from World War II soldiers to British comedy troupes to recipients of unwanted commercial email. We would be more explicit about this but do not want to arouse the ire of the wonderful, forgiving folks in the legal department of Hormel Foods.
All sorts of meats, seafoods and vegetables were preserved in potted form. The common factors were the extremely fine mincing to which the potted items were subjected, the tight packing of the resultant paste, and the use of melted butter over the top to exclude air and ensure, or at least encourage, preservation.