A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from May 06, 2008

Entry in progress—B.P.
Wikipedia: Tasso ham
Tasso Ham is a specialty of Cajun cuisine. In this case, “ham” is a misnomer, since tasso is not made from the leg of a pig, but the shoulder butt. This cut is typically fatty and has a great deal of flavor. The butt, which will weigh 7 to 8 pounds, is sliced across the grain into pieces about 3 in / 7.5 cm thick. These are then dredged in a salt cure, which usually includes nitrates and sugar. The meat is left to cure very briefly, only three or four hours, then rinsed, rubbed with a spice mixture which is sure to contain cayenne and garlic, and hot-smoked until cooked through. Tasso is not typically eaten on its own, but may be found in dishes ranging from pasta to crab cakes, soup to gravy. Appropriate to its roots, tasso is most often found in recipes of southern or Cajun/Creole origin. 
Real Cajun Cooking - Glossary of Cajun Terms
tasso: a specialty Cajun meat which has been highly seasoned and slowly cured. It is used to add a distinct flavor to many main dishes.
Cajun Dictionary of Louisiana Foods
Tasso: (tah-so)
Thin cut highly seasoned smoke cured ham. Used for seasoning in beans, gumbos, vegetables and many other Cajun dishes.
Glossary of Cajun Terms
TASSO: A dried, smoked pork used in gumbos and other dishes.
The Tourists’ New Orleans Food and Drink Glossary
Tasso - An Acadian sausage made with lean ham and powerful spices.
(Oxford English Dictionary)
[perh. f. TASAJO: cf. Louisiana French tasseau jerked beef.] 
1841 Southern Lit. Messenger VII. 77/2 The evening banquet of gumbo, tasso, and beef, in every variety of form, was shortly served up by their attendants.
1934 E. WAUGH Handful of Dust vi. 336 Mr. Todd..gave him farine and tasso and sent him on his journey.
1958 J. CAREW Wild Coast viii. 106 Enough food to last Hector for a weekunleavened bread and bits of jerked pork in it, strips of tasso, cassava bread.
1959 P. CAPON Amongst those Missing 168 He bought two sacks of farine, two of tasso, one of Brazil nuts and one of cashew nuts.
(Oxford English Dictionary)
[Sp. tasajo a slice of dried meat, in Pg. tasalho; cf. Cat. tasco. Of uncertain origin: see Diez 490.] 
Buffalo meat cut into strips and dried in the sun.
[1760-72 tr. Juan & Ulloa’s Voy. (ed. 3) II. 244 The flesh after having been cut into thin slices, is salted, and this is what they call Tassagear.]
1783 JUSTAMOND tr. Raynal’s Hist. Indies V. 365 The inhabitants [of Trinidad] shoot them [wild cattle], and cut their flesh into slips..which they dry… This provision, which is called Tassajo, is sold in the French settlements.
1851 MAYNE REID Scalp Hunt. xxvi, Those who remain cut the [buffalo] meat into long thin strips, and hang it over the lines already prepared for this purpose. It is thus left to be baked by the sun into ‘tasajo’.
1858 SIMMONDS Dict. Trade, Tasajo, a name in New Granada for dried meat; hung beef.
2 July 1944, Brownsville (TX) Herald, pg. 4, col. 2:
A dish called tasso, a sort of gumbo, is popular with Louisiana French. And some is canned.
17 April 1968, Port Arthur (TX) News, pg. 27, col. 2 ad:
LA. - ole
Fashion “TASSO”
Smoked and Dried
Wonderful in Gumbo
(Judice’s, a store specializing in Cajun foods—ed.)

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • Tuesday, May 06, 2008 • Permalink

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