I have a pretty vivid childhood memory of the day that I realized that the chicken that I ate had once been a living animal. I was 5 and the discovery involved my Fischer Price farm set and a mother who realized a bit too late that helping me make the connection was only going to result in difficulty at the table later.
I was a tiny, highly principled vegetarian.
Except for pork. Somewhere in the connecting food names to animals process, my mom wised up and refused to tell me what pork was, which meant that I ate it. Which also meant that she simply referred to everything as pork, because moms are sneaky like that.
Since then, I have learned what pork is, and have several times been pretty successfully vegetarian. One quick look at factory farming and it’s pretty easy to construct an argument against meat. And then Sam read Eating Animals over the summer, which only made us want to lean vegetarian more.
My problem with vegetarianism is that I love food. And I pretty much always want to try all of it. So to reconcile my food love with my issues with basically all commercially available meat, I am going in with my friend on a pig.
It’s not just any pig either. It’s a Berkshire ALMOND FINISHED pig. Apparently this pig has been eating roasted almonds since April, which sounds so impossible I almost don’t even believe that it is for real. But Lefty (!) has invited us up to the farm to see for ourselves. And we’re going.
The pig will be delivered to a fellow named Kent who runs a USDA certified slaughterhouse/butchery, and who is the person in Ventura County that you take your elk to after a successful hunting trip or whatever. In other words, we are not Kent’s usual customers. Kent, after meeting with us for over an hour, decided that my friend and I were too high maintenance to take a cut list from, and now we are meeting up with him on a Saturday in September for a custom butchery experience. I’m a little terrified.
My friend is going to be there for the slaughter, which is really really great. Her prize is that she gets the liver. I don’t need to get quite that close to my food source.
So I know that this space has been silent for a while. But suddenly I have a food project again. I hope to chronicle it here.
Meanwhile I will be cooking from my new favorite cookbook Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi, and I hope to get some posts about that up soon as well.
And if any of you have ultimate pork recipes, please share them with me here.