Visiting The Pig
by Jan Greenberg
Visiting the pig who will take up half the space in my freezer each fall is, I will admit, rather unorthodox and is not something I would recommend for a family outing. But paying a call of respect and knowing that what you will soon be consuming had a pleasant life--and ending for that matter--actually makes for a very rewarding time. One year, my pig was clearing out the remains of a carrot patch. On another occasion, I stood sweating in the hot sun while she comfortably burrowed in cooling muck. And last year, the sire, a 900 hundred pound Tamworth boar from Columbia County, lumbered like a porcine sumo wrestler to the edge of the fence to be nuzzled, grunting and snorting with satisfaction.
To be honest, though, a few weeks later, when I went to pick up my then butchered meat, seeing the severed head wrapped in plastic with eyes like glass buttons staring at me from the depths of the freezer, was to say the least, disconcerting. I can happily deal with a whole pig belly but I don't have the stomach to boil up the head. Happily, someone else would do what I couldn't and her tender jaw meats would be seasoned and combined with the gelatinous broth to make head cheese. Nothing would go to waste.
Jan Greenberg's most recent book is
"Hudson Valley Harvest: A Food Lover's Guide to Farms, Restaurants and Open Air Markets." Her work appears in
Food Arts, National Culinary Review, Gastronomica, Edible Manhattan and others. She is the recipient of three NY State Agricultural Society writing awards and an Association of Food Journalists award for Best Food Feature in a Magazine.