"Do you hear that sound? That's your yarn...it's crying"~ Magenta Sequins

Monday, July 20, 2009

Meat & Greet or Don't Play With Your Food (First)

this Saturday, the huz and i went to a friend's Annual Pig Roast/Family Reunion, up in New Rochelle; the family...reunes...and everyone is encouraged to invite friends to share in the bounty of a 70-odd pound pig which is roasted in an enormous box in the back yard. we had gone last year, but arrived "fashionably late", as is our people's custom, only to find that when one arrives fashionably late to a pig roast, one is left with a few stray dried out pieces of pork and picked over side dishes. oh and a head. the head was left, too.

this year, we aimed to arrive at 2pm; the time listed, on the invitation, as the "pig flip" (when the pig is, quite literally, flipped over in its flaming coal-lined coffin which is cooking it to perfection). i wasn't quite prepared for the sight of an enormous pig...butterflied...and pressed flat between two grills (like you'd cook a red snapper). i was instantly appalled (but not enough to not have a sizable helping of pork, about an hour later when it was carved up), especially when i remembered a conversation i'd had with a friend who eschews pork and pork products because pigs are incredibly cute and smart animals. i get that rationale, totally; i really do (i just love bacon and prosciutto and sausage and ham too much to have those kind of principles).

his rationale, though, reminds me of 2 stories from my childhood:

1. Once upon a time i was a really stupid kid. i ate just about anything my mother put in front of me ("try it once, if you don't like it i won't make it again" was her motto) with the exception of seafood. the only seafoody things i'd eat were spaghetti and clams, tuna salad sandwiches and fish sticks, the last i actually really really liked. well, one afternoon when i was about 8, my mother announces that, for dinner that night, i'd be having fish sticks, which usually meant my parents and brother would be having sole or somesuch "real fish". a little later on my father returned from work with a big bag from the fish market which proceeded to get dumped in the sink which was full of water. i came in to investigate and, low and behold, there were two enormous live lobsters writhing about and trying to escape the sink. i was totally enraptured of these animals. for an hour or more, i stood by the sink and played with my new friends (whom i'd named, according to family legend) at no point noticing or wondering about the huge pot of water and spices boiling away on the stove top; that is, until my mother decided it was time for her to prepare dinner for herself and my dad. i don't remember eating the fish sticks or watching them eat the lobster just being super upset that my two pets were gone...and that mom and dad ate them. it was the last time anything live was ever served in our house.

2. years after the lobster incident, we took a trip down to Florida to visit my grandmother who was living with my mother's sister who was living in a double-wide with her hillbilly husband, a couple of kids, and numerous dogs. nestled in the back, behind the trailer, was a small wooden shack which lived rabbits. one day, uncle james brought me out in the back to show me the rabbits; cute little fuzzy bunnies. i was sitting on the grass playing with the rabbit, whom (again) i'd named, for a long while till he told me to go in the house and play with my cousins. i ran off happily, since to be around uncle james meant you needed to keep your guard up against "titty twisters", "indian burns" and various other physical assaults, thinking i'd see "my" rabbit later in the week. later that night, we sat down to dinner my grandmother had prepared: fried chicken. at least, i thought it was fried chicken till uncle james chuckled and told me it was "my" rabbit.

so, yeah, my days of putting a face to my food are long gone; which is good, because i love meat. chicken is my favorite (maybe it's because i've never met a chicken?) followed by veal (more things should be locked in a box if it makes them taste this good) and lamb...i love me some lamb. i guess i've become desensitized to the whole "meat is murder" thing, and quite adept at seperating "Babe" from "Baby back ribs" and "Caroline the Moo-Cow" from a "Quarter Pounder with Cheese". besides have you ever seen a cow inthe flesh? those enormous eyes are filled with pent up rage and given the opportunity i'm sure they'd love to turn one of us into cud...

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