Recently my friends Christina and Dash threw a big shindig for which Dash roasted a pig and posted pre-and post pig roasting pictures here. I like pork, but I know I would not have been able to eat any of that pig, even though I am certain it would have been delicious. I couldn’t eat it because it still looked like a pig.
About twenty years ago, a friend invited me to a huge annual party at his farm in Pennsylvania. The main attraction was to be the pig roast. He has a large farm, so there was plenty of room in back of the house to build a large fire (I seem to think it was in a bit of a pit) over which he set up a spit large enough to hold a pig that had to weigh anywhere between 150 and 200 pounds. To me, it was a bigass pig.
As I recall, Mr. Pig was skewered and put up on the spit something like 24 hours prior to when it was to be eaten, and it was ceremoniously carried to the fire pit. (Note to the pig roasting cognoscenti: I may have the pig weight and the cooking time wrong. I’m not a pig expert, and I’m doing this from beer-soaked memory, so please cut me some slack.)
The guests were taking turns, throughout the night, keeping the fire hot and turning the spit with a crank equipped with a ratchet-type gizmo that allowed it to be turned a bit, then turned a bit again after a few minutes. The fire keeping and pig turning was obviously an integral part of the festivities, as was beer drinking.
Wanting to fit in with the other guests (lots of farmers) in ways other than beer drinking, I took a late-night turn at putting wood on the fire, and eventually it became my turn to spin Mr. Pig on the spit. Each time I turned the spit, Mr. Pig’s ears would flop around. I pretended that watching the ear flopping and his now-almost blackened skin didn’t bother me. In fact, after a while, I managed to convince myself that it really didn’t bother me.
Later in the day when it came to eat, I was encouraged to get on line to take a slice off Mr. Pig’s ass, before the host would take Mr. Pig off the spit and cut him into more manageable pieces.
There was no way I could cut a slice off Mr. Pig’s ass and eat it, nor was there any way I could eat any of the meat even after it had been sliced and put on a platter. All I could think of was Mr. Pig’s ears flopping as I turned the spit.
I know you’re thinking ”Yo, Jimbo. That is really crazy. Where the hell do you think pork comes from? Sheesh!”
I know it’s not a rational position, but it’s just that not having grown up on a farm, I am accustomed to seeing “pork” (not “pig meat”) on a Styrofoam tray wrapped in clear plastic and bearing a supermarket price tag. I don’t much like to think about the pig it came from. The same is true for beef and chicken as well. I like it sliced and wrapped in plastic.
I think if I couldn’t get those things in plastic, I could (and likely would) become a vegetarian.
Oh, and don’t even get me stared about seafood.