Tuesday, November 11, 2008
The Golden Pig (With a Nod to Apulieus)
Save the oyster, which cannot change, cannot be cooked and is always eaten raw, most foodstuffs are mutable. Corn can become tortillas while a cattle may slip its identity as a hulking quadrupedal mammal and assume the form of scotch broth, hamburger, the Kosher hot dog and a myriad iterations of roasts and grillades.
But if each thing can become many other things, that which each is fated to become is limited in number and expression by the essence that is at once its life force, its will and its nature. Things can only become what their essence allows them to become, and no more and no less than that.
The essence of the nature of a chicken limits what it may become to a such things as cutlets, roasts and the chicken of General Tso. But a chicken can never become a hamburger, for that is for the cattle to be -as demanded by its essence. And such is the essence of the nature of the lamb that it cannot become tofu, or ice cream, but will with alacrity assume the identity of the souvlaki or the boned-rolled-and-tied roast.
The pig too is transmogrified, and will with proper coaxing become sausage, bacon and salami. There is no other organism that is considered to be proper food for man whose metamorphosis can lead it to become these things. Only the pig can, through the will of its essence, become these things.
So give it the frak up people.
However hard we try to coax something other than a pig to become sausage, bacon or salami, we will always fail , because these facies are reserved for the pig.
OK, the goofy rhetoric is over. I hope I did not make a golden ass of myself. But if I did, I chose to do it, so that's cool -I hope.
See some of what our pigs became over the past few weeks as they changed from Berkshire hogs to salumi. All of the pancetta (60 pounds of it!) cured for two weeks, and was hung on Saturday (11/8). The lardo cured for ten days and was hung at the same time. The Tuscan salami has been drying for almost two weeks and you see the orange cardamom salami hanging on the first day after it emerged from a day on racks in a warm room to "kick start" the nitrate reducing and fermentation bacteria.
A couple of astute readers noted that I had bone-headedly (my dis, not their's) hung the lardo in an area where it was likely to be oxidized by light. ( I knew better but forgot.) I have since moved it to a very dark corner of the aging room. My gratitude to Andrew Little and Jeff Price is commensurate to my chagrin.