Eating My Pig
Last week I was troubled to learn that pork prices are soaring, driven by the rapid spread a deadly virus that has killed about 5 million piglets.
But I also felt a little smug.
Back in the winter, my decision to buy half a pig seemed a little extravagant. I justified it by recruiting two co-investors, which defrayed costs, and reminding myself that the farmer was an old friend trying to make a go of it in Schoharie County. But as time goes by, the pig purchase is starting to seem shrewd, even forward-thinking.
For one thing, the pork is excellent. I received several roasts, several packages of pork chops, sausages and ribs, as well as a big slab of pork belly that I plan to save for a special occasion. So far, my boyfriend and I have cooked one roast, one package of pork chops and one package of ribs, which means that my freezer is still full of meat that I’ll be able to consume throughout the year. And since pork prices are expected to hit a record high this summer, the high cost of my locally-raised, organic pork no longer seems like such a big deal, especially because I’ve gotten two to four meals out of each item I’ve cooked.
Last night we made ribs, slathering them in a maple barbecue sauce mixed with orange juice and cooking them for four hours. The apartment soon smelled like barbecue, which whet our appetite. But we managed to control ourselves, eating a salad and wild fiddleheads, sauteed in grapeseed oil and garlic, that I purchased at Honest Weight Food Co-op. I had never eaten wild fiddleheads before, and thought they were fantastic: similar to asparagus, but meatier, with a more buttery taste.
By the time we finished our salad course, the ribs were ready. The meat was literally dripping off the bone and also extremely tender, which is how I like it, and I devoured one large rib. I could have eaten another one but, in an unusual show of restraint, opted instead to save the last rib for tonight. Now I’m counting the hours until I can go home and eat it.
In conclusion, buying half a pig was totally worth it. It wasn’t cheap, but it no longer seems quite as expensive as it initially did. I can’t remember exactly how much we paid, but I’d estimate that it was somewhere between $400 and $500. Spread out between three people, that’s not so bad. And the meat has been so tasty that I’d definitely do it again.
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