Is It Just Me? Go pig or go home

By Nelson Clyde

This little piggy went to market,

This little piggy stayed home.

This little piggy had roast beef,

This little piggy had none.

And this little piggy…went wee! Wee! Wee! All the way home.

It's a funny little story. If you ever started with your child's big toe and recited the little adventure down to their little toe followed by a thorough tickling then you know it will be followed by squeals of laughter and calls to "do it again!"

We all know the reason they love it so much is the attention they get in the process. It makes no sense at all really. A pig having roast beef? They would probably gobble it up. They really don't seem to be particularly discriminating. They are, after all, pigs.

The Five Little Pigs was first published in 1728. Just in case you needed a bit of useless information to share with friends over a meal sometime this week.

"I learned long ago never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it." — George Bernard Shaw

In case you're wondering why all the fuss about pigs, there was a pig adventure in my life last week. Several weeks back I mentioned my desire to pull off a Cochon de lait, the cooking of a small whole pig over a pit in my backyard.

In the days leading up to Memorial Day weekend I went all in and ordered two 48-pounds pig. The plan was to dig up my backyard and make a big mess and create, well, a bit of a spectacle. The weather forecast began to look a little suspect and I decided my lack of experience would be exposed. The outcome could not be left in question. The decision was made, to the dismay of some of my cohorts but the delight of my wife, to bring in our grill from the office.

To make a long story short, the pigs were acquired, thawed, marinated in a now secret recipe and cooked for 18-19 hours on heat around 225 degrees. The outcome was beyond my expectations and when presented with Cole slaw, baked beans, blackberry cobbler and homemade chocolate chip cookies it took on epic proportions.

The team of young men and myself reflected often throughout the cooking process on the narrow percentage of people who had actually pulled off such a caper. Could it be the top 1 percent of the top one percent? Perhaps. If not, please do not send in any statistics to refute our perceptions. We will remain happy as pigs in mud.

The backseat of my mother's suburban was in my garage where much of the prep-work took place for the event. We set it up with the garage doors open and used a large Igloo cooler for an ottoman. It was sublime.

Elizabeth insisted I move the seat when company came over. I asked if she would prefer it in the hearth room adjacent to our kitchen. The look I got was almost as good if we had dug the hole in the backyard.

With better planning I hope to pull off the in-ground method someday but in the meantime I have checked cooking a whole pig off my bucket list with a high degree of satisfaction.

"I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals."



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