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Pork Tag

Garlic Pork (10 of 15)We were out of chorizo sausage and the Wife was cogitating a Jambalaya. That’s why eldest daughter and I ended up in the Saturday Market in Kilruddery House just outside Bray in County Wicklow, the Garden of Ireland. As we made our way past the various stalls heading towards the chorizo man, I was halted by “Well hello young man, would you like to taste our chutneys?”. Given that the inviter was a good decade my junior, I smiled, stopped and tasted. I’m a sucker for the self-delusion.

Char Sui Roast PorkI’m not a big fan of pork fillet. Traditionally, here in Ireland, it would be prepared by slicing it open and pounding it flat with a mallet or rolling-pin. Then it would be filled with a breadcrumb based stuffing, wrapped up and roasted for about an hour longer than needed. The result was always dry, flavourless and, strangely, prized at dinner parties. 

Lion's Head Meatballs (12 of 13)The inspiration for this post in my mini series came when I overheard a conversation last week between two chaps in a Dun Laoghaire bar. Some snippets of their collective Chinese cookery wisdom; “They make it tasty by adding MSG. That stuff is really bad for you, full of lard.” “It makes you real hungry”. “There’s always loads of salt in the curry.” “The one in XXXX got closed down for serving seagull.” So went the assassination of the centuries old culinary traditions of one point four billion people. 

Pork Loin with Onion and Apricot (1 of 1)I was in our butcher’s shop recently, chatting to Billy. We were talking about pork, as you do. This got to Billy suggesting that I should try a pork loin, on the bone. He even offered to dress it for me. How could I say no. He had ‘broken a pig’ that day and the loin looked pretty spectacular. I was hooked. And, with nine people arriving for Sunday dinner, this looked like the joint to serve. I was excited.

Pulled pork and chili plum sauce (5 of 15)Here in Dublin, after a night on the town, us young lads, boasting of our nocturnal conquests might ask each other “Did ya’ pull?”. No matter what private mortification occurred the evening before, the answer was always in the affirmative. “Course I did. Wasn’t I beating them off?” “I would have landed both but they were fighting over me.” and other such testosterone-fuelled nonsense was, of course, obligatory. However, that was all back in the day.

Mystery listI have a conundrum. My problem is literary rather than culinary. I caused today’s difficulty when I wrote about The Man Who Wasn’t There. It was pretty straightforward writing about something that didn’t happen and somebody who wasn’t there to see it not occur.  All that was easy enough. My issues started when I was handed this note by my friend who may, or may not, have made his second trip home from Australia since Christmas.

I used to think it was pretty straightforward. “Build it and they will come” was my approach. A pork stew was a pork stew. If I announced it and cooked it, they would be there, happy to be fed in the family kitchen.  In more recent times, I have noticed a worrying trend. The casual conversation is no longer “Whatyacooking Pops?”. No, it has shifted slightly towards “Oh, Pork Casserole. How are you cooking it? What are you adding? What will make it really special this time?”.

Pork in CiderThey say that keeping pigs in the orchard is good both for pig and orchard. The pigs get to eat any fallen fruit while keeping the soil in good condition and keeping pests at bay. One side benefit of this practice is that the pork meat from the orchard kept pig takes on a subtle apple flavour (or so they say). 

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