Remember how I said that seeing the pig carcass was like seeing an old friend, well, scratch that. We did pig for so many hours yesterday I was bleary-eyed. Three kinds, of pancetta, 4 kinds of sausage, guanciale, cappacollo, loins, lard, lardo, hams, head cheese, cracklings and zampone, and that is all I can recall. We cut every single piece of fat and lean meat by hand for the sausage – by hand ! Then this morning, with aching back, we got up at 6 Am to go to a slaughterhouse and watch a pig actually get slaughtered. Not a good thing. I stayed for one kill and bleed out and then I had enough. It is not so gentile as a bullet in the brain and the pig collapses. Here, in production, they electrocute by law first which renders the pig brain-dead, and then a nail gun to the brain, etc, etc. Too much for me. It took all day to shake it off. Actually, I had to call home and talk to someone, Craiggy, cause I was so shook up. The whole homesick thing sort of caught up to me and I really needed to talk to home. Better now.
We had vegetarian pasta for lunch and finally something called vin brulee, which is just spiced hot wine. Apparently it is traditional at northern weddings and Pig Kills, which last all week. I can testify to that.
We’ve had eggs poached in cracklings and fresh rendered lard, with a Calabrazian ragu for breakfast and fegato, pig’s liver wrapped in the caul fat with bay leaf. (NYC family may recall those years ago) We’ve eaten the kidney sauted in wine on crostini and will have the ear with fava beans. My Dad always used to say with a pig, “You use everything but the squeal.” Now, I can see how he is right.
Here are a few photos of the pig production in the kitchen.