This little piggy

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This little piggy has seen better days…


This little piggy went to market,
This little piggy stayed at home,
This little piggy had roast beef,
This little piggy had none.
And this little piggy went
“Wee wee wee” all the way home…


Many friends of mine over the years have been vegetarians. It’s a bold and courageous choice in today’s world. Meat dishes still limit a diner’s options, even in this new-age world of organic and soy-based foods. Need a quick meal on the road that’s not meat-centered? Good luck with that. And God forbid your vegan. There goes the pizza option.vegetarian-IQ

I actually admire, even envy the veggie-heads. They’re making a personal choice that, among other things, has less of an impact on the planet’s natural resources and ecosystems, puts less strain on the medical community by way of better overall health and less chance of dietary-related disease, and doesn’t take part in the sometimes inhumane and unclean practices at slaughterhouses. In fact, you could argue that the choice not to eat meat is one of the quickest and most powerful ways an individual can make a difference in this world.

Because of all these things, I began reading books years ago that preached this choice- Diet for a Small Planet, Diet for a New America, and Fast Food Nation. And I swear to you, I was both intellectually and spiritually ready to join the ranks of tree-hugging, carrot-chomping eco-warriors.

There was just one “little” problem: no more piggy.

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My conscious struggled with this decision. How am I going to give up pork?

“Be strong!” I told myself. (No more… bolognese sauce?)

“Think of the poor animals!” (No more… bolognese sauce?)

“Get a grip, you twit! There are bigger issues here than your precious bolognese!” (Mmmm… bolognese.)

It was during this internal turmoil that two opposing personalities, Ms. Pig and Ms. Lettuce Head, positioned themselves on either one of my shoulders, and set off on an epic battle.

Ms. P: “Sweety… you can’t be serious. Think of all the good times we’ve had, all the chops, ham, loins. All the Sausage.”

Ms. LH: “Shut up you! Jared, you deserve better than that… porker perched over there. Think of your health. Think of what I can do for your digestive system… for love of the Earth, man, think of your planet!”

Ms. P: (with dripping, slow-baked sarcasm) “Oooohh, the humanity! Save the planet- eat dirt and live forever! Give…me…a…BREAK. Look, J, we’ve been through a lot. Remember the time you put bacon, hot dogs, and Jimmy deans in the blender? Tell me that wasn’t the best damn smoothy you’ve ever had. And do I need to bring up what your mother’s going to think? No, don’t worry, that’s o.k., she doesn’t matter. She only carried you around in her womb for…”

Ms. LH: “That’s ENOUGH, oinker!  We don’t need your swine-induced guilt trips, your desperate attempts to appeal to his supposed love affair with you and all your… Jared? Jared!!”

At this point, drool had begun to steadily and disgustingly stream out of the corner of my mouth. I zombie-walked into the kitchen and dug out the previous leftovers of honey ham. “Mmmmm, ham sandwich…,” I muttered to myself, and with a quick flick of a finger, sent Ms. LH flying off my conscious. Ms. P squealed with delight, leaned in and planted a wet, snoutty kiss on my cheek.

*    *    *

IMG_3057Here in Germany, the desire for pork, no matter what shape or size you prefer, is easily met. You can choose from bratwurst, schnitzel, weiners, ham, ham salad, knuckles (had to pass on thosIMG_3509e, though), bacon, and chops- all on the same menu. There’s a long, proud tradition of pork here, and the local wine and beer compliment the salty-sweetness of this meat. If you’ve never had a good, dry German riesling with brats, you’re missing out.

One of my favorites here is the schnitzel or pork schnitzel (not to be confused with the traditional weiner schnitzel, which is actually veal), a breaded, fried pork cutlet, prepared with all types of sauces. Click here for an easy recipe for pork schnitzel with a chantrelle cream sauce, a delicious combination of savory, creamy, and earthy. And for those of you who just won’t get over your bias against white wine- and you will sooner or later- have a glass of Spätburgunder, or pinot noir, with this dish. The bright, tart red fruit of this wine will match very well wit the pork and mushrooms.

Since we’re on the subject of schnitzel, consider this clip from the film Hoodwinked a little taste- literally- of Germany for you.

*    *    *

My decision to walk away from the world of all-veggies was about 15 years ago, and I still feel sort of bad about the way things went down that day. But as they say, what’s done is done. I just couldn’t commit to an entirely exclusive, long-term relationship with Ms. LH. We still see each other now and again, exchange pleasantries, and even have dinner together when the weather’s nice and the local produce is in full-bloom. She’ll ocasionally glance at my mid-drift, and jab me with a crisp “I see she’s still working her magic on you.”

I know Ms. LH would have led me into a healthier, more responsible lifestyle. But at the end of the day, and even though I know too much of each other is not a good thing, I just want to roll in the mud with Ms. P.

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Have you had your pig today?

Oink-oink!

Jared

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~ by Jared on July 22, 2009.

6 Responses to “This little piggy”

  1. Great post. We have a friend who is a “vegetarian” except for “bacon”, he just couldn’t give it up.

    Long live Ms. P!

  2. Hi Beth,

    All of that was a true story… well, except for the talking pig and lettuce. I really am jealous and in awe of those veggie-heads out there. Their choice- or lack thereof- also means an extra slice of bacon for us!

    Cheers,
    J

  3. I was a vegeterian for 2 weeks. Then had the best salad of my life…and realized it was because of the bacon. Fuck vegetarians.

  4. Whoa!! Easy, cheese monger!

    Remember, vegetarians often become HUGE cheese heads, needing something w/ fat and a little “meat” as it were. Have you ever tried soy cheese? Oh. My. God… Why? Why would they even create such a horrible thing? It ranks up there w/ Tofurkey.

  5. I make my bolognese with veal, I’ve tried it with beef and with pork and I far prefer it! Although, I definitely don’t think that solves the vegetarian issue!

    Also, I don’t understand why you would even want to eat something called ‘soy riblets’ or soy cheese, you should enjoy being a vegetarian, right? Not try to trick yourself into thinking you’re getting cheese or meat! Makes me mad just thinking about it 🙂

    Glad to see you’re having a great time Jared! Excellent posts! And some new wines for me to try to get a hold of!

    Best, Jess

    • Hi Jess…

      I always made bolognese with ground beef and pancetta (mmmm… pancetta). And yes, I agree about the meat alternatives. I may have to dedicate another post to this subject, as I’ve had quite a few insightful e-mails responding to this…

      Thanks so much for the kind words and stay cool- a little tip for you in the heat your having in PDX right now: stay away from most wine. God I can’t believe I’m saying that… but unless the alcohol is real low, you’re body will have a hard time dealing with it. If you do want some wine, go for a nice “vinho verde” from Portugal- crisp, light, low-alcohol, a little spritz to it, and perfect for hot, hot weather. Air conditioning won’t hurt either…

      Cheers!
      Jared

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