Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Pig Named "Dinner"

One of the best things about living in the Bay Area is the inescapable fact that wherever you go, whomever you're with, you can't throw a rock in this crazy, beautiful town without hitting 10 foodies. I am definitely in the right place.

This past Sunday brought food nerd opportunity aplenty with "Pig Out" at Coffee Bar in San Francisco. Pig Out was a butchery demo and subsequent roasting of a 6 month old "Red Wattle Heritage Pig" from Lazy S Farm in Glasco, Kansas. Heritage referring to family lines of farm animals that have never been genetically modified. The pigs are raised free range and are also free of hormones and and stimulants. Our pig was about 6 months old, and said to weigh 150lbs, and no, I didn't catch his name.

Actually, his name was "Dinner."

Me, Dinner, and Chef Ryan Farr

The event was put on by 4505 Meats and featured Chef Ryan Farr, and let me tell you, this man knew his stuff. Those were some serious knife skills. After his impressive demonstration of how exactly to dismantle a whole pig, we then ate the poor thing (and oh my, was it good). It was served grilled and roasted, with a charred carrot, potato salad with cabbage flowers and spring vegetables, giant bowls of Chicarrones for snacking, cheeses, fresh honeycomb and plenty of wine and beer to go around.

I'm a big believer in knowing where your food comes from and how exactly it is prepared. The process of farm to plate isn't one that we all often have access to, and it was a privilege to be able to witness that. It makes you appreciate your food all the more. Especially if you're going to eat meat. Being aware of how the animal you eat is raised; whether or not it's with or without hormones and growth stimulants, what its quality of life is like, these things all end up effecting our own health. How often do we consider all of those factors when picking up a saran-wrapped steak on Styrofoam at Safeway? It's widely known that food free of hormones and pesticides are better for you and also better for the environment. It may be more expensive, but it makes a difference in so many ways. It's why I try and do most of my shopping at the farmer's market. I highly recommend Michael Pollan's books for more on the subject, The Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food in particular. Pollan is the foremost authority on the matter, and his books are riveting.

And the final product? What can I say? The pictures speak for themselves. It was not only delicious, it was also a fascinating experience. One I would highly recommend to anyone else who happens to eat meat.

The humble corndog

The end results-so tasty