Not Wilbur? Be warned

Diverse City
By SHAY STEWART-BOULEY  |  January 30, 2013

I love pork. But I hate pigs.

OK, maybe "hate" is too strong, but I don't trust them.

I recall a story in fall 2012 about a farmer in Oregon, Terry Vance Garner, who failed to return after going out to feed his animals. Hours later, a family member found the man's dentures and pieces of his body in the hog pen. He'd been eaten by the pigs. Tell me all you want about irony and animal justice, since they were probably destined to be eaten themselves, but the whole story makes me give pigs the side-eye. Can't be trusted. But boy do they taste good.

Bacon. Fried pork chops with gravy. Sautéed pork chops with spinach. Slow-cooked pork with mandarin and apricot sauce. Barbecue pork ribs. Mmmmmmm.

But if you aren't Wilbur from Charlotte's Web, I've got no trust for you.

So many pigs to eat, but I can't do it all. Oh, I don't just mean the lack of stomach capacity to do so. I mean that it's socially unacceptable to consume some of the many pigs around me. Male chauvinist pigs, pig-headed racists, and swine-hearted corporate leaders who care naught for their employees' ability to survive day to day.

I probably wouldn't like the taste of them anyway, even if cannibalism was the answer. But I do like cooking, so let me share some fanciful porcine fare with you.

Cabeza de Puerco This is actually a recently introduced Maine dish called Pork LePage, but as its namesake is pig-headed in the extreme, I thought I'd honor the 10 or 15 percent of me that's Latina and rename it appropriately from its original French-Canadian. This is a slightly spicy dish, extremely flavorful but not very tasty, since the palette of seasonings and textures mesh together poorly. It's an entrée, therefore, that is hard to swallow in the first place and often hard to keep down. There are sometimes adverse effects from consuming too much Cabeza de Puerco, the foremost being that the dish is extremely fatty and that fat goes straight to your head. Some who eat Cabeza de Puerco have reported uncontrollable urges to spout nonsense in public; temporary bouts of Tourette's syndrome, especially when addressing Democrats; and sudden urges to tear down works of art in the Maine Department of Labor.

Gunpowder Pork Ribs While the gunpowder was actually removed from "gunpowder seasoning" blends years ago due to concerns about toxicity, this dish with its spicy rub reminiscent of charcoal cooking honors those pig-headed individuals who have made such a fuss lately that somehow, making military-grade assault weapons hard to get means the exact same thing as banning all guns and rescinding the Second Amendment. If you're a fan of this pork rib recipe, no doubt your own ribs are straining as you puff out your chest and declare all gun regulations illegal and insist that you are competent to own a rocket launcher, too. Because we all know that the only way to combat violence is to make sure every man, woman, and child is armed to the teeth. What could possibly go wrong?

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  Topics: The Editorial Page , bacon, CHARLOTTE’S WEB, Wilbur
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