Do you ever find yourself amused (and amazed) by peoples' white trash antics?
Friday, December 31, 2010
A Bacon and Meat website?
OK now I'll be the first to admit that I reach for things to write about sometimes. Some days it works out just fine and some days, not so much. But no matter, it was brought to my attention today by a friend that there is an entire website dedicated to meat – especially bacon. Now I'm as open minded as the next person, and I pride myself on finding something interesting and/or humorous in just about anything, but bacon? Did you know that there is an International Bacon Day? Yes, there is. I believe the day before has been dubbed International Pig Slaughtering Day. Makes sense.
Reading all this good stuff about bacon (did you know that there is bacon-scented soap and bacon-flavored toothpaste?) reminded me of being a kid, when our parents would drag us up to Virginia for our annual Thanksgiving pilgrimage. My mother's family was from there, you know. My aunt and uncle owned a dairy farm, but they also dabbled in pigs, chickens and even horses at one time. I remember my cousin would adopt a piglet every year to raise and nurture as a member of the 4-H Club. I used to think that was so cool, right up until the year that I put it all together.
I believe I was 8 or 9 years old when I wised up to where bacon and sausage really came from. Up to that point, I thought they arrived on the planet neatly wrapped in plastic and Styrofoam, stacked in the grocer's refrigerated breakfast stuff section. My siblings and cousins and I were having a grand old time, all together for Thanksgiving as we were every year. A group of men was gathering out near the dairy barn, and one of them had a shotgun. I recognized him; his name was Lawrence, and he was a hired farm hand. I was always fascinated by this old, black man because he was always ready with a great story, and because he always had hay stuck in his boots and his hair. It didn't take much to impress me as a kid.
Lawrence was standing in the middle of the pig pen, calling, "Here, piggy piggy," his shotgun resting against his shoulder and one eye squinting as a large hog wandered up to see what all the fuss was about. BLAM! The hog fell over at Lawrence's feet. I couldn't believe my eyes! No one was upset or trying to resuscitate the pig. In fact, the other pigs in the pen came to investigate all the commotion. "No!" I thought. "Run! Lawrence has gone crazy and is killing your friends!" BLAM! BLAM! Two more hogs fell over. I felt faint.
As soon as all the hogs had been shot (and yes, my cousin's 4-H buddy was among them), the "meat processing" phase of the project got underway. I'll spare you the details, but it involved boiling water, scraping, beheading and gutting. We city cousins were horrified, having never witnessed such a heartless, brutal massacre. Our cousins were completely un-fazed by the whole ordeal. Just another day in rural paradise. The images I saw that week have been burned permanently into my brain, and they'll probably stay there until the day I die.
At the end of this particular Thanksgiving week, my uncle and dad packed hundreds of pounds of meat, all neatly wrapped in white paper and marked with the proper labels – SAUSAGE TENDERLOIN ROAST HAM – into the trunk of our car, and we headed back down South toward home. I had a lot of time during that drive to sort out all the images and come to terms with where sausage, bacon and the like really come from. I aged a lot on that trip.
Looking through this website dedicated to bacon, I have to wonder what parts of the pig the bacon-flavored dental floss and gumballs come from. I shudder to think.
at 10:04 AM