Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Bringing Home the Bacon

Even though we slaughtered over two weeks ago, all the bits of the pig are always hanging around for the longest time, being cured, and ground, and whatnot. I always love opening my fridge and seeing an entire pig belly sitting on a tray when I go to reach for the milk in the morning. However, with four children and a busy life it finally was on a Sunday that Ben and I sat down together and sliced the bacon.

Bacon really is a drawn out process, and I even though I have always loved bacon, I never appreciated that real bacon is never an instant product. It also doesn't look all bright pink and watery and come in a package that you have to open with scissors. Also it requires patience. If you are a ribs or pork loin kinda person than instant gratification is truly yours. You cut open the pig and there they are, all ready to eat. But bacon is still a good week off (at least).

Ben likes to slice it himself because even though he lets me sharpen my butcher knives and cut up pigs he knows that putting me in front of a twirling electronic blade is a recipe for a fingerless wife. Ben did great job of slicing it and now we have it all safely packed in the freezer.

I suppose if we were truly enterprising I would be curing a prosciutto and gratification would be further delayed another six months. The best stuff takes the longest. That's the irony of it all. Italians, who are generally known for their passionate temperments and inclination toward impatience, are the artisans of some of the best aged meat and cheese products in the world, and also the culture which gave birth to the Slow Food movement. Any food that you have to take months to make and can be consumed in a manner of seconds requires a reverence for nature's cycles, and a true spirit of humility. After all, when was the last time you tucked into a panini and someone yelled at you to appreciate all the work that went into it?

Really when I think about it, my bit of work as pork processor was fairly minor, the final motion on the assembly line. It was Andrew who hauled feed and slops to a pen full of excitable pigs in the freezing cold for months on end who is really the only person truly capable of understanding all the work that went into this bit of bacon.

p.s. Annie, I posted a humility picture just for you. That's our living room torn apart by Zita and Julia while we were slicing the bacon. ;)


SamG said...

Ben learned that kind of caution from Grandpa H. His knives were sharp enough to split hairs, and he
was always very, very cautious.

And, your 'humility' picture looks like what my house was like any given day of the week when my kids were small.


Clare said...

Bacon sounds soooooooo yummy! You guys are amazing! I can hardly slice up a chicken without grumbling.

And your living room looks better than mine ever does!

Ben Hatke said...

We need to have you and Nick over for some bacon and eggs and sourdough pancakes!


Laura said...

there is a yummy bacon, brussells sprout recipe

1 lb brussells
2 pieces bacon
leek chopped up...

shred the brussels, toss in the leek (chopped) some olive oil(just a tiny amount, since the bacon is coming, brussels and bacon ... cook on med heat... enjoy!

Ben Hatke said...

Thanks Laura!


Colby said...

I remember the first time Mike slaughtered one of the chickens he had raised. There was definitely a learning curve, and the process took hours. I remember yelling down into the basement how (factoring in his time)it was cheaper to just buy the stupid thing (darn economies of scale.) But it was something he took such pride in. And when we cracked open an egg and saw the deep orange colored yolk, there was nothing like it. Similar to eating vegetables grown with our own two hands!
I'm still soo frustrated that the yard crew carted away his logs with shitake mushroom spawn patiently drilled in:( This would be the year we could finally dig in, if they were still around.
Now we're brainstorming where to try to plant a fruit tree or two without shading the yard. Then it's just wait two or three years for the fruiting and hope the squirrels and birds don't beat us to the punch...Really does make us understand nature, and the nature of things.

Jean said...

Yum!! We do bacon too!!! Isn't the real thing amazing?!?