This Little Piggy Went To Market...

I have been thinking a lot about pig lately. At one time, I was a vegetarian. Now, I eat it all, especially pork...cured meats, pork loin, pork shoulder, pork chop, pork belly, ham, sausage, and of course, bacon!

I watched a pig being butchered at a restaurant training today. He came from a local, sustainable farm in Illinois, was fattened with grain raised on the farm, and lived a good, albeit short life. I have eaten plenty of meat in my life since my vegetarian days without giving much thought to where it came from, why it was the color and texture it was, and why it was cooked a certain way. As the realness of this dead pig in front of me set in, these questions suddenly became very important. I have always heard that hunters have more respect for the life of the animals they kill and the meat those animals provide them, as opposed to the average person buying meat in a grocery store. I never really understood that respect of life, until I saw this pig before me. I think it must take a lot to look an animal that you are about to kill, in the eye. You have a certain responsibility to do right by that animal, and give its death meaning by making sure you are sacrificing it for a good cause. It gave it's life to put food on your table.

As we butchered this pig together as a team, I felt a certain pride to learn that we would be using virtually all of its parts for the restaurant menu. I never realized what a versatile animal pig is. As the saying goes, "everything but the oink". I had wondered if at the end of all of this I would turn back into a vegetarian. Nah. But, I do vow to always clean my plate!

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