Pigs, Unblanketed


What is a pig, as far as food goes? The alphabet pertaining to pig in Bruno’s Cantus Circaeus is more esoteric than practical, for most purposes. And rather unkind, too! My own philosophy of pigs is much like Grimod de la Reyniere’s.

Everything in a pig is good. What ingratitude has permitted his name to become a term of opprobruim?

Therefore, it is imperative to have an alphabet to remember him by. I’m not aware of any pig alphabets, so we’ll have to make one up! At least we’ve got a start, from the chart posted above.

B – Butt (and Bacon!)

C – Chop

F – Feet (also known as Trotters)

H – Ham (also Ham Steak)

J – Jowl

R – Roast

S – Sausage (also Spareribs)

Lots of letters to go. Can it be done?

Some inspiration, from a man named (of course) Charles Lamb:

He must be roasted . . . . There is no flavor comparable, I will contend to that of the crisp, tawny, well-watched, not over-roasted, crackling, as it is well called – the very teeth are invited to their share of the pleasure at this banquet in overcoming the coy, brittle resistance – with the adhesive oleginous – O call it not fat! but an indefinable sweetness growing up to it – the tender blossoming of fat – fat cropped in the bud – taken in the shoot – in the first innocence – the cream and quintessence of the child-pig’s yet pure food – the lean, no lean, but a kind of animal manna – or, rather, fat and lean (if it must be so) so blended and running into each other, that both together make but one ambrosian result or common substance.


14 thoughts on “Pigs, Unblanketed

  1. Have you run across Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches: The Riddles of Culture by Marvin Harris (1974)? Interesting comparative study on why (for instance) pigs are esteemed food in some cultures and detested non-food in others.

  2. Robert’s reference to Harris’ book – that was a great and somewhat controversial book for a time. Don’t know if it still has a big following, though it is certainly worth a read.

    The question of why pigs are a focus of moral outrage or its opposite in different cultures or religions is interesting. An aspect is the fact that pigs are, like us, omnivores and this is a major reason they are not particularly good animals in regions having little from which to forage.

  3. Yes, to the foraging part, but pigs’ intolerance to heat plays a large role, too, in their place in various societies.

    One great book on pigs is “Pigs and Pork: History, Folklore, Ancient Recipes,” published in 1996 by Konemann and edited by Daniela Garavini. Scappi’s “Opera” contains a lot of references to “porcines.”

    You will be able to complete the alphabet if you use foreign words, too, I would think.

  4. By resorting to http:www.whatamieating.com and using a few foreign languages, I have *nealry* completed the alphabet. But it’s not exactly going to trip of the tongue and there are still a few letters missing.

    A – Arista – Italian boned loin
    B – Backribs, Belly
    Bath Chap (cured dried cheek)
    Bajoue (French cheek)
    Lots more B’s
    C – Chap, Cheek, Chine
    costeletas (Portuguese)
    côtelette de porc (French)
    D – mmmm. Stuck on this one for the moment.
    E – Ears
    Échiné (French chine)
    Eisbein (German pig’s forelimb hock)
    Escalope, Épaule de porc (French shoulder)
    Espaldilla de cerdo (Spanish shoulder)
    F – Faceira (Portuguese cheek)
    Febra de porco (Portuguese tenderloin)
    Fläskfile (Swedish tenderloin)
    Flèche de lard (French pork belly)
    G – Grisfötter (Swedish trotters)
    H – Hocico de cerdo (Spanish pig’s snout or nose)
    Honetski-butanik (Japanese pork chop)
    I – Indrefilet (Norwegian pork tenderloin)
    J – Jarret de porc (French pig’s forelimb hock)
    K – Kamara (Finnish rind of pork)
    L – Llom de porc (Catalan loin of pork)
    Lundir (Icelandic pork tenderloin)
    M – Mano de cerdo (Spanish trotters)
    Mocotó (Portuguese cartilage from a pig’s foot)
    Mørbrad (Danish pork tenderloin)
    N – Stuck again
    O – Oreille (French ear)
    P – Paahtokylki (Finnish spare ribs)
    Q – Help?!
    R – Ribstuk (Dutch ribs)
    Rillettes (French potted belly of pork (sometimes with added goose/duck)
    S – Schweineschnitzel (German escalope of pork)
    Schweineschulter (German shoulder of pork)
    Sianliha niskakyljys (Ginnish pork collar chop)
    soorwa ka haddi (Hindi pork shin or shank)
    T – Tonkats (Japanese deep fried pork cutlets)
    Traver de porc (French spare ribs)
    U – I give up!
    V – Varkenspoot (Dutch pig’s forelimb hock)
    Ventrèche (French salted or smoked breast of pork, similar to bacon)
    WXY What’s to be done……
    Z – Zampone di maiale (Italian pig’s hock of the forelimb, including the knuckle and the trotter)

  5. Woooooo-hoooooooo! You guys rock!
    Suzy, I love it! And I’m going to have to look up the books mentioned, too . . .

    Well . . . like jello, there is always room for more. I’m sure we are all eagerly awaiting other lovely porky alphabet bits if they should appear. Why limit ourselves to just one word per letter . . .! 🙂

  6. N = Nose? (A snout by any other name would smell just as … ?)

    An Alphabet for Porcophiliacs? A take-off on M. F. K.’s “An Alphabet for Gourmets?”

  7. Hmmm. I can’t see how that could be done without starting off with a different format with singular intent to focus on that, Cindy. But why not do that at your blog? Then we could start the spread of piggy alphabets all across the blogosphere. Other people might have other alphabetic piggy ideas of note they could feature on their blogs. Boundless opportunity here! 🙂

  8. Ha ha, porcophiliacs!

    The group does seem to be growing. Or alternately maybe they are just becoming more verbal.

  9. And darn right, being more verbal. I’m personally getting tired of feeling guilty because I happen to eat meat. I agree that conditions should be more humane for both animals and the workers whose labors allows us to enjoy the eating of meat. And, perhaps, we meat eaters need to try to interject some of the ancient sense of the sacrifice of life so that we can eat. Both plants and animals.

    About the pig alphabet, no, Karen, that’s your idea and thing. Carry on!

  10. Like Karen I look forward to reading the books mentioned. And I also so agree with Cindy about conditions for animals and honouring the sacrifice. An animal well raised, a contented animal in a field, is a lovely thing. I last week visited the village where I was raised in Gloucestershire, in the West of England, and there were Gloucester Old Spots running around in tall grass. It was enchanting. They had so much space that they had not churned it up into a field of mud and had lots or rootling space. Happy happy nosy boisterous hilarious pigs. If people didn’t want to eat their beautiful bacon, those pigs would have died out as a breed.

    Wish I’d thought of ‘Wings’. and apologies for “Ginnish” instead of “Finnish” on my list. Wish I lived where they speak “Ginnish”!

  11. Suzie – for P, you could also have pickled pigs feet – a great favoriite in the south!

    Cynthia- Yes, on the heat/environmental interface of where pigs are and aren’t. Really the case with all flora and fauna – WRTbreed and/or strain, unless ‘artificially’ raised.

    Here are a couple of pieces on the topic that I wrote a few years ago, to be readily ‘digestable’ by livestock farmers in North America and Europe. Really, these are very basic principals that can assist organic producers – e.g., go for the breeds and strains that thrive in your ecosystem, though they might not be the biggest and so forth, they will thrive and require less chemical, etc. inputs:



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