Sunday, January 15, 2006
Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig!
Travelling the world growing up my only cultural constant was my mother. I was an only child and an army brat, so everything around me changed every three years, except for my mother. My father worked long hours and was gone on lengthy field maneuvers quite often. I credit him with imparting great wisdom to me, often in servings larger than I was equipped to handle, but the lessons have stood with me through a lot of difficult times in my life.
My mother, though, she was our family. She was our tradition. She was our rock. Due to my excessive use of the word was, I feel the need to share that my mother and father are still living and well far away in the frozen North. I say was, because I have not been a part of their traditions for a long time. They are still my family, and many of my fondest memories involve them, but they have been far away from me for a long time. I miss them terribly and wish desperately that plane tickets were less expensive. Anymore, our family traditions center mostly around making sure we call each other on holidays and special occasions (not to mention the three or four times a week I chat with one or both of them just because).
My mother sang songs to me. There were songs that all of us know. My mother is a grand repository of Disney songs and musical numbers. There were others though. Some of them other people know when I sing them. Some of them are completely foreign. I don't know if they were songs of her childhood. She never shared that. I have always assumed that someone must have sang these songs to her when she was a child.
One song she used to sing to me it took me years to comprehend. I had always thought that the words were nonsense all run together as they are. Maresy Dotes and Dosey Dotes And Little Lamsey Diveys. A Kidulley Divey Too Wouldn't You? I was 23 or 24 when I finally deciphered that one and called my mother laughing hysterically at the grand joke on me.
The following she sang to me the most regularly though, and I find myself still singing it as I arrive home after shopping.
To market, to market,
To buy a fat pig.
Home again, home again,
To market, to market,
To buy a fat hog.
Home again, home again,
(Some time ago I made the delightful discovery that this rhyme is etched into the stone signage for Broadway Marketplace here in Denver.)
When I read that this was Some Pig Blogging Weekend, the sing-song melody filled my head and hasn't left me alone. I knew that I had to come in here and join in this glorious praise of pigs. I have always been a lover of pigs. I even had a pet pot-bellied pig named Charlotte for awhile. Apartment living didn't agree with her, and the myth of the easily trained pig was thoroughly busted. We found Charlotte a lovely home with other barn-yard friends more her speed.
Pigs were a gift from the gods to a Welsh king (Pryderi) according to Celtic legend. Their sweet meat was coveted and subsequently stolen by a neighboring nation. It of course ended in war. People love their pigs.
I spent seven years of my childhood in Germany. One day while we were off in search of yet another castle to tour, my myopic mother had removed her glasses. We were driving through the vast farmlands that border many of the roads I can remember when my mother began asking my father why they were keeping their pigs out in the fields. My father I laughed until our sides nearly split, and when my mother put her glasses on she began laughing as well. Those were cows in the field, but we still tease her. Even if it's a moose on the side of the road, we might ask her if she saw that pig over there.
Mostly, the consumption of pig has always been at the top of my list of My Favorite Pigs...I meant My Favorite Things....wonder what that slip meat.. I mean meant. Whew! Maybe I should go eat something.
Ham has always been my feasting item of choice. That was a tough one when my father was stationed North of Chicago at a base that no longer exists. I went to a school where the cafeteria was kosher and we had so many holidays off between Christianity and Judaism it's suprising we ever learned anything. Oh, and there was always that Casmir Pulaski day. I never did figure that one out. Ham just wasn't on the menu at community social gatherings.
Bacon goes in anything that I can slip it into. (Word of warning. Bacon bits do not work well with Marinara. I still have bad dreams about that one. We were very, very hungry.) I don't like my bacon overly crisp. Some people cook the fat right off the bacon. I love that long succulent strip of fat along the side of the salty pork. Keep your lean turky bacon away from me. Houston (my sweet husband) won my heart with his meatloaf which is part burger, part pork breakfast sausage, and has slices of bacon sandwiched between a top and bottom layer.
Houston and I have long been known for serving his pork roast at every party we have ever thrown. It is a staple. Houston spent 6 years working in the oldest restaurant in Denver. We order our pork roast through them. We tried one from the grocery store once. It almost wasn't worth serving. (It was pork so we ate it, of course. Even poor quality pork is still delicious.)
Pork loin is served for dinner in our house at least twice a weak. We substitute it diced for meatballs in spaghetti. We spice and chop it into our salads. We service it with rice and tropical fruit. What can't you eat with pork loin?
And when it comes to breakfast...
The celiac diagnosis has made life difficult on many frontiers, but the quality of our pork sausage isn't one of them. We learned very quickly that most commercial sausages have fillers. Those fillers usually contain gluten. If you buy a good quality pork sausage you still need to read the label. They will sneak fillers into some of them. The best sausages, pork or otherwise, do not contain fillers. 100% meat means 100% gluten free.
I fretted all day yesterday with that "Jiggety Jig" melody in my head, trying to figure out what I was going to feature for my pig blog. I had all but given up, silly me, when the solution presented itself. We were running late at the store and worrying about what to throw on the table for the kids when Houston picked up a package of pork sausage. There it was. My precious pig. All wrapped up in a pork casing and ready for dinner. He fixed them up with some pan fried potatoes, scrambled eggs, and the toast on the side is from a Country White loaf direct from Debys Gluten-Free Bakery and Cafe. An assortment of Stonewall Kitchen jams, including my favorite, Rasperry Peach Champagne, were set out on the table. My hungry children gaped at their dinners and my husbands stomach was rumbling audibly as they waited patiently for me to take some photos.
Blessed be the pig. Dig in.
I discovered this community of food bloggers this year through Gluten-Free Girl. I've been lurking and reading ever since. New to cooking and new to this amazing world where people write about food just for fun, I haven't ceased to be interested in them for months and months. Finally I thought, "Hey! I can do this, too!"
Lurking around some more and following links here and there - I discovered the food events that are taking place all the time. Then I discovered the hub - IMBB. What a marvelous place. The inspiration to get in the kitchen and cook and photograph and write is never-ending. I was already into writing and photography (of the amateur digital type). Cooking is like the doorway into a magickal world for me. Discovering that I actually enjoy being in the kitchen, stirring a steaming pot, and concocting new and delicious foods to sustain myself and my family has been wonderous.
So here I am. My first food event. That girl that is always lurking in the corner has decided to talk a little. Try not to look shocked. You might frighten her.
I had to add this extra note when I realized that I didn't delve into my mouthwatering childhood memories of German style Cordon Bleu, or my recent discovery of Prosciutto..I hope that I continue to be suprised, delighted, and sated by glorious pig (cue etherial music) for the rest of my life.
Technorati: pig, pork, ham, loin, sausage