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Too Much Pig Can Make a Girl Sick

2009 November 24
by Zoe Strimpel

I’m a fan of the old bacon, and love a good (and I mean good) sausage. But I think the UK has gone hog-wild, literally. We can’t get enough of the snouted runts on our menus and in our pubs and even newsagents. The pig- once the poor man’s meat- has assumed the throne over all London’s gastronomy and it’s just gone a bit far. I feel sick, and I’m a strayed Jew- I can only imagine what a strayed Muslim might feel. Digestively, I mean.

Perhaps it’s not surprising I feel a bit sick from cumulative pig consumption. Beginning with a taste for pork scratchings about a year ago, from KP’s humble newsagent bags to the ominously fatty, noxious Mr Porky’s to gastro pubs’ homemade batons of fat and salt, I have proceeded to source all manner or sausages from Waitrose’s deli and scoff bacon and ham regularly at breakfast. All year, I’ve given into the pork scratch (I mean itch) and ordered pork belly when steak is on offer. But I’ve reached my limit.

Last night, at Pierre Koffman’s pop up restaurant at Selfridges, I ordered something that even I- dedicated pig eater – would never normally order: Pig’s Trotter. I did it because that’s what Koffman is known  for and that’s what EVERYBODY has at Koffman. Pigs trotters fly off the shelves at this place- people just can’t get enough butchered porcine foot.

So I gave into peer pressure and reverence for Koffman, entrusting him to make a vile-sounding prospect palateable. Plus, how bad can a well-cooked piece of pork be?

But here I reached my pig waterloo. I came to the end of my pork road. I felt clogged up with hog. The thing came out shaped like a pig, like a whole mini flying piglet, a tube of jellied foot with claw and something resembling a head but couldn’t have been. It came in this slick dark orange gel – the skin had been jellified – and you parted it down the middle where it had been knifed already, spilling out veal sweetbreads (my mind was unable to process the dubiousness of the sweetbread concept in addition to the horror of the jellied pig foot) and morels. I focused on the mash so as not to suddenly gag. I pretended I was just eating something good and porky. But I was sickened: the cheesy taste, the gel, the claw, it was all like  a jaundiced jelly death mask of porcine wrongness and I began to panic. Which meant I put my knife and fork down for good (until the cheese course).

This morning I felt it necessary to jump back on the bandwagon so as not to be put off for life, and I did it with bacon and ham (in an omelette) which is how pork is meant appear on our plates. I finally went too far with pork last night, riding the London wave, and I’ve come back humbled. Oink oink.

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