12/1/14

The time we roasted a pig

Did you tell your Thanksgiving story like we talked about? Well, go on! Tell me all about it.  As for me, I really struggled. I considered telling the story of the cooking class I took while studying abroad in Sienna, Italy, and then I thought, no, I should tell everyone about the time I spilled soda all over a crowded Carl's Jr. and a friendly homeless guy said to me, "I would advice you to take advantage of the free refills." So many stories. I didn't know where to start. But finally, I realized the story I needed to tell was right in front of me. It was the story of my silverware.

My Uncle Howard was the youngest of my father's four siblings, and he fought in the Vietnam War. From time to time, my mother would put together care packages and we would send them to him, which always seemed to me a very exotic thing to do. We would fill them with things like crackers and sardines and homemade cookies and ship them off. One time, Uncle Howard visited us when we were living in Utah. It was decided somehow that we should have a pig party. The next thing I knew, there he was pulling a whole slaughtered pig out of my mom's Volkswagen Bug. Much of the rest is kind of a blur, except I remember these things:

We roasted that pig in a big pit.
A lot of people came over to eat that roast pig.
The meat was, alas, dry and bland.
Soon thereafter our neighbors built a fence.

My Uncle Howard used to bring us lots of stuff from his R&Rs. He brought us stuffed koalas and platypuses covered in real fur. (I think it was rabbit. Don't go all PC on me it was a long time ago). He also brought my parents the coolest set of flatware ever. He got it in Thailand, and it looks like this.



It's made of brass and wood, and it comes in a great big wooden box. The set includes fantastic pieces, including extra-long spoons and serving pieces with long necks that twist around like rotini.
My mother has since handed the set down to me, and I love that it didn't just come from Macy's. It came from my Uncle Howard, who, tragically, like many of my tribe,
had a drinking problem and was, ultimately, a tragic figure who died fairly young, ambushed, at least in my mind, by memories of loss and violence and an uncooperative liver.

5 comments:

Watson said...

I think learning to roast a pig requires a trip to Hawaii. How is that for an excuse to travel! Been to Sienna and had the best Chianti in the whole world.... and you took cooking classes there? Awesome! You never cease to amaze me Margaret!

Ms M said...

Wonderful story!

They also know how to roast a whole pig in the Midwest. When my brother was married (in the 1980s), they slow-roasted a whole pig for the reception. The meat was tender and delicious.

But traveling to Hawaii would be a lot more exciting than going to the Midwest....

Petrea Burchard said...

A sweet, sad story about your Uncle Howard. And a pig, and flatware, but mostly Uncle Howard.

Olga Hebert said...

My food story is an old post:
http://confessionsofagrandma.blogspot.com/2009/11/mushrooms.html

My brother has had pig roast, but I think he has someone come in to do it.

Your flatware is most interesting, a nice reminder of your Uncle Howard.

Bellis said...

Love the bit about the fence! Maybe that pig was the last straw? I think that Thai flatware is beautiful. They used to sell it in Feast on Lake, at a very high price. I miss Feast. And feasts.