Five Little Piggies and the Butcher

March 23, 2012 By: erik Category: Food, Offspring, Photos, Spain 491 views

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PigletWhen I lived in the US, I remember meat being something I picked up from the refrigerators of the supermarket, shrink-wrapped between plastic and styrofoam. Then, I started dating and eventually married a slaughterhouse veterinarian, and hung out with a group of Spanish slaughterhouse vets, none of which had even remotely considered the possibility of abstaining from meat, a practice relatively common in my homeland. Every American can name at least one vegetarian friend, and probably a vegan, too. These are, of course, luxuries that our rich country can afford us.

Contrary to life in the US, life in Spain consists of personally knowing your own butcher (mine is my neighbor, Bruno), seeing – and often choosing – the cut of meat that is fed into the meat grinder to produce the exact quantity of ground meat that you desire, or asking your butcher to slice the chicken breast actually off the chicken and then into fillets for you.

Today, my butcher and his family were proud to be planning to feast on some piglets this weekend. With no provocation whatsoever, he brought the little piggies out of the walk-in fridge to show my daughter and me how adorable they were, even in death.

Morally, my view is that I would rather exist than not, which opens me up to eating a wide variety of animals, as long as they are killed humanely. If you wish to not see dead animals, look away now.

Five Piglets

Oink! They look a bit like a barbershop quartet.

Five Piglets

Little piggy bottoms.

Five Piglets

Five snouts.

Five Piglets and Hachet

They looked awfully cute draped over the counter like this, as if they were awaiting drinks at a bar.

Nora and Five Piglets

Nora liked them.

Nora and Bruno and Five Piglets

This is only the second time she has allowed herself to be picked up by Bruno, our neighbor and butcher.

Nora and Bruno and Five Piglets

Cute little oinkers.

Five Piglets

While familiar with the phrase “not by the hair of my chinny chin chin”, I never knew that piglets actually have little whiskers on their chins!

Five Piglets Legs

If Nora hadn’t demanded my phone to snap pictures, I would never have noticed how interesting they look from her angle down at the ground.

I wish my supermarket friends a marvelous spit-roasted porcine feast this weekend. ¡Que aprovechen!

  • Anonymous

    Hey, no fair!  How can they possibly show you that array of meat and not invite you to the feast?  That isn’t considered “good neighboring” where I’m from.

    Shouldn’t that be “butchershop quartet?

    It is a bit difficult to remember how isolated the average American is from the meat production process, particularly in big cities.  Good reminder.

    I particularly like how a visit to the neighborhood butcher (Halal, in my case) frequently becomes an impromptu anatomy lesson, as most of the organs are laid out for examination beside the muscle.  

    I remember what a big deal it was to have the opportunity to dissect a cow’s eyeball in, if I remember correctly, 7th grade.  A couple of weeks ago my nephew, daughter and I were talking about eyes, walked down to the corner, grabbed a couple, and went back to the house to cut ’em up.  What a marvelous opportunity for learning.  

  • bawa

    So true! Number One of my 2 butchers (1 = everyday, 2 = steaks and other big stuff), actually owns a “caserio” where he rears the lambs – a few 100s- he sells us. The beef is produced by his neighbour, and another one does cheese. 

    I was introduced to a “Vegan” in Cantabria the other day. Actually, the way they pronounced it I thought he was a bigamist at first!!! (¡bégano!)

    And he then proceeded to regale us with a tale of how well he ate in Bilbao at a place that almost Only does 1-2 kgs steak, and on being question, thats is what the vegan was eating. Must have been his off day.

    We now get fresh milk delivered directly from a dairy in Cantabria