Pigs is Pigs? It Ain’t Necessarily So

by Betty Fussell

virginia_baconWill we ever get over our juvenile categorizing of foods as isolated chemical units designed to kill us? Are we a nation of ninnies who live in terror of whatever we put in our mouths? Or ninnies who just plain live in terror of death and keep uncovering enemies to justify our paranoia?

The latest Red Scare does not finger Russia or China, but Red Meat, beef or pork no matter. No matter what breed, how raised, how fed, how killed, how processed, how cared for or not. No matter — red meat contains traces of saturated fat. OMG we’re back to Evil Fat. See the latest Big Scare headlines from standard channel newsboys like ABC and CBS: “Eating Red Meat May Lead to Early Death.” So may yawning, sneezing, laughing, screwing.


Stop thinking that food=chemistry and that humans=test tubes in a lab. We are part of the whole organic food chain of the created world, whether we’re a man, carrot, grape or pig. That pig is no more simply the sum of its chemical compounds than we are.

Case in point:  On March 16, I watched a horrific HBO documentary about how pigs were treated on a Ohio pig farm: “Death on a Factory Farm,”  produced by Teale-Edwards from undercover footage  used as evidence in a recent court case. Does the fact that these pigs were treated worse than the shit they wallowed in, according to “standard” industrial practices, prevent me from eating a pork chop ever again? Of course not.

On March 22, I went to a Whole Hog Sunday Pig Roast at a small market/restaurant in Brooklyn’s Park Slope called Get Fresh Table and Market. The suckling pig was a Berkshire from Heritage Foods, beautifully roasted, along with a small whole lamb. We savored each bite of each red-fleshed animal. We celebrated life and good fellowship and the fertility of our shared creaturehood. The animals had been treated well all during that long transformation from animal to raw flesh to cooked meat on the plate. We rejoiced in the lamb and the pig. They gave us life, not death.

The Real Food is Life movement is on the march and there are myriad new ways to connect to it. I got onto the weekly Sunday Pig Roasts through Melissa Waldron of Lion’s Tooth Media, and she put me on to a new, well-named sustainable zine at Fertile Ground USA. Man’s flesh is red meat. Think about it.

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Posted on Mar 25, 2009