High On The Hog

While driving along with Fuji The Toyota ( Fuji is doing remarkably well, which can’t be said for its corporate parent) listening to the radio ( no texting, thank you), I heard the words “ for sure he wasn’t living high on the hog”. What a wonderful cliché! Certainly I could make a blog post out of it.

A little research into origins of “ living high on the hog” did not reveal any blockbuster ideas for a post. The phrase usually refers to an affluent life style, the high on the hog indicating eating the best cuts of meat from the pig such as pork chops and ham as opposed to satisfying ones hunger with belly pork and pig’s feet. Pig’s feet! That brings back a few memories.

As a youngster my father often cajoled me to try pig‘s feet. I usually did as Pop said , but no such delicacy for me. I preferred eating high on the hog. If high on the hog was not within our budget there was always pasta - except for one recipe, spaghetti and anchovies.

Spaghetti and anchovies was a staple every Christmas Eve. Someone had decreed that on Christmas eve meat was to be shunned - no eating high on the hog. In our family, the dish of choice was spaghetti and anchovies. As I recall the only members of the family devouring this atrocity were our parents. Anchovies are small salty green fish with the emphasis on salty. Anchovies are also popular with pizza. Again, I’ll pass.

Perhaps one of the most vile dishes I was ever asked to make part of my diet was tripe, better known in my circles as trippa. Wikipedia says that beef tripe is usually made from only the first three chambers of a cow’s stomach. Unwashed (or "green") tripe includes some of the stomach's last content, giving it an unpleasant odor and causing it to be considered unfit for human consumption. Though it is called "green" because it has a high chlorophyll content, in reality it is often grayish brown as a result of other undigested compounds.
For human consumption, tripe must be washed and meticulously cleaned. It is ideal to boil it for two or three hours in water with salt to soften it and also clean it in the process.

Talk about much ado about nothing, anything requiring such meticulous treatment to make it edible is in reality not edible. Pop and I parted on this one also.

By now the reader must have concluded that I’m a finicky eater. Not really, as long as the food is high on the hog. In my defense I submit that I have eaten pig’s blood pudding and actually thought it was tasty. I suspect that the blood came from high on the hog.

There is one delicacy that my mother prepared that I ate under false pretenses. My mother thought I was in love with stuffed artichokes. As a child I dutifully ate the stuffed artichokes which in itself was a labor intensive chore. The stuffed artichokes were equally labor intensive to make which probably was the reason I never divulged well into adulthood that I could do without them. I’m sure my mother went to her grave wondering who would make stuffed artichokes for me. Fortunately no one rose to the occasion and that was OK with me.

My musing about foods I can do without came to an abrupt end when I realized why Fuji and I were out for a drive. Fuji was hungry! I pulled up to a gas station and got ready to fill Fuji up when I heard, “ how about some hi test”. No way Fuji, you’re not eating high on the hog. Its regular for you.

1 comment:

Charles Leck said...

You bring back many memories for me, especially about tripe. How my parents loved it and how we kids hated it. And pigs feet! How my dad loved them. I think, coming out a depression, our parents learned to eat more creatively. How they enjoyed kidneys and liver and tongue! The only one of those things I can eat today is an occasional tongue sandwich at a reputable eatery. Thanks. Charlie (Minnesota)