This little (or is it HUMONGOUS?) piggy went to marketâ€¦ When I was teeny tiny tot too young to resist my momâ€™s bribes (two cans of broas and unlimited hot chocolate) to spend a week or two with her in her ancestral town in Bohol, I had one of those memorable food experiences that I can still vividly recall today. Soon after we arrived at the town and ran around the house and grounds of relatives, one of the cousins took me out to see some â€œnewbornâ€ piglets. They must have been about 3-4 weeks old and they were cute as cartoons. Perky, hairy and beige-y pink, they really did look like moving stuffed animals. They asked me which one looked the cutest and of course I picked one of them, clueless that I had doomed its young soul to another dimension. In seconds, a sharp knife came out of nowhere, they slit the pigs throat, it squealed a blood curling scream and I skeedadled back to the main house, probably ready to faint. I am, you see, allergic to sight of blood. Always knew I wouldnâ€™t be a doctor. Now if that isnâ€™t a probinsyanos unveiled attempt to stick it to a city dweller, I donâ€™t know what is!
At any rate, I do recall refusing to eat pork that night, whatever it wasâ€¦ fried pork chops, grilled liempo or dinuguan, and sulked while eating my acharra, banana ketchup and rice. Despite that traumatic experience, I rapidly returned to consuming four legged animals as I could definitely not live on vegetables aloneâ€¦at the time, I only ate cucumbers! So last week, while at the farm, when I spied a small piggery on our land it brought back very vivid memories. But I am much older now, and curious enough to give it another try so I went smack into the middle of the piggery and said hello to the pigs. Despite the stench, oh yeah, pig doodoo SMELLS bigtime, I was actually shocked at the size of this whopping pig! At just 13 months old, this massive animal weighed over 170 kilos! Thatâ€™s an average weight gain of about 13 kilos a month! Yipes, thank goodness I am, not literally, a pig.
I was curious about the huge pig because I had recently purchased guanciale, a specialized Italian bacon made from pig cheeks. Guanciale is critical to an â€œauthenticâ€ spaghetti carbonara and it differs from other bacons made from the stomach or other parts of the pig. Well, wonder no more, large pigs have massive cheeks (facial, not butt), not to mention massive snouts and ears great for sisig!!! What did surprise me even more than the size of her cheeks was how engaging she could beâ€¦ she actually struck me as being incredibly intelligent and quite attentive. I tried to pet the pig (third picture above) but apparently you just donâ€™t do that so I decided to just pose for a picture insteadâ€¦ I tried to converse with the pig and asked her how life was and she really seemed to be listeningâ€¦ Once the pig is sent off to the market, she garners only PHP50-60 per kilo live weight or roughly 10,000 for a 170 kilo pigâ€¦seems a bit cheap for such a smart animal! Now I wonder how much her cheeks cost becuase the guanciale I bought was wicked pricey…