Hebrew School

The Pork, the Yard, the Canal

Friday, October 10, the day following Yom Kippur, a Jew’s last chance to repent for the previous year’s vice. With the final blasts of the ram’s horn fading into whispery memory, all is somehow forgiven. But with these last moments of ritual comes a hunger– not just that feeling in your stomach from an all-day fast, if indeed your observance compelled you. It’s your soul’s momentary redemption, and with a clean slate and a fresh start, you begin to hunger anew for sin. Which is to say, you begin to hunger anew for swine.

Your despicable impulses take you to the banks of the most fetid body of water on the Eastern seaboard.

Can you smell that smell? The Gowanus Canal. (photos: Jill)

In the yard, a menacing beer line forms…

$1 Six Point Hop Obamas from 6-7pm. Election season has never tasted so delicious.

Bel Air strikes up a delightfully thunderous twang in celebration of Ear Farm‘s third birthday.

A 200-pound, organic, grass-fed heritage hog from upstate’s Fleisher’s gets its final flavor seal.

Marlow and Sons’ Tom Mylan slices pig, distributes cracklins. Holy Moses, indeed.

It is laid on a table for serving… (click for larger version)

Tacos de carnitas.

Apple crisp. This has no pork in it.

Darkness plunges the canal into a murky glow of streetlight, ignominy hidden.


The lake, the pork, the North

This post is a follow-up to this one.

A Jewish gentleman stood before a delicatessen display counter and pointed to a tray. “I’ll have a pound of that salmon,” he said.

“That’s not salmon,” the clerk said. “It’s ham.”

“Mister,” the customer snapped, “in case nobody ever told you, you got a big mouth.”

So yeah: Jews like to dig on the swine. And while I’m admittedly the worst possible spokesperson for American (let alone world) Jewry, I can safely declare that most Jews do not observe the laws of kashrut, nor do they shy away from pig partaking. No guilt, no sense of over-indulgence, just eating. This may seem obvious to Jewish readers, but I’m often bemused by non-Jews who are shocked that I (or you, or you) eat pork.

The whole thing only became enigmatic this past weekend when a group of us, embarking on a trip to enjoy New Hampshire’s beautiful nature and lakes, rolled up to the Yankee Smokehouse on Route 16 in West Ossipee. Boasts of the “largest open-pit this side of the Mason Dixon line” along with claims of Southern authenticity piqued our interest. (Also, we were very hungry.) And since our party happened to contain four Jews, two of whom were from the South (Atlanta and Tennessee), we were intent on setting the record straight.

In addition to it being the Shabbos, we also forgot that it was motorcycle weekend.

Fortunately the bikers mostly wanted to sit outside which meant there was still space for us.

The Friday night spread: pork ribs, baby-back ribs, beans, cole slaw, corn on the cob, a whole chicken, sliced beef, sliced pork,…

… really good sauce (I thought).

But without further ado, the judges weigh in. Continue reading