Not sure WTF is going on? Track back to PART ONE of my butchery adventure before reading on.
It’s a little over a month ago, and my colleagues and I are gathered around a carrot cake that’s been brought in for a team birthday. As we pass slices around, eat cookies and make idle conversation, the topic moves toward how I won’t be in the office that Friday. I’ve been calling my trip to The Salty Pig an “exclusive cooking lesson,” for the sake of not upsetting the more sensitive souls in the department, but one of my friends decides it’s time to Ron Swanson that euphemism outta the park:
“She’s going to butcher a pig.”
The conversation may as well have been shot out of the sky, given how quickly it shut down. Staring at several levels of management as well as my teammates, I quickly sketch out how unsettled I was by trying to cook pork shoulder a few weeks ago, ending with the part about handing the half-a-shoulder I couldn’t touch off to my friend. Who then continues piping up: “She said, and I quote, its skin felt like a man’s.”
Now, for the record, what I said was that it felt like human skin, and what I actually meant was that handling the pork shoulder made me feel as I imagine I’d feel hacking into a dead human body, and the subtext was a mild reference to zombies and apocalyptica and so on, but his retelling landed with the desired effect.
The general reaction: “You’re killing a pig?!”
No, butchering and slaughtering are two different things.
“Are you gonna be okay?!”
If I ever want to eat Bacon again with a clear conscience, I certainly hope so.
”Omigod how are you going to do that?”
No idea, but there’ll be three of us so if I get too grossed out at any point, my guess is someone else can take over.
“How do you feel about it?!”
I’m looking forward to it. I think it will be a great learning experience*.
I posted more than a few pictures of adorable pigs in top hats and teacups over the next few hours. I’m not sure why, but it made me less nervous. My co-butchery-student informed me I’d get no sympathy if I freaked out, after that.
That evening, I was on the bus to Boston to meet the friend I’d be taking the butchery lesson with, reflecting on the discussions I’d had with people about the lesson since winning it. Some, like my colleague, were so excited about the idea of the experience that they were trying to find out if I could bring them home a chunk of meat. Others, like my roommate, assured me they had no desire to take part in that kind of activity, and probably wouldn’t want to look at the photos I was promising to come back with.
Riding in the bus, alone with my thoughts, I contemplated the reactions of others: my mom, who seemed kind of incredulous when I told her I’d even entered the competition, let alone won – and the friend I was going to be having the lesson with, who’d gone so far as to study up for the next morning’s teachings.
Then I contemplated something else: this was going to be one of the first genuinely new experiences I’d had in a while.
I was looking forward to it.
Stay tuned for part three…
*Pro tip: Tack “a great learning experience” onto most activities and people will think you’re less the kind of person who wants to have the experience of cutting a giant piece of meat to pieces, and more a sort of eccentric academic. Right?