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Aug 31, 2011 07:05 AM

ISO - Quote on pig butchery. Very specific, Very obscure.

I had read a quote once on pigs and pork. I think that it was either in a John and Matt Lewis Thorne book or a book on Maine Eats. I am trying to find it with no luck.

The quote references a pig that has been butchered and is hanging in the barn. The author compares the animal to a canoe which hangs nearby. If I remember correctly, it closes with something to the effect of "Quiet and at peace."

It's really a remarkable quote but as I said, I can't find it. Any help would be appreciated.

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  1. Ernie, I couldn't find your quote, but is Serious Pig the book you're thinking of?

    7 Replies
    1. re: inaplasticcup

      Well, it's not a matter of the book, exactly. I have the book at home among others of theirs. I just can't seem to find the quote. I'm sure I didn't make it up...

      By the way, if you don't have this book, buy it. It's a favorite of mine, for what that's worth.

      1. re: Ernie Diamond

        Thanks for the recommendation. I am a big fan of pig, and I have oddly fond memories of the hog slaughters I witnessed when my parents used to have a restaurant, so I just might go out and get it.

      2. re: inaplasticcup

        Found it!!!

        If you are interested, it reads as follows;

        "My Mother's best dishes were tied into the different seasons. Strawberries and cream were tied into the Milky Way of daisies sweeping uphill over the June meadows. Spare-ribs were tied into the evenings white with hoarfrost, into the November air, into the bare trees - the time when the current pig hung, pink as a cherub in heaven, for once in his life, all passions spent and all bristles gone, opened wide and braced apart with spruce stretchers like a canoe, all his inner secrets bared, head down from the beam in the woodshed, at utter, utter peace."

        ~ Robert P. Tristam Coffin
        "Mainstays of Maine"

        1. re: Ernie Diamond

          Thanks for coming back to share that, Ernie. I love how he ties the seasons to specific food memories.

          1. re: inaplasticcup

            Incedentally, I wrote John Thorne to ask him if my memory of reading it in one of his books was correct. He responded, saying that I was mistaken and that he had not included that in one of his books. Excerpts of his responses as follows;

            "I don't come up with anything. I checked Serious Pig, as I'm sure you did, too. My guess is that the quote appeared in another book that you read because of my quoting from it. I think, for example, of Tomi Ungerer's Far Out Isn't Far Enough.

            "it seems a little to the left of what I would quote, unless it was a lengthy quote, since it's descriptive of the carcass rather than the process."

            When I finally dug it up and shared it with him, he found that he had in fact included it;

            "That's a great book! Definitely worth getting hold of if you're interested in Maine (and by extension New England) cooking. I wrote about it extensively in Serious Pig. Of course, that's the clue -- and there the quote is, on page 145. I'll be damned!"

            A funny exchange. Shows that even the best of us can't always trust our own memories.

            1. re: Ernie Diamond

              I think it's great that he tried as hard as he did to get to the bottom of it. And this little back and forth - What a neat souvenir to keep with your copy of the book!