By raising, harvesting and curing our own livestock, we gain more than kitchen thrift, nutritional benefit and a reduced dependence on an abusive system.
We regain to know ourselves by intimacy with the lives and the labors that sustain us.
A domestic pig harvest is a way to measure time. It is no accident that the inherent seasonality to peasant harvesting and curing wove itself into the medieval calendar. It is a culture birthing discipline, one that pertains to our survival and invites our indulgence.
Nowadays, intelligent men and women are expected to be bored by domesticity. We ought rather to find fulfillment in fussy shopping, rather than an orderly larder. This puts me in the odd place of advocating the most radical position of all: a return to orthodoxy.
Slavish adherence to recipes is the bitter fruit of the home cook’s liberation from raising and harvesting a pig. Recipes have their place as time capsules, but most of the time they exist because the cook doesn’t know why the ingredients combine to make the dish. So rather than shackle her to quantities and temperatures, my approach is to give her command over the harvest. The temperatures and quantities then become intuitive.