Pig Roast, American Slow Food

More

At the Yale Farm, we make pizza every Friday, but we make pig once a year. Our tradition is only a year old, but I have high hopes that for generations to come, on the last day of classes, Yale students will celebrate by roasting a pig.

Right now we're in the planning stage, swapping recipes, debating whether or not to offer vegetarian side dishes (the general consensus: but collards just taste so much better with a ham hock!), and waiting for a local farmer to slaughter our pig.

By the end of the pig roast, we were charcoal-blacked and pork-perfumed, not to mention absolutely exhausted. But we were also exhilarated.

There's a lot of talk about the effete, European nature of the slow food movement, and I think events like pig roasts remind us of what Americans have had to offer the world of food.

Lately I've been reading a book enthusiastically titled America Eats!, which revives a 1935 WPA project that had impoverished writers around the US hunting down and recording regional food traditions. The events described--Booya feasts, chitlin struts, pancake breakfasts--tend to involve big, long-cooked meals that bring a community together, whether it's to celebrate a harvest or to raise money for the local fire department. At Yale, we roast our pig on the last day of spring semester classes.

curley apr14 pig2.jpg

Photo by Sean Fraga

It takes about five or six Yale students, working in shifts, to cook a pig: they watch it for the 20 hours or so it has to cook, making sure it stays around 250 degrees or so, adding the occasional shovelful of charcoal, and basting with apple cider and vinegar.

Four more are charged with cooking up the mountain of cornbread, coleslaw, and black-eyed peas that will serve the 200 or so Yale community members who stop by the farm to partake.

By the end of the pig roast last year, those of us who had been cooking for a crowd of 200 were charcoal-blacked and pork-perfumed, not to mention absolutely exhausted. But we were also exhilarated, because not only had we fed the masses, but we'd started a tradition, something Yalies love to do.

April 24, 2009, marks the Second Annual Jack Hitt Last-Day-of-Classes pig roast; if you're near New Haven, stop by the Yale Farm around 5pm.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Anastatia Curley is the former Communications Coordinator of the Yale Sustainable Food Project. More

Anastatia Curley is the former Communications Coordinator of the Yale Sustainable Food Project. She now lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she writes, cooks, and caters local and sustainable meals.
Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Why Are Americans So Bad at Saving Money?

The US is particularly miserable at putting aside money for the future. Should we blame our paychecks or our psychology?


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Death of Film

You'll never hear the whirring sound of a projector again.

Video

How to Hunt With Poison Darts

A Borneo hunter explains one of his tribe's oldest customs: the art of the blowpipe

Video

A Delightful, Pixar-Inspired Cartoon

An action figure and his reluctant sidekick trek across a kitchen in search of treasure.

Video

I Am an Undocumented Immigrant

"I look like a typical young American."

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Writers

Up
Down

More in Health

Just In