Thursday, March 25, 2010
Power of the Pig
There’s something beautiful in using almost all of your resources and wasting as little as possible. Butchering pigs is one thing that can fall into this category. Lately I have been doing a lot of research on food and everything that goes with it; one, because I love food, and two, because my thesis is on the topic of eating. One thing I have learned is that Americans tend to not know where their food comes from. As a first generation (half) Chinese American, I have grown up knowing exactly what I am eating. For example, ducks hanging in the window in restaurants in Chinatown? Makes me salivate. Looking at the fresh meat at Findlay Market is also, by far, my favorite thing to paruse over there. I like to think that fresh meat can be compared to exploring the inner workings of a computer and knowing the possibilities that can be done with it.
I came across this video of Vadim Akimenko who butchers a 211 pound pig and has only one pound of waste in the end. It’s a really beautiful video. After reading a little on butchering, I can see that a lot of butchers try to use the utmost respect when doing their job. You can see in the second video, Jeffrey Ruhalter butchers half a hog at Jeffrey’s Meat Market in New York City. He shows what cuts come out of the hog, and how they can be used.
The Pig & The Butcher from Quarter Productions on Vimeo.
Another great resource is PIG 05049. It is a journey tracing the various parts of a pig called 05049 and seeing what is made out of them. Designer Christien Meindertsma published this project as a way to document the amazing array of products this pig’s parts are used for. I have only had the chance to look at the book, but it is really inspiring stuff!
I’ve always been a beef person, but after learning the phenomenon of the pig, pork sounds a little better, doesn’t it?