Neighborhood Food: The Other "Local"

Are those feet? Yes, they are, and these feet and the pig they're attached to were roasted on my street in Brooklyn today. May 4 was Summerfest, the annual Carroll Gardens street fair, and P.J. Hanley's Tavern set up a cinderblock roaster in a parking space.

One of the great pleasures of the neighborhood fair is seeing Brooklyn-raised kids react to seeing a whole pig. The younger ones are totally transfixed, and older kids are too, with a little horror mixed in.

I know that it is perhaps aesthetically distasteful to see a whole animal on the street, but it's a nice reminder, too, that our delicious meat sandwiches used to have a face.
It was special enough to me to dash from Manhattan to Brooklyn and back again during the lunch break at Murray's Cheese boot camp (see my cheese blog for a report on this, soon). And for my dear friend Aaron, who was a co-cheese intern with me, to make the trip as well.

And this pig, with its face still intact, had a decidedly personal handling. The guys working the barbecue pit live in the neighborhood and work at the corner tavern. The pig itself came from Esposito butcher, a terrific old school pork store only five blocks from where this pig was served.
It's a cozy feeling to know that the purveyor and the cook know each other (and me!) . It's reassuring to know that the whole pig was carried, not trucked, from the store to the grill. Is this a pasture raised, organically fed, heritage breed pig? Of course not. But there is something to be said for the personal care that went into this beautiful paper plate of chopped pork.

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