Sunday, July 04, 2010

The Pork Shop

A recent trip to visit my family prompted me to take the book Too Many Cooks off of my bookshelf even though I've already enjoyed it a few times. This book by Emily Franklin is subtitled "Kitchen Adventures with 1 mom, 4 kids, and 102 recipes"- so you can see, if you know me or have read my blog before, that the book would call out to me. The author and I could be best friends really, having many other similarities besides number of children. She resides outside of Boston where I've spent many of my years, before and after starting my family. She seems to treasure the individuality and creativity of her babies which you'd be surprised is not as common as you'd think. And little things like the fact that she makes trip specific music mixes for the car- family friendly but not dumbed down. Anecdotes from nursing fumbles show up throughout the book, like having to be told by her older kids that her milky breast is still exposed when about to go out of the house. This is real life with a big family. It's a funny read because she is able to see the humor in the mundane. Frankly this is the success to happy and fulfilling parenting. If this were a mothering blog, I'd wax on about that for paragraphs. But it's not. We're here for the food.

For two chapters of Too Many Cooks, Emily explains about a visit to Culver, Indiana. An uncanny similarity because I spend handfuls of weekends every year in that very town in the home of my in-laws.

After coming from the saturated food culture of the east coast, I'll admit that I was skeptic that the Midwest would be able to fill that big of a hole in my life. Turns out it has, plus some, but again it's all in what you make of it.

She provides a great example of that. When visiting friends in Culver, Emily and crew take the opportunity to seek out the local food gems of Marshall county. We often joke that our lakehouse is in the middle of nowhere, and in a lot of ways it is. I've learned that there is intrinsic value in that. But that does not mean that it is void of individual culture.
From the last bite :: main site

Hog growing is a good business around these parts - the land is plentiful and the terrior, rich. The Yankauskas family has been raising pigs for a generation, and you can see in the photos below from my visit that they are doing a thorough job of serving the community with fresh and local meat. After re-reading these chapters, I had to make a go of it myself.
From the last bite :: main site

Noticing this sign on a small country road, my mother-in-law and I drove down a long dirt driveway to The Pork Shop. It consists of a small room containing seven full sized freezers full to the brim of frozen processed pork - processed in a Indiana approved facility which actually has more stringent regulations than the USDA facility. Don't get me started about that bureaucratic nonsense.

Each freezer has a sheet of paper taped to the front listing the cuts available. Whatever we couldn't find ourselves, Mrs Yankauskas directs us to. She is exceedingly friendly and eager to tell us about her business when she sees that we are willing to hear her out. Not only that, but we are allowed to meet this little guy, only five days old.

We left with 100$ of pork which turned out to be almost 30 pounds! A bargain for sure, but that wasn't our goal. We were there for the local goods. So far we've tried the ground pork for Vietnamese pork balls (similar to this recipe) and grilled brats for lunch on the fourth. So far it's been wonderful. Definitely worth the excursion.


Lilies of the Field said...

when you have a picture of an adorable piglet and the word 'ground pork' so close together... i want to kick your shins.

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