friday feast: hamming it up


Oinkity oink oink.

Happy March!

It’s National Pig Day!

Gather round, ye swines, sows, piglets and poetry-loving porkers. We’re mud-wallowingly happy to squeal your praises today. Surely none other in the animal kingdom is as clean, intelligent, belly beautiful or lick-the-fat-off-your-face tasty!

*pork fat reverie*

Mr. Cornelius delivering the keynote address at the 2013 Alphabet Soup Pig Day Conference.
Captive audience hangs on his every word.
“Now, let’s talk about that flying thing . . . “

Where would we be without our Sunday morning slices of crispy bacon, our juicy honey-baked Easter ham, our Wednesday night pan-fried pork chops with biscuits and gravy, our fall-off-the-bone bourbon-glazed baby back ribs? Oh, tempt me with your tenderloin, your coy cutlets, your heavenly hocks! Whether sausage, shoulder or bountiful butt, you alone wear the Crown.

To barbecue or not to barbecue — that’s not even a question. Aye, there’s the dry rub.

*trit trot, trit trot*

manet ham
“The Ham” by Edouard Manet (oil on canvas, 1880)

by Roy Blount, Jr.

Though Ham was one of Noah’s sons
(Like Japheth), I can’t see
That Ham meant any more to him
Than ham has meant to me.

On Christmas Eve
I said, “Yes ma’am,
I do believe
I’ll have more ham.”

I said, “Yes ma’am,
I do believe
I’ll have more ham.”

I said, “Yes ma’am,
I do believe
I’ll have more ham.”

And then after dinner my uncle said he
Was predominantly English but part Cherokee,
“As near as I can figure,” I said, “I am
an eighth Scotch-Irish and seven-eighths ham.”

My soul.
I took a big hot roll,
I put in some jam,
And butter that melted down in with the jam,
Which was blackberry jam,
And a big old folded-over oozy slice of HAM . . .
And my head swam.

Hit me with a hammah,
Wham bam bam!
What good ammah
Without mah ham?

Ham’s substantial, ham is fat,
Ham is firm and sound.
Ham’s what God was getting at
When he made pigs so round.

Aunt Fay’s as big as she can be —
She weighs one hundred, she must weigh three.
But Fay says, “Ham! Oh Lord, praise be,
Ham has never hampered me!”

Next to Mama and Daddy and Gram,
We all love the family ham.

So let’s program
A hymn to ham,
To appetizing, filling ham.
(I knew a girl named Willingham.)
And after that we’ll all go cram
Ourselves from teeth to diaphragm
Full of ham.

~ from One Fell Soup, or I’m Just a Bug on the Windshields of Life (Atlantic Monthly Press/Little Brown & Co., 1967).

from The Tale of Two Bad Mice by Beatrix Potter

* * *

Soooooo-ey!! What a sporktacular poem. Let’s pig out!

ham crostini
Pear, Parma Ham and Blue Cheese Crostini via Budgens (click for recipe)

True Story: When I was a wee lass in pigtails, I wrote a Mother’s Day poem that got published in the PTA newsletter. The first word of this, my first ever poem to appear in print, was BACON.


Southern Barbecued Spareribs via

Another True Story (don’t tell Cornelius): Before my home became a safe haven for bears, I went through a brief “pig phase” (from pen to den). We all have our little dalliances . . .🙂

pigs in a blanket
Crescent Dogs via Pillsbury (click for recipe)

Yet Another: After seeing the movie, “Babe,” I couldn’t eat ham or bacon for years. I still love him, along with Wilbur, Piglet, Porky and Petunia, Little Pig Robinson, Pigling Bland, Poppleton, Mercy Watson, Jane Yolen’s Piggins, Miss Piggy, and the Three Little Pigs, but now I’m usually first in line for a good pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw and pickles. (I’ll pass on the pickled pigs feet, pigs ears, pork rinds and chitlins.)

*some pig*

root beer pork
Sweet & Spicy Root Beer BBQ Pork via Snappy Gourmet (click for recipe)

Did you know the word “barbecue” was derived from French-speaking pirates, who called a Caribbean pork feast “de barbe ii queue”, which translates as, “from beard to tail”? Another reason to love pigs — they’re omnivorous (not picky eaters at all), and can be consumed from snout to tail (such versatility!).

“That’ll do, Pig. That’ll do.”

maple bacon cupcake
Maple Bacon Cupcakes via ThucY4611

With sincere apologies to our vegan and vegetarian friends, what porky foods do you like? And do you have any favorite fictional pigs or pig books?

* * *

poetryfriday180The brilliant and wonderful Julie Larios is hosting the Roundup today at The Drift Record. Wear your finest pink, trot on over, and have fun rooting around for a few good poems. Take her a cookie, if you like.

pig cookies
Piggy Cookies via Carroll’s Cookies ‘n Crumbs

That’s all, Folks!


Copyright © 2013 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

48 thoughts on “friday feast: hamming it up

  1. How fun! I love pigs. That poem is brilliant and I want a crostini :0) Thanks for sharing, Jama!


    1. Now you’re talkin’. Bread, lightly toasted, bacon mostly crisp with just a touch of chewiness, crisp lettuce and garden fresh tomato. Sigh.


  2. Mr. Cornelius looks so presidential! I’ve been a vegetarian a full half my life now, but I do still remember the smell and taste of the ham my grandmother (one of those older relative types referred to in Mr. Blount’s description of Aunt Fay) would make for holidays when I was a kid.

    My 17-year-old son likes me to fix the Morningstar Farms version of bacon – it’s pretty tasty, actually! (And my poor mother-in-law was given a decorative pig figure once, and over the years family and friends have insisted on adding to her “collection.” One or two usually end up sneaking into the nativity displayed at Christmas… ;0) )


    1. I hope your “presidential” comment doesn’t go to his head.

      Haven’t yet tried the Morningstar Farms bacon. Must look for it. It’s funny how these collections sometimes start — I guess those piggies must like your MIL, whether she likes them or not.🙂


  3. PIGS! And I do love ham, bacon, pork roast… I LOVE that the first word in your first published poem (a Mother’s Day poem, no less) was BACON! Priceless! What did your mom think? Thanks for giving me yet another smile today, Jama! Love your blog…=)


    1. Pork roast, with roasted potatoes, homemade applesauce, a little braised red cabbage?🙂

      I can’t remember my mom’s reaction, nor can I remember more than the first line or so of the poem. The title: “Mother is Near”. Now, as they were back then, my thoughts of her are mostly of cooking and being in the kitchen.

      Thanks for your nice comment, Bridget.

      P.S. Didn’t you study at Hamline?😀


  4. So much to savor!! You covered so much territory–as usual. I didn’t realize there were so many famous pigs!!!


  5. My Jama, what a beautifully porcine allure your post has today. I love bacon, not much else-sorry. But the pictures are divine. I had a favorite childhood Golden Book titled Gaston and Josephine, about two little French pigs-delightful travelers, & then there’s Oliver Pig, one of my children’s favorites. Just think how much enjoyment these lovely pigs give us in their stories! Thanks for the lovely tribute!


    1. Gaston and Josephine sound absolutely delightful! Oui, oui! I’m not sure I know Oliver Pig.

      Yay for bacon love. No ribs for you, Linda? We must convert you . . .🙂


  6. My mouth is watering after reading your post. Fun and brilliant as usual!

    We are reading Lloyd Alexander’d Prydain chronicles around here, and Hen Wen the oracular pig is fast becoming my all-time favorite.


  7. I had no idea it was National Pig Day! My folks and I raised pigs for nearly 20 years, and I love pork; take away my steaks, take away my chicken – but don’t touch my ribs, ham, bacon, or pork roasts!


    1. Wow, you’re a porker through and through! And the second person I know associated with a pig farm. I always felt that if I were that close to them, and had to see them slaughtered I’d never want to eat them. Did that ever bother you?


      1. I never had that problem because we named them things like Patty Porkchop, Harvey Ham, Barney Bacon…so we never forgot what they were being raised for. We treated them very well, too – good food, tummy scratchings – so while they were alive, they lived a good life.


  8. BTW, another poem I would add to the festivities is by Ogden Nash:

    The pig is not a nervous beast,
    He never worries in the least:
    He lives his tranquil life unshaken
    And when he dies, brings home the bacon.


    1. Those pig salt and pepper shakers come in handy when we have dinner guests. Each gets his own pair as part of his table setting.


  9. I am not a pork eater, but your post was plenty delicious. My favorite lines in the poem were: “Ham’s what God was getting at
    When he made pigs so round.”

    Poet Chris Abani has a wonderful ode to pork, but I can’t find it on the web. If I locate the poem, I’ll send it to you, Jama.


    1. Thanks for the link — hadn’t seen that book, but I did see your piggy poem at the Porkopolis website. Good to know it’s also included in the Illustrated Guide.🙂


  10. One of the reasons why I don’t think I can be a vegetarian: bacon! ham! hotdogs! I mean, come on, what would breakfast be like without those crispy luscious goodness? Seriously! I love that Beatrix Potter illustration, I just borrowed her complete set from our library, thick book that I have a feeling I won’t really get to read, but well at least it’s here with me, ready when I am.🙂


    1. I purchased a complete set of Potter books when I lived in England. One of my favorite treasures made all the more special because I also got to visit Hill Top Farm in the Lake District and see her original watercolors in the museum. I remember being surprised at how vivid the colors were in person. Be sure to read The Roly Poly Pudding — named our dining room after that one.🙂 Love those “very hard knots.”


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