Mypigmeup | 2013 January
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January 2013

 

  When it comes to famous mascots and amazing crowd support and fandom, few sports can match the intensity of the National Football League. After all, you had Barrel Man in Denver, the famous firefighter who rooted on the New York Jets loyally, and countless other supporters and fans across the country pushing their teams to victory week in, and week out.   But few fans really came up with as original and, ahem, as unforgettable work in their support as those of the Washington Redskins. I'm of course talking about The Hogettes, a group of middle-aged men who liked to dress up as women, in flowery, colorful dresses, with pig snouts on their noses. They loyally cheered at each and every Redskins home game, and even their fair share of road games over time on their way to being, well, unforgettable in the minds of most Redskins fans.  
  The other day, in the middle of a cold winter, I was wondering what would be comfort food from elsewhere in the world. Not your usual meat and potatoes from Europe, but something from, say, Asia. I specifically thought of something I usually like to make and treat myself that comes from Thailand. That was sweet and spicy Thai basil pork stir fry.   Stir frying meats and vegetables is a basic cooking technique from all over Asia, but the ingredients I use in this recipe are indigenous to Thailand. I love the way Thais use fish sauce, chili paste, curry, coconut milk, basil, cilantro, peanuts, and lime in so many of their dishes. The, what I call sweet heat, in their dishes tantalize the tongue and often clear your sinuses. And I love it.
  We know therapy dogs work in a variety of situations. You saw them in Newtown after the tragic shooting last month, helping victims and families cope and get through the emotional toil with a new furry, four-legged friend.   You see therapy dogs with soldiers, working to promote their mental and physical health as they get back from Afghanistan or Iraq, and work to improve their lives as they re-acclimate to civilian society.  
  Gordon Ramsay is at it again, and this time, he is feuding (again) with Mario Batali and his business partner April Bloomfield. Back in 2004, Batali and Bloomfield opened up a restaurant called the Spotted Pig in New York's West Village, and ever since then it has been an extremely solid and high quality restaurant and New York eatery.   With stars in the Michelin guide, stars dining in the restaurant, and great food and dishes prepared by world-class chefs, it's one of the more famous restaurants in New York, and certainly one that every other celebrity chef would know about.  
  When you’ve gone to your favorite Mexican restaurant and ordered the usual #2 dinner combo, did you ever think about looking around the menu for another selection? One selection available in many Mexican restaurants is carnitas.   Carnitas means “little meats” in Spanish. They are bite-sized pieces of meat, usually pork, that have been grilled or fried and then braised in a spicy broth. The meat used comes from sliced or cubed Boston butt or picnic ham. The cuts of meat are heavily seasoned before being fried or grilled. The seasoning often used are chili powder, garlic, cumin, onion, oregano, coriander, cinnamon, marjoram, thyme, and/or bay leaf.

  Well, it's official. In case you had ever wondered (and you KNOW I did!), Iowa has the largest pig and hog inventory in the United States. According to the US Department of Agriculture, Iowa has a whopping 20.6 million pigs and hogs on farms this year, as of December 1st.   And the population is rising! That's a three percent increase in pigs and hogs relative to last year. Believe it or not, our nearby neighbors to the north of me in Georgia have the second most pigs: North Carolina comes in with more than nine million pigs and hogs of their own, though that's less than half of the number one state in Iowa.  
There's a cool YouTube video out right now with a pig saving a baby goat from drowning, believe it or not. In the video, the pig saves a goat whose foot had become stuck at this underwater petting zoo.     I didn't know underwater petting zoos exist, of course, but I guess pretty much everything exists nowadays, so I don't know why I should be surprised...   Anyways, a YouTube user uploaded the video in September, and immediately it got a lot of play because, well, it's just amazing. When you watch the video, I've got to say I am really impressed with how it all worked out and what came from it - it is definitely cool and touching to see that little pig swim over and save the goat from maybe drowning or at least being stuck for quite some time.  

A PIG IN A POT, mmmm good!

 

Boneless pork chops braised in a crockpot is actually what I’m talking about.

  The slow cooking of meat has been around since the Stone Age. Cave men realized that by slow cooking meat and fibrous roots they became tender and were easier to eat. The heat broke down the collagen in the muscle to tenderize the meat. Of course, being cavemen and not Alton Brown, they didn’t understand the science behind this.   Later cooks and chefs realized that by first searing the meat and then slow cooking it in a liquid tenderized the meat and added more flavor. The flavor depended on the spices and the liquid used for the braising.
  In a weird and unfortunate story last week from the United Kingdom, three people have been arrested for what police say is leaving a pig's head outside a center used by Muslims in Leicester. Sadly, this sort of thing for attention (or to intimidate the group in question) is really nothing new, both in England and the United States.   The pig, of course, is offensive to Muslims since in their religion they consider it unclean, and they are not allowed to eat pork. So, naturally, finding a pig head is a pretty clear symbol and sign of offense, disrespect, and hate.   The Muslim center in that area is apparently considering a move into a new neighborhood, but there have unfortunately been a great deal of protests in the English neighborhood, and by the British National Party against the move and against opening a new center in general.  
How do you make quick and easy German potato salad? First be desperate for a side dish and have the necessary ingredients in your refrigerator and cupboard. Well that’s what happened to me. I was going to write a blog recipe on a roasted pork loin. Unfortunately, my oven went on the blink. Fortunately, the cooktop worked. Therefore, we have this recipe for German potato salad instead of roast pork.   Potatoes (kartoffels in German) have an interesting history in Europe. They were brought to Europe from South America by the Spanish because they were thought to be truffles. The word kartoffel comes from the Italian word tartufolo meaning truffle.