My Last Pig Roast

Reading Karen’s post about her dinner at Angelo’s Forge bought back memories.

I have only ever been on one pig roast my entire lifetime.  It was 1976, on the first leg of my Round the World Trip.  Had been to Malaysia and Thailand and had spent the most horrendous 18 hours of my life travelling from Malaysia to Indonesia in the hold of a boat during stormy weather.  Up, down, water over feet, water out of boat, repeat.  For 18 hours.

We were so wiped out when we landed, and I cannot remember where we landed, that we accepted the first bus trip out.  It was still dark, the bus was full of women, wailing babies and chickens, but it was on solid ground, and for now that was enough.  Even managed to sleep a little, and woke up as we drove over the hill to see Toba Lake spread out before us.

We had no idea where we were.  It had been a long journey in the dark, and we were lost.  The bus was surrounded by children all trying to sell us drinks or shoes or food – non of which we wanted right then.

Then a friendly man came and offered us rooms – remember, this was how you got rooms then.  So we followed, and found ourselves in little houses on the side of the lake, rather like those in the picture (had to get some stock ones – all my pics of that trip are in boxes right now, waiting for us to finish decorating the front room which we have been doing for a year now… some day soon… honest!)

After a long sleep, and some food, we were feeling much better.  Even able to cope with the Asian Cockroaches.

But after a few days, the island in the middle of the lake, Samosir, began to appeal.  We had heard it was even more primitive that where we were staying, which had a generator and thus cold water.  Bliss.  But the idea of living somewhere without electricty appealed, so we caught a ferry across the island and negotiated with the local policeman for somewhere to stay.

We moved into a house on stilts, living above the family’s animals – including the pigs.  Very important, the pigs, on an island with no running water, only wells, and no sewer system.  Very important for one very good reason.  They were the sewer system.

When you wanted to defecate, there was only one place to.  Shielded on one side from the village but otherwise totally open to the elements – no roof, no walls – no hole in the ground.  You just had to do your business and leave it, steaming, and get away before the pigs rushed to eat it.  Nice.

Which is why the only pig you were likely to eat there was a suckling pig, and that only on special occasions, like the wedding we were invited to.  And went to.  And ate the suckling pig.  With many reservations.  I have never had a tapeworm and I really didn’t want to acquire one before I even reached Australia!  But it would have been extreme rudeness to say so, so we had our platter full and scoffed it all down.

One of the best meals I have ever eaten, all things considered – hunger, being pretty stoned, very fresh food, and a lot of local hooch all combined to make an extremely pleasant day.

Which I have not thought about in years.  Thank you, Karen, for bringing this memory up to the surface.


About bookmole
I am pro-choice. You make yours, I'll make mine, okay?

5 Responses to My Last Pig Roast

  1. AgentGabs says:

    that is so freakin' cool!my last pig roast was this past summer, growing up in miami you end up going to school with a lot of cubans and other random hispanics who's' families are from the Caribbean, so every birthday party includes a giant dead cooked pig ::laughs:: (which is why its strange to see a Jewish Cuban)and around christmas time…everyone and their mother (cept mine, we're peruvian..we have pork loin in the oven) has a pig cooking in the backyard.

  2. karen says:

    It's not easy to have a pig roast in the big city – you have to a) know someone who hunts them (or a pig farmer for the suckling pig you spoke of -yum) AND b) have a place to cook it. Since Xav and Angelo are both hunters, and Angelo is a blacksmith, we've got both of them covered. We do this 2-3 times a year – the last one was outside in the hills above the wine country.

  3. Bookmole says:

    The idea of knowing a hunter is odd to me. The only hunters I am likely to see on any sort of regular basis have four legs and a tail, and go meow. Apart from Hunting with Hounds (snobs in red coats, riding horses and watching a pack of hounds tear a fox to pieces) we do not have a hunting culture. Would be cool to know a blacksmith. Just to see someone working hot metal would be cool (except it would probably be hot!). Have seen glass blowing – that's just neat – so seeing someone hammer and shape red-hot metal does appeal.Give us a barbeque, though, and we can cook the world!

  4. karen says:

    I was not a big fan of hunting until my husband started cooking the most marvelous things he had killed: deer, elk, boar, geese, quail, ducks…now my feeling is, as long as we eat it, it's ok.
    Blacksmithy is loud. And they use less fire than you might think. When I first met Angelo he had this big fire pit, but he had it removed in favor of this much less sexy kiln-link fire maker. Interesting, but not as dramatic.

  5. karen says:

    Er, rather, blacksmithING is loud.

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