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Lynn Deasy is a freelance writer, author, foodie, and garden tinkerer. She lives in a 600 year old house in southern France with her husband, Christophe. Currently, she is looking for a literary agent for her memoir CA VA? STORIES FROM RURAL LIFE IN SOUTHERN FRANCE which examines the oddities of French provincial living from an outsider’s point of view through a series of adventures that provide more than a fair share of frustration, education, admiration, and blisters…. yes, lots and lots of blisters. Lynn blogs every Monday, Wednesday, and sometimes Friday.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Pork Fair

            To all my dear, dear vegetarian friends: stop reading.  Seriously, I want you to respect me tomorrow, so flip back to work, to Facebook, somewhere, just stop reading.  I’m going to write about meat, and lots of it, because this is the Pork Fair.
The Pork Fair is an annual event at the market where very large pieces of fresh pork, such as sides, shoulders, and whole hams are sold in tack.  The price is dramatically reduced because all the butcher basically does is wrap the cleaned meat in plastic wrap and slap a price tag on it.

Last chance, my vegetarian friends because the photos are going to get meaty.

Okay, here we go.

Day one's purchase - that's right.  This is only half.
We do this every year.  We wait until the big sale and buy all our pork at once, which is pretty intimidating when we see what it takes to feed a man. We have a freezer that we fill up at a ¼ of the cost if we bought the same products throughout the year.  For hours, Christophe cuts chops, ham, or shoulder that I put into bags and label.  We bought a butcher’s knife just for the event after I protested his one-time use of an ax.  I think his secret desire is to be a butcher. Actually, we used to do all the work in one day, but it got to be too long.  We now break the task into two purchases and two 7 hours days.  We’re still exhausted at the end of the day, but at least we’re not working until midnight anymore.

I was pretty embarrassed at the store during our first Pork Fair pushing the cart full of meat.  In fact, I didn’t, and I distanced myself from Christophe who beamed proudly over the mountain of meat as the cart it sat in groaned with every advancing inch.  Now, even though I pray not to run into someone I know at the market, I embrace our annual ritual.  I still might push the meat filled cart, but I like our yearly stock up time in preparation of winter.
             A few years back, we were cutting and bagging our way through our purchase, and since it was warm outside, we had the kitchen window open.  It was Saturday, a hunting day, and a battalion of hunters were somewhere just outside the village.  From the other side of the square, I heard a soft tinkering of bells that grew louder and louder.  I opened the door to see what the noise was about and found 3 bell-clad hunting dogs hurling their way towards me.  Luckily, I slammed the door closed just in time, but we found ourselves cornered in the house for hours by the dogs who mistook our Pork Fair purchase for a boar.  After all, they are in the same family.  Christophe laughed at me.  “If we’re stuck in the house for days, at least we’ll have something to eat,” he chuckled.
A sharpie is an essential tool in the bagging process.

Another Pork Fair has come and gone. We can relax; the freezer god is feed and will keep us happy for the year.  Now we can start looking forward to other things, like the Fat Fair.  Didn’t I tell you about the Fat Fair?  It’s got something to do with a duck… a really fat duck.

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