Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Thinking of Eating: Saying Goodbye

"You're cruisin' for a bruisin'," were his exact words. I'd been interviewing Portland bartender Dave Shenaut for an article about Portland Cocktail Week, and he asked what I'd been up to lately. I told him about Roger, the pig I was getting from Clare Carver of Big Table Farm, and that I'd wanted to get to know him, to put a name to the food on my table.

I've had other friends express everything from horror to admiration about the idea, but when I went out to Big Table to say a last goodbye to Roger before he was slaughtered, I knew that Mr. Shenaut had hit the nail on the head.

When I went into the pasture he shares with Don, the other pig Clare is raising, Roger drank some of the water we'd just poured into his bowl. Then, while Don slurped away, Roger came over and stood near me so I could scratch his ears and back. Clare had said that he liked his belly rubbed, so when I reached over his back and started scratching his belly, he slowly sank to his knees and rolled over on his side. He closed his eyes, and his piggy mouth turned up as if he was smiling.

As much as I've dreaded and, in an odd way, looked forward to it, this is Roger's last day. At six o'clock this evening, Richard will drive up to Clare's farm and kill Roger and Don, giving them an instant and humane death. I'll be there, as will another family who are taking half of one of the pigs. It's going to be hard, and tomorrow morning we'll butcher the meat, wrap it up and freeze it for what I'm sure will be some amazing meals.

I'll miss you Roger. You were a good pig.

Read the other posts in this series: Roger and Me, Roger Grows Up, The Day Finally Comes, The Meat of the Matter and Pasture to Plate.


Anonymous said...

Kathleen. I gotta tell you, as a longtime dachshund lover, what stopped me eating pork about 30 years ago was the realization--laugh if you want to--that pigs and my dachshunds have a lot in common, from babyhood looks to adult behavior. I admire your desire to connect with what you are eating but oh boy, I couldn't do it. Jeanie

Kathleen Bauer said...

I would never laugh at you or your dachshunds, my dear. Thanks for your thoughts and support, as always!