MY NEPHEW Pannon had recently memorized some idiomatic expressions. He had been following us around the house to show off what he had stored in his freezer.
“I wrote my first poem yesterday. I think I have enough talent to bring my pigs to market,” he told Uncle Gustave, who joined us at breakfast.
Uncle squealed joyfully because he found an opportunity to tease the boy.
“It would be difficult to sell your poem these days, Pannon. There’s no market for your type of pig. Sorry, but do continue writing.”
“Why Lolo? It only means doing what you’re capable of doing,” the boy replied.
“Well, it might no longer be such a brilliant idiom. With the African swine flu still scaring off more people than ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ did, I think I’m better off pigs.”
I corrected my uncle on that point. The ASF only affects the poor pig. And to think 2019 is the Year of the Pig. In the past weeks, the Department of Health has been reassuring people that the flu does not pose any harm on human health.
There are still a lot of people who are afraid to consume pork. In the spirit of fun, here are some dishes you can do to make it appear like pork.
Cabbage Q. Mix ground beef with minced garlic, bell pepper, onion and grated potato. Cook the mixture in olive oil and drain once the meat turns brown. Allow to cool before adding bread crumbs and forming into rolls.
Wrap the beef rolls with cabbage leaves. Thread two pieces with barbecue stick. Pan grill. Drizzle with cheese (optional), then bake till cheese turns golden. Or maybe just order a box of pizza for dinner.
Hambbage Roast. Make pork roast using cabbage. I mean it. Am I smiling? I am just wearing a “smiley mask.”
Remove the hard core from cabbage, then quickly blanch and plunge in ice cold water. Remove some of the leaves from the center and chop. Mix this with diced potatoes, minced carrots, grated garlic, lean ground beef and one egg as binder. Use this to stuff the cabbage.
Place in a roasting pan, open side down, and drizzle with tomato sauce. Roast a few minutes, basting with pan juices whenever you remember. Cover with sliced cheese and allow to cook some more till cheese turns “pork brown.” Better still, eat out.
“Your recipes today seem to be the equivalent of tongue-in-cheek, Uncle,” Pannon said.
My Aunt Tita Blitte disagreed. “It is in fact an equivalent of finding one’s tongue. It is a good statement about why we should still eat pork. And his recipes can be worked around to be useful.”
“That’s right. Do not allow ‘swinophobia’ to get the best of you,” said Peetong, my cousin Dona’s husband.