After successfully buying a chicken and cooking it, I thought I’d try another meat – pork. Although the meat section has some red flags in the sanitation and health department, I figured, everyone else eats this just fine, so I might as well try it. Ignoring the flies and lack of refrigeration, I headed towards the meat section.
I passed the smiling pig face…the skinless pig head…and the little bags of blood.
I had seen a big basin full of ground pork a few days earlier, which seemed like a relatively nonthreatening meat to start with. I planned on buying a half kilogram, but changed my mind when I saw the amount and price, and instead decided to go ahead and buy the full kilo which was only $3. The lady weighed out my meat, and handed me the bag by plopping it down on the counter into other porky juices. I smiled, said thank you, then kindly asked for a second bag to put the first bag in. We finished the rest of our shopping and headed home.
Later, I began dinner prep, which was just going to be a simple stir fry. After chopping the veggies, I took the bag of ground pork out of the fridge. In only a couple of hours, it had turned into a big solid mass as the fat had cooled and hardened. I sprinkled some salt and pepper on it and crushed a few garlic cloves.Ryan thought making meatballs with it would be a good idea to make it more appetizing in a stir fry, so I attempted to give that a go. I dug into the mass of meat with just one hand as I thought I should try to keep one hand clean. Remember, the sink is outside in another building. The kids were playing outside and I thought I should reserve a clean hand in case they needed me. Anyway, I plopped some rough looking meatballs into the skillet. Once the skillet was full I decided to go ahead and made the rest of the meat into meatballs to freeze and have for another meal.
At this point, I gave up on my one-handed approach and dug both hands in to form the rest of the balls. I was quickly surprised, when I started finding little hard bits, white bits, bloody jelly bits and more. There was SO much of it. I started to feel a little bit nauseous. The amount of rind, cartilage, skin and stringy fat was almost equal to the amount of meat! Had they run the entire pig through the grinder?! I briefly considered abandoning the bowl of pork, but there was no one around to save me. Ryan was gone to work.
I pep talked my way through it. I mean, c’mon, I’ve eaten out many times and had ground pork in lots of delicious dishes here. This has to be where they all buy it, right? Maybe once it’s cooked, the hard bits will melt way. I braved my way through it and threw out the “non meat” bits that were left.
Then I cooked it up and tried to push aside the “non meat” bits that had made it into the skillet earlier, before I had realized what I was dealing with. Any notion of meatballs quickly faded away as the fat melted and my formed balls all turned into a greasy pile of mush. I’m not at all afraid of fat, but all the unknown bits were a little much to handle.
Once the veggies were cooked, I stirred in spoonfuls of the meat careful to avoid as many unidentifiable parts as best as I could.
I decided to take the girls out on a walk to get myself some fresh air and work up some courage to eat dinner when we got back. We were able to check out the brand new Chinese supermarket – first ever supermarket in town. When we got home, I sprinkled some fresh cilantro on top of our meal and served it up. The girls thought it was great. Elise had 4 helpings and Talia said “yuuuuumy!” when I asked her how she liked it. I, on the other hand, wasn’t quite so eager, but did manage to eat a serving while discreetly setting aside or spitting out pieces of rind, cartilage and other strange bits in the meat. Let’s just say it may be awhile before I work up the courage to buy ground pork again. Note to self: ask a local friend about the ground pork situation.
Like I said, it’s not the fat the bothers me. In fact, did you know that your body needs saturated fat to function? It’s a myth that saturated fat makes you fat and causes heart disease. It’s the factory fats (margarine, vegetable oils, transfats) and sugar laden processed foods that will cause problems, NOT whole, natural fats. I really just have a hard time with those other bits.
What’s the craziest part of an animal you’ve ever eaten? Do you have any good ground pork recipes for me to try next time?