All I have been talking about for the last three months is how good the pasture-raised pork is from Fleishers.
- How it tastes like pork is suppose to taste.
- How breeders are breeding the fat back in after the anti-fat stigma of the 70s.
- How modern farmers are raising these animals on open range and supplementing their diets with tubers and apples.
So the family mandate was in. They wanted me to put up or shut up. Mom had scheduled a tamale making class for when I got home so I thought it would be perfect timing if I packed some pork back to Texas for Christmas tamales. Just one small problem, well, actually one big problem, how was I going to get all of my belongings and the pork packed in my suitcase?
I never got rid of the boxes I originally shipped my stuff up to New York in. They actually turned out to be multi-purpose, standing in as chest-of-drawers, a nightstand and a dining table. So flipping the boxes upright, I crammed in all of my earthly processions: espresso machine, cook books, cutting boards, boots and bedding and shipped them back to Texas via the neighborhood UPS store. That left me with my carry-on for the plane and one 55lb. box of pork as checked baggage.
Let me pause here to itemize the contents of my checked baggage: two 13 lb. Boston butts, four Frenched pork chops cut 1” thick, and one large hog’s head perfect for tamales.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words so I wish I had one to show you here, but I don’t. Just try to picture this scene in your head if you will:
I sauntered up to LaGuardia’s Southwest Airlines check-in and presented my documents for boarding. I then hoisted my box of pork onto the luggage scales and waited for my baggage claim check. It was at this point that Miss LaGuardia informed me that I must use "Southwest Airline approved boxes" for my belongings. Ok, no problem. So there on the spot I begin to unpack and transfer my pork to the approved shipping box.
Lets just say that Miss LaGuardia’s eyes moved to “alert” status when the lovely pink chops surfaced. By the time I was transferring the hog’s head, she was on full "Silence of the Lambs” alert. But the best part was when I reached down and grabbed my knife roll, looked up at her and said,
Ma'am, I’m a butcher and I am going to pull out my knives now.
I just wanted to let you know.
After a gasp then a pregnant pause, her relieved expression showed she now comprehended that indeed I was not Hannibal Lector, but an actual butcher. With the color returning to her face, Miss LaGuardia waved off security and finally handed me my baggage claim check. (Something tells me she is going to let the next guy in line slide with his cardboard boxes.)
My flight from LaGuardia to Chicago was easy, but the last leg into Austin seemed like it would never end. I was more than ready to be home, so I pre-maturely unbuckled “before the plane had come to a full and complete stop.” I grabbed my carry-on and quickly located my pork box at baggage claim. As I went to the outside curb for pick up, I spotted the most beautiful girl I have ever seen. There she was. Waiting curbside for me. Black hair, black eyes and fluorescent hunting collar. I dropped everything as my Remi ran to me for a good ear scratchin’ and face lick.
Home, sweet home.
Final Note: I’m back in Texas for a bit to re-group and plan my next leg of my carnivorous journey. In the meantime, I will be holding some jerky and sausage making classes. If you are interested, send me a message in the “contact me” section.
I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and eats well this holiday season. I sure will!