SouthCoast Hit With Shortage of Pickled Pigs’ Feet
Back in the day, when folks had to raise or rustle up their own chow, they were less picky about what crossed their lips. Some of what we might now consider to be disgusting was heaven-sent to those in search of a meal and it was appreciated for what was: life-sustaining nourishment.
Let’s consider the Native American tribes that hunted bison. Every bit of that hulking creature was put to good use. From the meat, the organs, the bones, and the hide, tribes such as the Lakota who wandered the Northern Plains prepared food, clothing, tarps, and even weapons. Nothing was wasted.
Many of our parents and grandparents remember their kinfolk raising cows, pigs, chickens, and more to provide food for their families. Again, none of it went to waste. Still today, many older members of our local South Coast community include animal tongues, brains, feet, organs, blood, tail, and even ears as part of their diet. Why? Are there no grocery stores with more civilized options?
It’s because discarding such things is wasteful.
My father, who is almost 90 years old, is one such person. My father-in-law, who is 91, is another. Both men have hearty appetites for things many of us might find repulsive, such as pigs' feet. Pickled pigs' feet, to be exact, although I understand that boiled pigs' feet are the cat’s meow for some. Not so for this cowboy.
Over the many years, my father-in-law would ask me to find pickled pigs' feet in a jar for him because his local market was out. I did. So it was this Christmas that I searched high and low for a jar of pickled pigs' feet for my father-in-law, but to no avail.
The pickled pigs' feet crowd is a dying breed, therefore fewer stores stock the things. Price Rite on Hathaway Road used to carry them, but no more; nor does Market Basket. The ongoing supply chain crisis has made it difficult for those stores that still do carry pickled pigs' feet to get them. Xavier’s Market on North Front Street carries them when they are available as does The Butcher Shop on Dartmouth Street. Neither had them in stock.
My pursuit of pickled pigs' feet was not successful, though I am told I can order them online and have them shipped by Amazon.
The very thought of stuffing a pig’s foot that has been soaking in pickle juice in my mouth triggers my gag reflex. Have you ever eaten one? Would you?
Southeastern Massachusetts has a rather diverse culture, so I am sure there are some interesting things besides pigs' feet being eaten around here. What are some things that others might consider unusual that are a part of your diet? Do share recipes if you have any.