After I described the Whole Hog Dinner to a curious He Who Must Not Be Ignored, he grew quite indignant: “You ate pig’s head and you didn’t save me any cheek? That’s my favorite part!”
Feeling guilty of parental malfeasance, I assured him that there would be more opportunities to sample pig’s head. Thanks to a recent tweet from St. John general manager Thomas Blythe, that opportunity may arrive sooner rather than later. Today’s “Word of Mouth” in the Guardian features an article with accompanying video of food writer Tim Hayward purchasing a pig’s head at Smithfield market and taking it to the St. John kitchen, where Fergus Henderson teaches him how to cook it.
I found the recipe, “Pot-Roast Half Pig’s Head,” in Beyond Nose to Tail, the second St. John cookbook (with the now-notorious in this household correction to the Eccles Cake recipe). The procedure is remarkably simple, using simple ingredients (of course), but it was Henderson’s introduction that seized my attention:
I say only half a head, as it is a perfect romantic supper for two. Imagine gazing into the eyes of your loved one over a golden pig’s cheek, ear and snout.
It’s as if he had been sitting next to us while we dined three days ago. He captured the mood perfectly.
But would the boy understand? Nope. He won’t be satisfied until he’s had his pig cheek. Time for a trip to Savenor’s for a special order. Stay tuned.