Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Porky colours

It is a wonder how anyone who grew up in Madras could ever get around to eating pork. When I was in school, the only pigs we saw were the ones that lived on the garbage dump at the 'Lake Area' near Valluvar Kottam. The stink of the garbage could be smelt one bus-stop away and if you were game enough to look at the mounds of muck, you would see an army of pigs gambolling through them, blissfully content with their surroundings. The only feature that distingushed them from the piles of black filth was their mobility. If they stood still, they would completely merge into the background, for their hairs and skins were blackened by constantly rooting around the garbage.

It was therefore a challenge to any butcher to sell pork. Buying it in the form of sausages or ham from Spencer's was the chosen mode. As pork gained popularity, other 'cold storage' outlets began to stock it, but even then, it was always the processed meat. The only shop that I have seen selling fresh pork is this one near the Saidapet bus stand on Mount Road. For RGS, the positioning was, and continues to be, important. This shop does not sell any old pig; it is 'white pork' that is sold (and it says so even more explicitly, 'white pig meat', in Tamizh).

This shop came to mind after a question at the Madras Day Quiz - What are the ingredients of Chinnamalai Pork Curry? This shop is close enough to Chinnamalai to have been the bespoke supplier of the main ingredient of that dish!



For the record, Chinnamalai Pork Curry (as described at the quiz) is made with pork, mango, brinjal and drumstick!

6 comments:

Ravindran said...

We are led to believe that white pigs dont do and eat what other pigs do and eat. If u believe it gulp it.

D.C. Confidential said...

In America, the American Pork Council had an ad campaign for a while with the tag line: "Pork: The other white meat."

Vincent D' Souza said...

A Mangalorean / Goan and pork cant be separated!
Perhaps that is why the Chinnamalai Pork Curry question at the Madras Day Quiz 2008 had to be accommodated.

And how!

Beatrix D'Souza, former MLA and MP and a leader of the Anglo Indian community and a former professor at Presidency College, Madras, has been a longtime friend and wellwisher.

We bumped into each other during the Madras Week celebrations and began discussing a 'book idea. One led to the other and ended up with the Pork Curry!

I dont have to tell you how the dish came to be!

I simply couldnt resist the eagerness to include the question that weekend.

It was one question that upset many people, going by their looks. A few hated it. And have said so online.

I felt it was truly, a Chennai question.

Now, most veggies are put off by pork because the closest they have had a rub of it have been the pigs who run on garbage dumps, as Shantaram observes.

The best pork in the city used to be sold/provided at the pig stys that priests/nuns used to run decades ago. (I wonder if the Jesuits at Loyola College run one today).

Then, the Animal Husbandry Dept. station in Nandanam used to have a meat stall - and what lovely pork it used to sell. Best bought before 8 am.

But the sausages of Goan villages!! Mmmm.

I have seen that Saidapet shop Shantaram mentions - should stop by and check it out.

Shantaram said...

>> Ravindran>> Welcome back!

>> DC>> I remember that - wasn't it about switching from chicken to pork?

>> Vincent>> You've got me all pork-hungry, now!

babooshka said...

It's fascinating to see the veariations in foods a round the world.

Shantaram said...

>> Babooshka>> I know! And there are new concoctions being dished up every day!