Bacon in the Wild

pig-reading-bacon-bookZingerman’s 4th Annual Camp Bacon is coming soon and to help get everyone prepared, we’re sharing tasty excerpts and recipes from Ari’s book, Zingerman’s Guide to Better Bacon

Call of the Wild

As pigs became commonplace in colonial America, some naturally escaped the farm and went feral. Said to have been exceptionally ugly and exceedingly tough, these “wood hogs” were prevalent anywhere where pigs were raised. As late as the 1960s, The Foxfire Book reports, “…hogs were hunted, like bears, with specially trained dogs.” The hunter would take hold of the hog’s ear “and get as close to it’s side as he could to stay out of danger…Then the hunter would lasso the hog, put one rope on his front leg and one on his back, and lead him out.” It wasn’t a risk-free activity-a cornered hog could do a lot of damage.

These wild pigs acquired an array of great slang names. Charles Wayland Towne and Edward Norris Wentworth list a few in their book, Pigs, from Cave to Corn Belt: acorn gatherer, bristle bearer, wood wanderer, wound maker, mountain liver, alligator, landpike, prairie racer, stump rooter, hazelnut splitter, and razorback.

It we have a Zingerman’s football team one day, I don’t think I’d mind calling them the Hazelnut Splitters.