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Summer Volume: 2007 Issue: 14(2) page(s): 35
I am a PIG and proud of it! I want to dispel some myths about pigs. To the western and near eastern world, we are considered unclean, dirty, inedible and untouchable. To be typecast as contaminated and possessed by the devil too—how utterly humiliating and demeaning. UGH!
Fortunately, to the one and one-third billion Chinese and their cousins in the Far East, I am placed on a pedestal. I am loved, revered, enjoyed and relished. I am honored to be one of the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac. Persons born in my year possess the attributes of being beautiful, intelligent, affectionate and honest.
Have you ever taken the time to see how beautiful we are? We have big dreamy eyes, long wavy lashes, and pink lips. Our hands and toes are dainty and well-shaped and ah, so ladylike. We are intelligent. We can easily sense when we are liked or not, and most of us are excellent judges of character and of situations. And affectionate-—ah-–we make the best of pets both in the farm and at home. I am glad American households are gradually learning about the joys of having us as pets.
The Chinese word for home is a pictograph of me standing under a roof. Fortunate and happy is the home that has a pig in it. People whose facial features actually resemble mine are considered to be lucky and will be prosperous and happy.
Meat to the Chinese is pork, never beef or chicken. For our meat is not only ideal for the best ham in the country, especially those made in Yunnan and Jinhua, it is also most adaptable to being preserved as salt pork, sausages, roasts, and barbecued meats. I taste delicious any which way. Stir-fry, pan-fry, deep-fry, roast, braise, red-cook, white-cook, steam, and prepare me for your table any way you choose. My meat makes the most delicious dim sums dishes and the best bao zi, to name just a few.
Contrary to public belief, pigs are not dirty. They only wallow in mud when it is very hot and humid for this is the best way that pigs know to keep cool. Nowadays, all the big beauty houses are marketing mud-packs to keep the faces of fair damsels smooth and soft. Where do you think they learned this trick? We are usually clean, not immaculately clean—-ah-ya, that is too much, but clean enough. We have our vanity too, you know.
One more thing; we are not gourmands who eat indiscriminately, that is, we do not just swallow g-a-r-b-a-g-e. Rather we are gourmets and very discriminating ones. We usually pick and choose what we eat. Of course during lean times, we cannot afford to be too picky. We do bow to circumstance, after all, pigs have to be pragmatic, too.
Au revoir-—I have said enough. Just remember my friend Wilbur in Charlotte's Web,and do keep Miss Piggy in mind. We are all like them. If only people would give us a chance and try to love us. Oink, oink!
The Foreign Languages Press in Beijing knows I am cute, get a good look at me and my animal friends on their postcard reproduced on this page.
Elizabeth Chiu King is a well-known cookbook author and cooking teacher. Some of her books have been reviewed in this magazine. Find them in the various index listings or in the Book Reviews on this web site. And keep in mind that upcoming animal years are: Rat, Ox, Tger, Cat or Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat or Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, and Dog.