Pork has always been one of the signs of a celebration. With our ancestors it made sense considering all of the work that went into raising a pig and getting it ready for the slaughter; given the resources required, this was no mean feat. It is no small wonder that so many of our holidays see pork front and center, even just weekly get-togethers.
From the Islands
The Polynesians had a great way to celebrate any major event: The kalua pig. Starting with a huge pit, koa wood is brought to a flame and then allowed to reduce itself to charcoals. Covered with banana leaves and sea salt, a pig is lowered into the pit, and the whole thing is buried. The modern version is to brine pork meat, cover the sections with banana leaves, and throw in a slow cooker until the pork is so tender it does not need a knife. Combined with rice balls, it is a great way to start a celebration.
A Cold Appetizer From a Cold Land
Some Russian celebrations could not begin with a toast of vodka or red wine and some slice buzhenina. The modern version is no less fantastic: Start with a good-sized section of pork, cleaned and dry, and then lay down in some foil. Cover the pork with a marinade of salt, a mixture of ground pepper (black, red, and white), fragrant peppercorns, clove, garlic, and one pinch of paprika (1/4 tsp), then cover with olive oil. Allow to marinate in the refrigerator for a day or two, then cook. When it is ready, slice and serve.
An Old British Favorite
The effect of a good barbecue cannot be underestimated. From the earliest days, the British would score the flesh of a pig and then roast it on an outdoor spit. The meat is especially succulent and is served with apple sauce, stuffing, various kinds of pasta, and even sausages. Still today hog roast companies like The Roasting Pig still provide specialist catering services for social gatherings and events.
The Pork From the Island of Cuba
The Cuban pig roast is a little more complicated but well worth it. The pig is scalded in a large pot before being butchered, and then cooked on an outdoors spit in a specially constructed pit. With little more seasoning than a few limes and some salt, the pork is ready seven hours later, ready to be the center of a huge feast.
With these recipes in mind, it should be easy to find a reason to celebrate with all of your friends and family. There is no way to go wrong with any of these, so have fun experimenting!