I think it's fair to say that most of us view this first weekend in September as the end of the summer. The kids
are going back to school. Boots and scarves are making their way onto shop shelves. Vacations are now memories, and old routines are once again being fallen into.
Indeed, we here in the States bid adieu to the long summer days with a long weekend. A long weekend that is eagerly anticipated amongst my friends and family, for that final long summer weekend is Pork Fest Weekend. And what is Pork Fest, you ask? Why, it's just that: a celebration of all things pork. It is the brainchild of my brother-in-law and his neighbor, who started this humble ode to the pig a few years ago, with three grills and a deep-fryer. The rules are pretty basic, in that to gain entry to this most revered of festivals, you must bring food. And that food must contain, in some form, pork (I'm bringing these, and something along the lines of this, but with panchetta added. And, of course, a bottle of bacon vodka, for bloody marys.). You might also slide by with a case or so of good beer ;)
Preparations start months in advance, when my brother in law starts brewing a batch of beer especially for the occasion. As Pork Fest Sunday draws near, bacon begins piling up in freezers. Pork is priced and pounced upon when a good sale is found. The day before, the smell of bacon fills the air for miles around. Early, ever so very early on the actual day, the smoker is started. Pulled pork starts, well, pulling. The deep fryer is turned on, hot oil ready and waiting. And all in anticipation of an entire day, and well into the night , spent enjoying pork.
It is eaten in rice and beans, in empenadas and collard greens. It is candied, and tucked delightfully into an apple tart. It is devoured as bacon, wrapped around a chunk of mac and cheese and deep fried. It is a pleasant surprise in cookies and cupcakes and whoopie pies. It is smoky in cocktails, and wrapped around melon. It is consumed in such varied and abundant forms, that it needs to be held on a long weekend. You simply cannot begin the week in a pork coma! Monday is spent lazily, weighed down, blissfully, with a pork hangover. Preferably with Vogue's September issue and the new Anthology magazine. It is the perfect see-off to summer.
How about you, Dear Readers? Do you have any special plans or traditions for the weekend?
Enjoy it, and make it last, whatever you do.