originally ran May 6th 2010
all words: Seaton Smith
all photos: Chris Svetlik
or….How I sold my first-born for pork!
Sign reads: 5 pigs. 5 Chefs. 5 Winemakers. This is gonna be fun. I mean, I like bacon, so that’s half the battle.
Chris Svetlik is with me. He takes a picture of the sign. We feel giddy.
Walking into that room at the Ritz Carlton, I realized something: this event is from 3:30 to 8PM! That’s four and half hours of eating pork and drinking wine. That can’t be humanly possible. I don’t even like food that much. What the fuck am I going to do for that long? I mean, I have a moral stand against gluttony. It’s not that high or anything. It’s not ‘crack in the orphanage’ anger. But I’m big into ‘if you’re full, stop eating’.
I walk around the room getting a sense of people. They seem nice. Not the rich assholes a $175 ticket would make you think they are. They seemed more ready for a hockey game than a Ritz Carlton event.
I walk by a table….They have a PORK MOUSSE! What!?! Now my fear in life is “What if I love the pork mousse?” Where would I get another one? When was the last time you were looking at a menu and saw pork mousse? By the way: tasty. Now I have to rob a dude for some pork mousse.
So, I’m tired. I’m filled with wine and pork. I’m good. I look at my watch, it’s 3:52! OMG! I have 4 more hours of this. This is absurd. I want a nap. I want to curl up on a coach. What are they trying to prove? I get it, it’s pork, let me go home.
Met a man named Craig: “You have to try the chicharrones. They are amazing. They’re dipped in chocolate and I’ve been to every one of these events in the country.”
Damn that must be good.
I meet Caroline, co-founder of this touring event.
I ask: “Don’t people get tired at these things?”
Caroline: No! The excitement doesn’t stop, we just keep going. I mean, in the middle people slow down, but once we start giving out prizes people get all excited again.
Me: Well I can’t wait. I guess I can survive til 8.
Caroline: Also we’re having an after party with sliced Lamb. You’ve got to come.
You’ve got to be kidding? So after pork we’re having lamb? Is lamb the dessert meats? Does it go down like jello? You’re a liar.
5:49- I feel my first good fart coming.
Chicharrone. I tried one. Loved it. It was spicy. They were stuffed in chocolate. You know what they are? Pork rinds. Just a fancy name for pork (g)rinds. And I loved them.
So, I saw a dude head-to-toe in tattoos. I mean, like, beyond prison level. I look again he’s standing next to another dude in tatts, but has a chef’s uniform on. Is there a biker gang out there with fine dining tastes?
This pork event is changing everyone.
The VIP event is over, we go the main room. There is an excitement in the air. It smells like pork. When we walk into the main room you’re hit with this thick air of cooked pork. It’s daunting. I would have sat down if I wasn’t already in line looking for the next cooked pork genius.
Was I hungry? Fuck no. Not even a little. For the first time in my life I found that hunger and food have nothing to do with each other when you spend 175 per ticket. It’s like my mind and body made a decision together that I’m going to have every damn thing in that place. Possibly twice. It wasn’t a money thing. It was something more primal.
Anaconda don’t want none unless it’s got buns HUN.
Yas calls me, she’s the winner of the haiku pork contest. Me and Chris meet her at the door. I’m not all there though. Little spacy. There was pork to be eaten and this person wanted to waste time talking. What else is there to talk about? Did she know what table had the best pork mousse? No!
Me: You know they have pork mousse?!
Yas: Really? Wow. Cool.
Then she checks her phone claiming that she was looking for her friend to show up. But I almost felt like what a woman would do in a club to get away from a crazy dude. Whatever! It’s too late for me to be self conscious on this joy. Her diss would have gotten to me 2 or 3 pork pounds ago. But I’m too far gone.
I turn to Chris: More wine?
Chris: Hell yeah.
I felt like we were two addicts who completely understood each other. Fuck society and their opinion of our greed. Maybe greed is good. Maybe greed is the reason to exist. People who refrain from things suck. I hate those people. And they generally hate themselves. And they take that hate and comment on internet blogs.
I see TWO pig tattoos. Tattoos of PIGS! Amazing. Two different people on two different moments of inspiration felt that a pig needed to go on their forearm. Not “I love you Mom” or “Thug Life” or a “Two guns”, but a pig. I find that must be convenient cause you don’t have to explain a pig tattoo. No one is gonna ask why you have a cutting diagram of a pig tattooed on your arm. They’re just going to get hungry.
There was PORK caramel covered popcorn. There was a fucking after taste of pork. Fucking amazing! I couldn’t stop saying fuck. And I wondered how many other people were cursing this pork against their will.
I knew that one day, when I’m on my death bed caused by a cardiac arrest, I’m going to think back on this day…with a smile.
7:03 I fart again.
I look around the room and see there is a happiness in the room that’s almost equal to the day after Obama won. There’s like this overwhelming awe in the room. No one is frowning. I can’t imagine anyone leaving and saying, “I had a horrible time at the Pork orgasm event.”
Have you heard that thing where if a woman has a certain amount of chocolate it can equate to an orgasm? I think they meant pork.
Yas walks back over with her friend and her friend’s boyfriend. More awkward silence as I stuff a pork ball into my mouth. I’m not even sure what it is. I stopped asking what was going in my mouth 43 minutes ago.
Apparently Yasmina’s friend is a vegetarian, and her boyfriend doesn’t eat pork. Then why the fuck are you here? I would have asked if didn’t discover they were carving a pig right in front of your eyes.
I look for Chris but he’s already taking pictures. I’m looking over shoulders. I saw the butchering tools earlier, didn’t think they would use them!
Seeing a pig chopped up live is addicting. Sure you want to call it disgusting, but you weren’t there. “Oh that’s where bacon comes from.”, one woman says. “The head is the best part.”, another guy says.
The butchers don’t talk. They are taking the pig-butchering thing very seriously. Like they’re warming up for war. It reminded me of watching an episode of Dexter, and I wondered if this pig committed a crime. Oh, this bacon is evil.
There is a woman parading around with bacon on a tray. That’s the only thing I haven’t had!
One of the pig-chopping guys announces his cuts to the crowd. Like we care. Like we’re listening. We can’t stop watching this cut-up pig. I’m trying to see the path of this unappetizing carcass becoming a pile of goodness in my mouth. I don’t really see it. It must be pig ‘magic’. And with that I walk away.
I look over to Yas and the friend’s boyfriend from Turkey. He had a pork sandwich in his hand. Yasmina’s vegetarian friend is eating pork chocolate lollipop! I hope you vegetarian bastards are reading. Another one bites the dust. This pork is a power onto it’s self.
I would love a pork nap though. I look around for something to sit on. Nothing. I get water. It’s like the wine and pork have turned against me. I lean against the wall. I’m going crazy. Yas comes up to me: “I can’t stop eating this. It’s pork ice cream. I can’t stop!” She’s become one of us. She’s a crazy person. It all makes sense in its madness. We hug and do a pig dance. We’re forever linked in this new glorious pig tribe. I make mental note to sacrifice her to the pig gods, but I’m 98 percent sure she’s not a virgin.
Picking up a chick at this Pork gorge would have to be interesting. She can never lie to you and say she’s a light eater. Nor can she say that she’s not a freak. Your timid intimacy goes out of the window after this. What am I saying? If you like pork you’re a whore? Is that what I’m saying? I need a nap.
It’s 7:40. This night is almost done. Fuck. I’ve done all I can do with pork. The other person who runs this event, Brady Lowe, Caroline’s husband, takes the stage, to what I assume to announce the winners of this contest.
Main course? Are you serious? We had had 5 hours of appetizers! They bring out the most amazing pig I’ve seen. People clamor, sort of. They push lightly. It’s the laziest pork induced riot ever! We all crowd around the most beautiful pig ever. Chris tells me I should speak to the cook on how he made it. I couldn’t understand him so I’ll do a liberal interpretation.
Me: How did you make this?
Cook: Shit man we marinated this pig in some good shit for 2 days, then we put in some other shit for 3 days then we put in this ancient Chinese oven for about twelve hours.
I wish you were there. There are few things a redneck’s voice will say that will bring out a good feeling in me. When they’re talking about pork I feel nothing but a wave of comfort and ease knowing I’m in good hands. Also, I’d probably feel comfortable if we were fighting zombies and he was driving a zombie-killing tractor.
I’m in line, looking and drooling and wondering what the skin will taste like. I’m not hungry at all, but that’s a week worth of cooked skin I means to eat. I’m standing behind a pregnant woman, wondering what she’s thinking.
Me: Ma’am don’t you think that eating all this pork will hurt the baby?
Preggers: I’m not pregnant, I’m just having a good time!
I grab at the pig and pile it on my plate then scurry away like I’m an orphan given my daily ration of gruel. I’m in a corner with Chris and we stare at each looking at each other’s reaction as we eat this amazing meat. I honestly think we had some kind of pig sex at that moment. If I wasn’t there I would have called it gay. But anyone else who was there would have called it reverence of the 5 pigs.
They announce the winner: David Varley and his team wins. The porkified crowd gave their best applause, but it sounded as if someone got on the mic and asked the crowd, “Who loved that weird ending of the Sopranos?”
It’s over, we all walk out, kind of in a lull. Shock maybe. Like we all collectively were asking ourselves the questions, “What do we do with our lives now? What else is there to hope for after we’ve peaked?”
We go to the after party. We crowd around the lamb. Still not hungry I grab them and stuff them in my mouth, then do a ghetto move and get a ‘to go’ box, piling them in and stuffing them into my coat. A sad ending.
It was over. Chris and I get in my car, roll the windows down, and sit silently like we just had a fight.
So as I sit here the next morning, with a cup of fruit, a brand muffin, and a pepto bismol smoothie, not even surprised by the fact that I STILL am trying to poop. I reflect on what I might have learned this weekend. A couple of things pop in my head….
…no wait I have to poop. Excuse me.