Christmas is over and all we’re left with is extra fat on our hips, presents we never needed, and a long to-do list – the so-called new-year resolutions – for 2013.
The last one – new year resolutions – is a topic on its own, so I’d like to draw attention to the one special present we got this Christmas, my husband and I.
It was a leg!
A dead leg.
Ok, a dead pig’s leg.
Wrapped up like a bouquet of flowers, with the brown hoof sticking out of the paper.
The wrapped up bouquet-like pig’s dead leg came in a beautiful Christmas box along with a very sharp long knife, an apron, and a wooden chopping board. I guess the additions were just so the sender makes sure we get the message: chop meat from the leg.
Ok, I know what you’re thinking: what on earth are you people and who on earth are you friends with?
As a matter of fact, I heard, some of these legs, from which the so-called “prosciutto” meat is cut, can cost a couple of hundred, some even a couple of thousand euros. No kidding.
When I looked at the big pig leg I thought about other Christmas stories connected with pigs.
I mean pigs’ parts.
In a Bulgarian hospital once, one Christmas, as emergencies around that holiday go, a choking gipsy fella is being brought in by members of his big, brown, gipsy family.
The doctors and nurses on duty immediately dive into the patient’s throat to pull out whatever is choking him.
The moment the doctor and his curious emergency staff cram into the patient’s mouth, what do they observe is clogging up the poor man’s windpipe?
A pig’s ear!
A big, yellow, hairy ear.
As the brother-in-law’s cousin (or whoever brought the idiot patient to the emergency) explains, the enthusiast tried to swallow a whole piglet’s ear because…for fun. The ear got stuck half way and no amount of alcohol could help the gypsy swallow the thing, because, why waste food and spit the ear out.
The emergency staff’s suppressed giggles turn into an uncontrollable laughter to such an extent that they nearly lose their patient from being incapable of acting…seriously.
I know that the piggy ear wasn’t a Christmas present.
But now that my husband and I received a piggy leg, I am ready to defer.
And there it went the first carving into the dry, smoked, maroon-coloured flesh of the pork limb.
The meat tasted salty, chewy, of barrel, lard and pork.
I felt very much the cave woman, with my man slicing slivers from the swine’s body part (albeit on an Italian corian countertop and not on a flint rock in a cave).
I deliberately ignored the hoof that was sticking out of the paper, doing the victory sign, frozen in its last moment of protest “the slaughter house will set you free”.
And I thought about the type of presents we give each other for Christmases and birthdays today.
Specifically, the presents our children wish for and receive.
I’d certainly be shocked if I see in my son’s letter to Santa, “I wish to have two pork chops and a piggy’s ribcage…cooked or raw, equally acceptable”.
I couldn’t see my kids jumping hysterically with happiness for receiving a pork chop as a present, either.
But I wondered why wouldn’t they (unless they are strictly vegetarian).
Are our kids today becoming spoiled by giving them too much choice and raising their expectations constantly?
A little bit, I guess.
What are the options here?
Try out their reactions by giving them a wrapped up bloody beef steak for their next birthday?
It’ll be weird (at least in my social surrounding).
I can just about see social services calling on my door because my son told his school teacher that mommy and daddy gave him a dead animal for his 4th birthday.
Perhaps, we take everything too seriously, even presents and what the presents for our children should be.
But maybe we shouldn’t.