Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Back To The Future
(A Fund Raiser for The Senior Citizens Committee)
Ask any Chinaman. Everybody knows, that when cooked, the dirty little pig that was out in the yard becomes superior to itself, in which state it becomes worthy of royal praise. Having sacrificed itself unbeknowingly, it is served on silver platters, its head complete with eyes, tongue and ears prominent, as the centre-piece on the banqueting table; and on varying silver platters as delicious Ham for the King, as succulent Pork for the Queen, as Bacon and Cabbage for the Princes, and as Spare Ribs and Bits of Rasher, fun dishes for the Courtiers and Ladies in Waiting.
It is a wonder too, that it took a writer by the name of Charles Lamb to identify the values of that forsaken creature in his essay, A Dissertation on a Roast Pig, but not even a whisper of one-up-manship from its namesake, the more famous, Francis Bacon.
So, it was in Ballymore one Saturday during late October, in the Brunelleschi designed Piazza della Signoria at Paddy Murphys became a hive of industry, which occurance is already a legendary tale, and a truthful one at that, unlike the alternative history provided by the late fork-tongued Geraldus Cambrensis (1152) who, as inferred by the late and loved Professor F.X.Martin, gilded the Papal Bull ‘Laudabiliter’, on the rights of King Henry 11 to conquer Ireland.
Now, legend has it that when Cuchulin burnt his thumb on the scales of a monster fish which he found in the dying coal of a fire, that on putting his thumb into his mouth to soothe it , he magically acquired the gift of a prophet, and evermore was known as Frank (Salmon) and that when….
Finn MacCumhal, Prince of Glenmalure, while out hunting in that well-known valley, aimed his deadly spear at a giant Irish Elk, and having launched his missile, realised too late that a gust of wind had caught its flight and the spear had pierced the flesh of Queen Maeve’s favourite Bull, An Bo Donn; which is why so vast an error made it a wise thing for him to be known henceforth as Brendan (Clarke) and ………
Strange are the wonders of life, and stranger still, though it may seem so through the mists of time from a distant land, that the shadow of Hiawatha should arise. Hiawatha, Lord of Tir na nOg, magic land between Ireland and horizon’s western wave; Lord of its rivers and lakes, Master of the Four Winds and of the forests, built his canoe by their graces: ‘Give me of your boughs O Cedar/Of your strong and pliant branches/My canoe to make more steady/Make more strong and firm beneath me’, (so conceiving the idea of the Ballymore Eustace Canoe Club) ….and perchance, hunger and cold came with Winter when Hiawatha spied a Buffalo, bigger and stronger than Queen Maeve’s bull ever was, with a coat so warm and so much suited to Minehaha’s wigwam, that he stretched his bow, shot his unerring arrow through the pristine air when, presto, a huge screeching pig loomed up in front of the Buffalo……..
Ken Barrett awoke from his dream, Hiawat…Mineha…his ruddy complexion a testament to his love of outdoor life, startled at the noises being rattled out by his friends Frank and Brendan, like fearless men of a bye-gone age, real men who to this very day still use cobwebs of the Aranea Miraculum to repair punctures on their ancient BSA and Norton motorcycles – “get up, where’s the Pig - nine hours on the spit for The Senior Citizens Fundraiser at Paddy Murphys…..ha ha me boyos.”
By 11.30 that morning, the 250lb pig-on-the-spit was spinning above the fiery pit (from Ken’s coal mine) below at one revolution per leg, its colour changing ever so gradually from pink to pale bronze. Never in living memory was pig so well cared-for nor kept so warm, but before long it proved necessary to call on the services of an internationally experienced cook, Gary Ablett from Australia, who dressed the pig in fragrant balm, which aroma wafted luxuriously through the evening air to the senses and tummies of those who had come like pilgrims to peep at the pigs progress through chinks in the woodwork, watching in awe at the workload of Ken, Frank and Brendan, captains of industry, gone black from work, with sweat rolling in beads down their lithe bodies during this process of purification in purgatorial profession of unfinished business, and the rewards that are to come in paradise - a ‘pint o’ plain’.
The Ham, the Pork and the Bacon were devoured as one creature by the hungry and adventurous, and those who opted excitedly for Spare Rib and Bits O’ Rasher got aperitifs of more to come, tongue-tasters to a merry night. But prize of the night went to brave Niall thing-a-me-bob, who for a wager opted for the pig’s ear as an entrĂ©e to the world of heroes and the valiant. However, however, well, however anyway, when he noted (assiduously) that the pig’s ear had not been shaved of its rough hairy roots he balked a little, but with the surety of his own powers of persuasion, went abroad ‘to have the thing deep-fat-fried’, that like the bear’s sausage it might change its nature. He returned disjointed, the ear still dangling between his thumb and forefinger as fresh as ever, and being urged to fulfil the deed, raised it to his lips with a sincere miserere nobis, and as he did, his stomach reacted with Vesuvian vengeance. Every Chinaman knows that you can’t make a purse out of a pig’s ear!
Well as that may be, the occasion was fabulously enjoyable, with all the expenditure taken up by the Canoe Club and the donations given to the Senior Citizens Committee. Whatever about Francis Bacon, Charles Lamb’s friends have their eyes on the real thing for Punchestown Week next Spring.

At the end, all that was left for late-comers were pigs trotters, a tasty little dish for those who had to leave their cars behind and walk home. When asked about the left-over waste carcass Gary replied, outback style; ‘Waste, what waste? The bones are the soup for tomorrow!’
Michael Ward.

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