So, the stew. Two words: Ham Hocks. Or is that one word? Whatever. The recipe called for 3.5 lbs of hock of ham, which seemed like quite a bit. I mean, while my knowledge of cuts of pork is spotty at best, I did know that a ham hock is, technically, the butt. Not to be confused with pork butt, though. That’s a whole ‘nother animal. Anyway, in my head, close to 4 lbs. of pig butt was way more than I wanted to undertake. When I got to the meat department though, I was pleasantly surprised to see the ham hocks came in prepackaged portions, like little butt steaks. It said right on the package “butt slices” *hee, hee*.
At home, I soaked my beans, picked out the cruddy looking ones (of which there were quite a few), and peeled the veggies. I felt very “Strega Nona” as my pot bubbled, my knife flashed over root vegetables and my hocks did their job flavoring the broth. My mom, who had been visiting with my dad, came in to survey my work mentioned that she was looking forward to trying out this soup.
“What’s this?” she asked, stirring up the bean covered hocks. “Is that pork?”
Now, my mom had this on again/off again relationship with pork. The idea that they are bottom feeders, and kind of filthy sometimes saps her appetite for bacon, ribs, and pork chops. A few months ago, she was watching this show (probably on A&E while she waited for Hoarders to come on) and she learned that pigs, in their quest for satiety, will each just about anything. Including snakes.
Here’s how my mom feels about snakes: