Saturday, October 15, 2011

Weekend Cooking: In praise of crackling

Without placing too implicit faith in the account above given, it must be agreed that is a worthy pretext for so dangerous an experiment as setting houses on fire (especially in these days) could be assigned in favour of any culinary object, that pretext and excuse might be found in ROAST PIG.

Of all the delicacies in the whole mundus edibles, I will maintain it to be the most delicate - princeps obsoniorum.

I speak not of your grown porkers - things between pig and pork - those hobbydehoys - but a young and tender suckling - under a moon old - guiltless as yet of the sty - with no original speck of the amor immunditice, the hereditary failing of the first parent, yet manifest - his voice as yet not broken, but something between a childish treble and a grumble - the mild forerunner or praeludium of a grunt.

He must be roasted. I am not ignorant that our ancestors ate them seethed or boiled - but what a sacrifice of the exterior tegument!

There is no flavour comparable, I will contend, to that of the crisp, tawny, well-watched, not over-roasted, crackling, as it is well called - the very teeth are invited to their share of the pleasure at this banquet in overcoming the coy, brittle resistance - with the adhesive oleaginous - O call it not fat! but an indefinable sweetness growing up to it - the tender blossoming of fat - fat cropping in the bud - taken in the shoot - in the first innocence - the cream and quintessence of the child-pig's yet pure food - the lean, no lean, but a kind of animal manna - or , rather, fat and lean (if it must be so) so blended and running into each other, that both together make but one ambrosian result or common substance.

From A Dissertation upon Roast Pig and Other Essays by Charles Lamb*

I am attempting to make crackling on roast pork for the first time! I can smell something cooking as I type this up! Hopefully it will turn out to be as rapturously good as the description above!

*This is one of the recently released Penguin Great Food series which I have previously posted about .

Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs.


  1. How did it go? Perfect crackling is like something from heaven!

  2. Wonderful excerpt from the book...definitely makes me want to read more.

    Hope your try at crackling was successful :)

  3. Love the word "hobbydehoy"!

    My mouth is watering! And I'm absolutely in love this this whole series from Penguin.

  4. Oh, I love crackling, and hope that yours turns out delicious!

  5. I'm quite fond of Charles L. but this vegetarian probably couldn't take this. :<)

  6. Bree, Zibilee and The BookGirl, the crackling was good. The roast potatoes not so good! Not sure what I did wrong with them though!

    Beth, I have bought three of them so far and I can definitely see myself buying more.

    Nan, yes, I guess being vegetarian does mean that you couldn't take this!

  7. Sounds wonderful and yummy!

  8. Sounds wonderful! I hope your crackling and home survived.