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October 2, 2009

This Wonderful Life: Are pork chops really that good?

If it seems unlikely for a vegetarian (that would be me) to own a couple of table- bound pigs, it probably seems downright absurd that their names should be Tender and Delicious.

And yet, there they are, in their little house, behind their fence, a couple hundred yards behind the house here at Schoolhouse Farm. They’ve been here since earlier in the summer.

For my part, I’ve never been so glad to have had a series of sinus allergies that have impaired my olfactory abilities.

Having spent even just a little bit of time with them, I’ve begun to wonder exactly how it is that pigs ever became such a popular farm animal. Perhaps it is a testament to the supreme gastronomical pleasure of bacon and pork chops, because they seem to be among the more difficult animals to bring from farm to table.

First, there’s the smell. Oh. My. Lord. The smell. It would be more pleasant to raise a herd of skunks with major anxiety disorders. Then there’s that legendary pig intelligence.

Since I was a little girl, I’ve heard people compare pigs to dogs because of their intelligence. I have it on good authority that one of the farmers at The Farmers’ Museum teaches the pigs there to sit in order to get their daily meals.

P.S. If you ever have pigs, teach them to sit in order to get their food. The difference between a pig who will sit and a pig who just wants to eat is like the difference between a wolf and a golden retriever.

At my house, we have wolves. They are small, pink, oinking wolves, but wolves nonetheless.

Remember the pig scene in “The Wizard of Oz,” before the twister and Dorothy’s trip to the Yellow Brick Road? Dorothy is walking along the pigs’ fence like a balance beam, and falls into their pen. All the adults drop what they’re doing and race to her rescue.

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