Editor's note: The Southern Foodways Alliance delves deep in the history, tradition, heroes and plain old deliciousness of Southern food. Today's contributor Abigail Greenbaum received her MFA at the University of Mississippi and now teaches English and writing at Berry College in Georgia. Follow her on Twitter @AbigailGreenb.
People from Atlanta call Tommy Haskins several times a week, begging him to sell them feral hog. “It isn’t legal to sell the hogs we hunt,” he tells them. “But you can come down to Twiggs County and shoot one.” In order to sell meat to the general public in Georgia, the animal must arrive alive at an approved processing facility, and be inspected prior to slaughter.
Feral swine eat a low-fat diet. Most are too lean to use for making bacon, even the 160-pound hogs that Haskins and his clients bring down. Folks searching for feral hog are often immigrants from Vietnam, where lean pork is wrapped with banana leaves in a dish called gio lua.
Local food advocates also clamor for field-shot pork. Afield: A Chef’s Guide to Preparing and Cooking Wild Game and Fish, written by the Texas hunter and chef Jesse Griffiths, includes recipes for smothered wild boar chops with anise brine and wild boar rillettes. Haskins doesn’t bother with anise brine. He prefers hickory-smoked hams, basted with apple juice.
On his property southeast of Macon, Haskins rarely goes a day without glimpsing hogs, which he calls “piney woods rooters.” These hogs have mixed pedigrees. Some may have descended from Spanish swine introduced in the 1500s. Others are released or escaped domestic pigs that bred with Eurasian wild boars that were imported for hunting.
When Ahmed Jama decided to leave behind the successful restaurant he'd started in London to open a new one in one of the world's most dangerous cities, his hometown of Mogadishu, reactions ranged from surprise to scorn to straightforward questioning of his sanity.
"A lot of people think that I am a crazy guy," says the Somali chef, his wiry figure looming over roasting pans full of vegetables and meat inside his downtown Mogadishu eatery.
"When I opened this restaurant they could not believe it," he remembers. "When I came here and bought the land some people told me, 'you are not coming back, come back when you're ready' - I said, 'I am going to build it soon.'"
Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to find our culinary heart's desire, we listen up.
If you're keeping track, there's a fair amount of ice cream–related crime happening. Earlier this month in Washington, DC, a gunman carjacked an ice cream truck (no ice cream was taken). A month or so earlier, in upstate New York, charges were filed after a turf war broke out between Sno Kone Joe and Mr. Ding-a-Ling (those New York state ice cream vendors have inspired names).
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