Setting the Table
The dish that I am going to be doing is a pork roast crackling dish used by Goan Catholics at weddings. Goans come from Goa, a state on the west coast of India. Their cuisine is strongly influenced by Saraswat, Portuguese, British, South Indian, and Konkani cultures but mainly Indian and Portuguese. Many of the locals were converted to Christianity when Portugal was ruling the area (Shradha).
The pork roast dish has many different variations and sauces that vary depending on region and personal preference. One way is boiling the meat in its own blood to add flavor but I probably will not make it using this method. I thought this was interesting because of the reading by Mary Douglas talking about making sure the meat is drained from all blood before eating. I could not find any specific nutritional facts on the dish but I am assuming it is close to most other pork dishes. This dish can be made whenever and does not need to have a special occasion to be made but is usually a favorite choice for the main meal after a wedding ceremony. This dish is important cause when it is mentioned it is almost always linked to a wedding and the celebration of marriage (Sulekha). There does not appear that I will have any trouble making this dish the only problem is in the pictures online the sauce that is used to cover it looks a little bit like vomit. I might make two separate dishes and have one that is plain and one that has sauce on it that way I do not waste a bunch of food if I do not like the sauce.
I was attracted to this dish because I am a meat connoisseur and eat meat with every single meal. I was also attracted to this dish because I am Catholic as well so I was curious what types of dishes were considered religious for that area. I think this dish should be considered to be religious because marriages usually take place in a church and are considered to be religious action. Especially in Catholic weddings many times they have mass during the wedding along with all the normal activities. I was interested in this as well because of my Catholic affiliation because I do not want to have a full mass during my wedding.
I have never been to this area so I am not 100% sure but from reading articles about the pork crackling it is usually acquainted with someone getting married and celebrating the joining of two lives to become one and to be a family.
The version of the pork roast crackling dish I will be doing is actually called “Pork Vindaloo”. The pork will be served with Jeera rice which has cumin seeds in it and a leafy green salad. I will be tracing the ingredients from production and growth until the dinner table. There is not a whole lot that goes into making this dish. A lot of the ingredients are all spices and seasonings to give the meat a better taste. The main ingredients involved with making the pork are onions, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, and masala paste which is a blend of curry spices used for marinating.
The first thing that I will explain is the process in which the pork went through to be ready to serve. Pigs are usually born at a farrowing unit and once they reach 15-20 pounds depending on the farmer they are sent to a nursery where they will start eating solid feed only instead of the mother’s milk. But before they are sent to the nursery the farmers will clip their tails and pull their teeth. This might sound cruel but it is for the safety of the pigs and the mother. The teeth are pulled that way they do not cut the mother while the piglets are milking. If the sow (mother) is cut it can become infected and since the cut would be around the teets a piglet could ingest the bacteria and infection while milking causing death. The tails are also clipped so the piglets do not bite them off. Pigs use their mouth to identify items by feel just like we do with our hands. Pigs are castrated usually around the time they are at the nursery but again it usually depends on the farmer. The reason the male pigs are castrated is because it makes the meat taste better and it makes the pigs less violent and safer for humans to be around.
Once they reach close to 50 pounds they are taken to a finishing unit where they will spend the rest of their lives. These are buildings that hold a few hundred pigs and inside are separated into pens where there is 25 or so pigs. Pigs are a family animal and do best when they are in groups of about 25. The finishing units often owned by large companies and hire people to manage the barns. Once the pig reaches market weight of 250 pounds they are taken to slaughter such as Tyson. Here the pig is processed and made it the cuts of meat we all love such as pork chops, bacon, and ribs.
The rest of the ingredients are all plants and herbs that are usually grown very similar. For the vegetables and herbs I will be using I am assuming that a majority of them are grown in California since that is where a majority this country’s vegetables are grown at. Every plant starts with a seed being planted into the ground. But before the plant starts growing farmers are in the field preparing the soil for planting. They are spraying pre-emergence products to kill the weeds that have started growing in the field and to prevent weeds from starting to grow once the crop is in the ground. These products do not kill the desired crop from emerging because they have been genetically modified and are resistant to those products to make controlling weeds even easier (using my own knowledge).
After the seed is planted and is growing farmers will scout the field to make sure there is no disease, insect, or weed pressure occurring that will inhibit the growth of the crop. Once it comes time for harvest the crop is picked and sent to the grocery stores that the farmer has a contract to sell his produce at. This is where we buy it to use to make meals in our homes (using my own knowledge).
When it comes to one’s well-being the definition is how happy or satisfactory that certain person is. Anyone who is a meat connoisseur would love this dish and be very happy with the taste. I personally am a meat connoisseur and would compare the flavor profile to the American BBQ because of the similar spices used to give the meat it’s flavor. Especially if one was eating with a group of friends the dinner would be filled with laughter and storytelling. This leads me to social justice. Bringing people together for a meal and providing one’s own food fits the definition of social justice which is the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society. Making my meal for a neighborhood potluck or wedding would be the best example of doing this. Pork vindaloo is a common dish made for wedding celebrations (Goa Delights). That would also be a great way to be practicing environmental justice as well because the definition of environmental justice is fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, or national origin. If someone made this for a potluck it would be a great way for people to try a different cultures food, because personally I hesitate to try different types of food if I have to pay for it because I do not want to waste money on something I do not like. People with ancestors from the original area of Goa in Asia could experience religious freedom when preparing and eating this dish. It would take them back to their roots and have a sense of connectedness to their homeland because of the rich spices used. Religious freedom might have some issues with my meal.
This is a photo of all the main ingredients that I used to make my pork vindaloo. I had realized I messed up as soon as I began to prep the meal. I was suppose to marinate the pork for at least 24 hours. I missed that step the first time I read the recipe. So I cut the onions up and put them in the pot with the vegetable oil to saute. While the onions where cooking I started cutting up the meat and placing it into a different skillet to cook separately. The recipe (Hot and Tangy Indian Pork Vindaloo) I had said to put the meat in with the onions but I changed the recipe a little bit because I did not think it would of cooked very well or it would of taken way too long to cook and possibly burn the onions. I have cooked some usually in the summer when I do not have a meal plan and I know browning onions and cooking raw meat does not take the same time.
Once the meat was thoroughly cooked we added the meat to the pot with the onions in it. Once the meat was mixed with the onions I added the rest of the spices such as ginger, brown sugar, cinnamon stick, and whole cloves. Since I messed up and did not marinate the meat I also added some of the spices in the marinade such as garlic paste, chili powder, cumin, pepper, and vinegar. While I was mixing all of the spices together I was pretty skeptical how good it was going to taste because I did not marinate the meat and just threw all the spices together to try and fix my mistake. But has the meat was simmering it started to smell very good, almost like Christmas with the strong cinnamon smell was being released. I also associate this smell with Halloween during the fall. Along with the apple cinnamon candles that many people put out in the fall.
After the meat simmered for a few minutes I decided to try some and to my surprise it tasted pretty good! It had good flavor and the sauce of spices had a slight sweet flavor to it because of the brown sugar that was added to it. The taste reminded me a little bit of BBQ dry rubs because it shared a lot of the same spices. Overall I was pretty impressed on the outcome considering I messed up the entire first step which was marinating the meat! I shared my dish with my roommate Kreg who is the sheep farmer, none of my other roommates wanted to try it because they said the sauce looked like throw up.
Depending on one’s religious beliefs or personal preferences they could have an issue with eating pork vindaloo because of the ingredients or how it was prepared. The main themes I will be talking about are religious freedom, well-being, social justice, and environmental justice. With each of the themes I will be stating the “worst case scenario” for each theme and why there is a cause of conflict.
The first theme I will be talking about is religious freedom. If I were to prepare this dish for a group of people and a majority of them where Jains or Jews they would not be able to eat my dish because there is pork in it. Jains do not eat any meat at all because they value the animals’ life as much as a humans (Greenberg). Jews also cannot eat pork, it is taboo in their culture. It does not matter how it is prepared, they can still not eat it ( Mary Douglas). This would be very disrespectful especially if it was the only dish I served that had any substance to it. It is very important to make sure when preparing a dish for someone that we are aware of their religious practices in order to be respectful of them and so they can have something to eat.
Another issue that could arise from preparing this dish is that the main ingredient in the dish is pork and there can be environmental issues that arise from raising these animals. The first thing that comes to mind is that when raising pigs there excess waste is collected and spread into the fields for free fertilizer for the farmer, which saves money for the farmer. But, an issue that can occur from this is if the manure reaches a stream or river and contaminates a drinking water source for humans or causing a fish kill. This causes a fish kill and ruins habitat for other organisms because of the high nitrates that would be in the water. These nitrates attach to all the oxygen molecules in the water basically suffocating the fish and other water living organisms (my own personal knowledge).
A problem that can arise is the public opinion on how the pigs are slaughter, handled, or raised which drives them to stop eating pork or stop eating all meat in general. This would fall into the category of social justice. This would also fall into the category of well-being because farmers are concerned with the well-being of the livestock they raise and want them to be as comfortable as possible. I think many people are unaware of how much farmers care about the livestock that they raise. My dad always said to me growing up “You have to make sure that the livestock has food and water because they cannot get it on their own. How would you like it if I purposely didn’t feed or give you water and there was nothing you could do about it?” In my opinion the animals are raised and handled the best they can in order to maintain a healthy herd and protect them from as much as possible. Granted, I do know there are some farmers who do not care about the animals’ well-being and just think of them as objects. The world is not perfect but I think a majority of farmers here in the US respect the animals they raise. Some examples of how people think farmers treat pigs inhumanely are by using farrowing crates and by keeping them in pens there whole life. The farrowing crates are used to keep the sow (female pig with babies) from rolling over and killing the piglets. They are not kept in the farrowing crates 24/7 they are let out a couple of times a day in order to walk around stretch their legs. Hog confinements are also good for the pigs because it keeps them out of the harsh conditions of the Midwest in the winter and protects them from diseases/illnesses they can get if they were outside on the dirt all the time. They are also slaughtered as humanely as possible in the US, other countries do not have as strict of laws and probably do not handled them as humanely. But when a pig is slaughtered at Tyson he gets knocked out by removing the oxygen in the room they are in and then they go to the kill floor where they are shot with compressed air and do not feel a thing because they are unconscious (My own personal knowledge).
I picked this dish because it is a common meal to have during weddings of people who practice the Goan Catholic religion. It peaked my interest because I am Catholic and I figured it would be more interesting to make something that has somewhat of a personal connection to myself rather than some other religion or dish. Before I made the dish I was looking at pictures and it did not have the best eye appeal but I have had many dishes before that did not look good but tasted amazing. And while I made my dish and seasoning/sauce that was used looked a little bit like I dumped tar on the pork. Now I am sure that not all of the food they make from this region looks bad but that is the first impression it made on me. When comparing this dish to other foods that I have had the spices used reminded me of southern BBQ and had a very similar flavor profile when I was eating it. If all of the food from this area of the world taste like this I do not think I would have a problem trying more food from here. Like I said in the beginning this dish is commonly served during weddings in order to celebrate to people starting a life together. But religion is constantly in play. The farmers religious beliefs that is raising the pig and growing the herbs and spices. To the people in the slaughter houses butchering the pork for customers to pick up at their local grocery store.
"Goa Delights". The Hindu. Retrieved 2008-10-26.
Sarkar, P. V. (2017, September 09). Hot and Tangy Indian Pork Vindaloo. Retrieved March 20, 2019, from https://www.thespruceeats.com/pork-vindaloo-1957657
Shradha Sukumaran (2008-09-09). "Bandra fair lays out a sweet spread". Indian Express Newspapers (Mumbai) Ltd. Retrieved 2008-09-27.
Sulekha Nair (Jan 18, 2009). "Goan delight". The Financial Express Newspapers Mumbai Ltd. (Express Group). Retrieved 2009-03-02.