Monday, September 29, 2008

Pork Products

I don't think I've ever met a pork product I don't like. I'm a good Polish girl who can eat kielbasa for breakfast as easily as I can eat a ham sandwich on the run for my first meal of the day. I love steak, but could live a long while without it. Do not, however, ever attempt take away my occasional kielbasa--including the one (at least) I always keep in my freezer just in case.

The other day I married my loves of arugula and pork in a pasta dish. I used leftover bacon and a few ounces of bulk pork sausage to start a sauce. I added garlic and diced tomatoes, dried thyme and oregano, a little red wine. When the wine reduced, I tossed in some penne, some romano cheese and--at the last minute--a healthy handful of arugula, until it was just wilted.

Tempted as I was to eat it standing at the stove, I have never been one to eat at the stove. For one, I have never had children tugging on my pant legs (or a husband monitoring my calorie intake) and so I have never developed the habit of eating on the fly (or on the sly). Perhaps more importantly, I love dishes and glasses and have a two-decade habit (that began with part time employment at Crate and Barrel) of collecting them. In fact, I have more dishes than should be legal for a single woman who has never had a bridal shower to blame, and only an apartment size kitchen in which to keep them, so I use them.

I plated some pasta and poured myself a glass of Sangiovese and savored every bite and every sip. The flavors, the textures, the smell made me happy. As I smiled, I thought about how much my meal reflected me...the blue collar Polish American girl who grew up on pork products and simple foods (that I still love!), went on to college in Boston where I graduated from iceberg to romaine and beyond, and was lucky enough to sit at an outdoor cafe in a piazza in Florence a few summers ago, by myself, near the central market (Mercado Centrale) and enjoy a lunch of thin crust pizza with arugula and prosciutto and a mezzo litro of wine.

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