Scratching a living

Serious scratchings

Serious scratchings

The staff Christmas party was preceded by a short but very solemn event. Duncan (a colleague, on the right in the picture – note how we are all looking suitably serious) and I are pork scratchings enthusiasts. Miguel, a Spanish colleague, said Spanish scratchings (called cortezas) were better. So we had to have a tasting. Only, Miguel exaggerated a bit because not only did he bring three different packets of the stuff, but he also brought a glass jar of his cousin’s home made scratchings. Duncan, meanwhile, had brought a ‘family pack’ of Mr Porky pork scratchings (hardly in the same league, you have to admit). We washed all of this down with a couple of bottles of Old Hooky ale. My conclusion was that we would have to compare with the Italian version, ciccioli, and then Jonna said the Danes do something similar….

Oh my gawd

Oh my gawd

We concluded that pork scratchings deserve a Europe-wide survey, possibly in book or pamphlet form. I’d be grateful if fellow scratchings enthusiasts could let me know about their local variety. In the meantime, take a look at Miguel’s cousin’s home made version. I mean! You can feel the lard making a beeline for your arteries before the scratching is half way down your throat.

1 Comment

  1. Ana

    Globalisation and pork scratchings

    Dear Martin,

    Reading your article about pork scratchings I realised once again each nation wrongly believes it has the monopoly on specific more or less haute cuisine delicatessen such as pork scractchings…
    A typical Christmas tradition Romanians observe is Ignat, the killing of the pigs on December 21st which is also occasionally my birthday so I definetely became a big fan of traditions related to this. And I used to eat a lot of delicious pork scratchings as a kid thinking they were unique in the world. Now I have to admit I think a lot about cholesterol and diet before carrefully touching one or two pieces just for the good old times savours.
    After they slaughter the pig, people prepare all kinds of traditional dishes: freshly roasted pork skin (with a bit of salt on it, it is exquisit), sausages, smoked ham, thick sausage, and of course pork scratchings (which we call ‘jumari’) which are all going to go on the family Christmas table. The ritual of sacrificing the pig is followed by a kind of celebration, a pork meal served to all those who attended or helped in the killing of the pig and all friends of the family receive eventually parts of this: it is called in a very random translation “porks’ charity”.
    The EU link: there is a slight problem now in the process because since joining the EU one year ago people had to trade their knives for killing the pork with electroshocks. But it seems there will be still some time before really implementing this, and TV abounds in reports those days on fines received.
    In any case, if you’re a fan of pork, Romania is the place to visit, but please do come after the Irish pork shadow goes away, we had to be very careful this year as at least 180 tons of Irish contaminated meat were sent here on the market via Belgium…Unbelievably fast: globalisation affects even pork scratchings!

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