The Beginning…….

I’m looking for the perfect shoulder. One that is delightfully fatty, with a nice supple skin. A shoulder that is tender. A shoulder that I will cry on, literally, when tears of joy come running down my cheeks after the first taste and drip onto the plate below.

Pork is my favorite meat, by far. I came to this realization of sorts while watching a recent “No Reservations” episode in Madrid, where Anthony Bourdain was caressing a paper thin, glistening slice of Iberico ham against his lips. I thought, “I know that feeling”.

I love pork so much that I am now dedicating 100 days to cooking pork shoulder. The original idea was to conquer this in a year, but that has been revised in The Compromise of 2011 with my husband. Some may call it overkill, I call it dedication. Why pork shoulder? Because it is incredibly tasty, juicy, versatile and best of all, cheap. It can feed a dinner party of 8, or provide 3 or 4 meals for my family of 2. It is, in my mind, the perfect meat. Or as Homer Simpson calls it, a magical animal.

With this challenge, I don’t have a plan or recipes figured out. I’m winging it the whole way. The journey is to find out just how versatile pork can be and to see how adventurous I become. It is all about playing with new flavors, finding new uses for the meat, and in the end, enjoying every minute of it.

This whole experiment is a result of my love of cooking and a particular type of meat. I cook every night – it is my way of winding down after a long day of work. I’ve never cataloged a recipe I’ve made up (and not all will be my originals), and I’m not sure how they’ll all turn out. This is going to be an honest experiment. If something turned out bad, I’ll still put it in – no redos to get it right pre-post. Because I work everyday, most of the recipes will be accessible and fairly simple, not intimidating or time consuming. I’m hoping for fantastic flavors using organic foods and meat that is hormone-free and antibiotic-free.

One last note. You’ll notice all the recipes are essentially gluten-free since, unfortunately, I’m gluten intolerant. But I realize that most people are lucky enough to eat real bread and real pasta, so everything can easily be adapted for “normal” diets.


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