I have mentioned before that pre-child, pre-home ownership, and pre-everything that makes it hard to go on vacation for any significant amount of time, we went to Spain. To northern Spain, actually, for two weeks.
What I have not mentioned is that A.'s best meal ever was consumed on that trip. If you ask him what the best thing he's ever eaten was, he'll get all misty-eyed and tell you about the unctuous pig's trotters he had at a restaurant in Soria.
Yup. The feet of a pig. And he always uses the word "unctuous" to describe them.
He tried once to cook pig's feet--to recapture the magic if you will--but they were tough and nothing like the much-beloved Spanish porcine feet.
Then the MiL got a book* from the library all about cooking every part of a pig and saw a recipe for pig's trotters in it. And then, she saw bags of frozen trotters at the butcher shop in the Small City. So of course she bought some. Because she's fearless like that.
In her words, she just wanted to see if she could make them edible.
We're all about high standards.
The trotters cook for something like eight hours, which certainly makes them tender. And the sauce was good. But the fact remains: They were the feet of a pig. So they were essentially all skin, fat, and knuckle bones.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but they were . . . well, gross.
Cubby was very excited to eat pig's feet, because he's like that, but he took about two bites and declined the rest. I did likewise, instead focusing on my mashed potatoes, beets, and peas. Which left A. to eat most of the trotters himself. And he did.
His reaction? Allow me to quote the man directly:
"It's just on the edge of gross. Maybe over the edge, actually."
"It's pork fat overload."
Then he ate some more. And then . . .
"Now THAT'S real food. When you eat three or four pig's trotters, you know you've eaten something."
A. admitted that maybe part of the reason the trotters he ate in Spain were so exceptional was the fact that we hadn't eaten for 12 hours beforehand and so were starving. But he was still grateful to the MiL for her attempt to recreate his favorite meal ever.
And I was happy with the mashed potatoes, so it was all okay.
* Co-written, amusingly, by a man named Christopher Trotter.