Spezzare il maiale

Two days ago we helped our neighbours carving up their pig. A very important moment in Umbria and therefore always followed by a sumptuous meal. Pigs have always played a big roll in Italian society and there are a lot of proverbs with the word pig in them. One I like is: ‘He who slaughters his pig is happy for a year, he who marries is happy for a day. Or how about ‘L’avaro è come il porco, che è buono dopo morto’ which says the miser is like a pig: he becomes good when dead.
The pictures below were taken with my phone.

Cutting up the pig and making all the different sausages, lard, pancetta and what have you out of it is a lot of work. You fail to understand how it is possible to buy a kilo of sausages for a few euro’s. Our work consisted of cutting, grinding and scraping the fat off the skin. The head butcher of this day worked with incredible velocity. He would make a great Norcino, the famous butchers from Norcia. During the work the lady of the house kept telling what wonderfull things could be made from every part while all the time drilling a forefinger into her cheek, the charming Italian hand signal for liking something. Great day, great food afterwards. Viva l’Umbria.

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