Monday, November 26, 2007

A Most Notable Pig

Champion Berkshire Boar - Adelaide Australia

Patience gentle reader, we are approaching the notorious “Pig Incident” that figures so significantly in the history of San Juan Island. Yet before we get to Lyman Cutlar, American prospector, potato farmer and author of the deadly deed, I’d like to say something about the pig.

This was no paltry pig, no ordinary hog. This was Charles Griffin’s prize Berkshire Boar. Berkshire Boars are thought to be the oldest breed of pig and first became notable over 300 years ago during the English Civil War when Oliver Cromwell housed his men for the winter in Reading, Berkshire (now Oxfordshire), in the English countryside. Since then Berkshire Boars have been widely valued for their outstanding texture and flavor. The breed can weigh in at as much as 1,000 pounds.

In the 19th century the Berkshire breed was introduced to Japan as a gift from the English. There they thrived and became known as the Japanese black hog or Kurobuta pork a name that literally means “unique dining experience”.

The English Royal Family kept a herd of Berkshires at Windsor Castle. The first hog ever recorded was the boar, Ace of Spades, bred by Queen Victoria. The Berkshire breed has also been enshrined in literature by some of England’s most beloved authors in the characters of Beatrix Potter’s Pigling Bland, P. G. Wodehouse’s Empress of Blandings and George Orwell’s Napoleon.

link to: British Pig Association

Pigling Bland by Beatrix Potter

1 comment:

  1. the poor but miscreant pig is so often dismissed historically. now that we have him (or her) in context, it makes all the difference! great info, thanks!