Light is everywhere. Already the sun lights the sky at four in the morning and will not set until well close to ten at night–that is, four and twenty two. Summer in Sweden brightens any sun-worshipper into a cult-member calling for the reigns to be handed to them so they can burn the sky and plunge on and on into more light. Ah, Phaethon. Amidst this Dionysian-revelry in all things solar, my birthday falls, and for the first time falls in Sweden. What do I want?
Pork Belly from Sandströms in Nacka. Our local butcher with local meats. Gabriela and Demian asked me what I wanted for my birthday and I told them, “give unto me pork belly and I’ll give unto you crispy skin and moist, delicious flesh.” And so it was. August 17, the belly arrived. Look at the landscape of creamy white fat and deep-red flesh. Consider all the nooks and crannies. Look where bones left their mark. Look closer.
Pork belly. Layers of pork belly. Stratification of pork belly. Seams and rivulets of saturated and unsaturated fats. Veins of glycerol and fatty acids. Islands of red muscle fibers. The meat of an omnivore (think human). Look at fat and meat closely.
Look at the skin. Like papyrus with the most ancient of scripts grown into collagen and connective tissue. The worn rock face of a cliff looking out on a windswept forest. Soon to be crispy and crunchy. Time to make the cuts.
Scoring the Pork Belly. This belly will be roasted over hours and so I make incisions in order to insure heat reaching the depths and slowly cooking and leading to the eventual ease of pulling apart my birthday gift. Time to pause and consider my next step.
A recent enjoyment has been pairing caviar with single malt scotch. In this case, black caviar from Royal Greenland and a pour of Laphroaig Quarter Cask. Delicious. Let’s ponder the nature of a rub and listen to the Mahavishnu Orchestra from 1972. Bon Appétit!