22 November 2014

A Skinned Pig Head Cut in Half and then Dumped into a Bucket

Someone I know just ventured out into the wilds of rural Hungary to slaughter a pig. Good for them! I've always kind of agreed that if you're going to eat meat, you should probably be okay with and able to perform the processes required to procure that meat. I say "kind of" because I'm actually not okay with the processes and would never be able to perform them. Case in point: this skinned pig head that has been cut in half, presumably to extract the brains, presumably to consume it:

Okay. So this is what it looks like if, after slaughtering a pig, you cut off
its head, skin the head, cut the head in half down the centre, and then
dump it all into a bucket full of its own fluid.

Umm, this is gross. This is GROSS. I hate this. This pig's brains have been extracted from its skull (probably; still waiting for confirmation*) so that one person or several people can put those brains in their mouth and swallow them. As FOOD. I wish there was a more extreme italics, but there's not.

This is one of the most gruesome things I've ever seen, and yet I cannot look away. Can you imagine touching it? Like, most of it is surely skull, but then there's sinewy muscle fibres laced over top? And it would probably be really slippery? So the only way you could hold onto it is by tightening your grip, and then you had to feel the hardness of the skull even more as it dug into your fleshy hand? You would probably grip it around the jaw because you could easily reach your hand around the bone, and perhaps it would bump against you, and you would feel its dead teeth push against the top of your hand. And maybe even still you would drop it, and it would land with a thud on the muddy ground, and you would pick it up, but it would be speckled with bits of grass and dirt, matted into the flesh that is still clinging to the skull? Or, like, can you imagine cutting a skull in half? I don't even know how you go about it. Personally I would just swing an axe down on it (although then imagine all the little pieces of flesh and bone that would fly back and hit you, and would maybe speckle your skin so that you have stringy little pieces of pig flesh hanging off your face), but I have a feeling you probably can't do that if your entire purpose is to pull the brain out still intact. And imagine pulling the brain out. Like, isn't it still attached to something? Even if the head has been cut off, surely that little brain stem is still attached to some neck vertebrae, and then, like, you have to tug on it and feel and hear it snap apart. And then you're just left holding a brain! And you have to look at it and know that you're about to eat it! And who knows if there's still some shell of skull plastered onto the top of the brain. Probably. I wouldn't have any idea. I've never done this before. I hope I will never have to do this.

Before I wrap things up and hopefully put this horrific image out of my mind forever, I want to stress that I obviously do not have a problem with killing pigs and eating them. Pig meat is probably the best kind of meat there is, and it's probably even more delicious in Hungary because the Hungarians have squirreled away a secret breed of pig that has taken on mythical proportions (and which also seems to be out of mythology because it looks like a bizarre pig-sheep hybrid that Ovid might have dreamed up). Rumours have it that this rare and elusive mangalica is more delicious than any other breed of pig. None of this really changes the fact that the above picture shows a pig skull cut in half with the brain pulled out though.

It has been said that slaughtering your own meat
Is so much more humane.
But in order to do so, you have to crack open the skull
And haul out the brain.
And throw into a bucket of slop 
The bloody and gruesome skull-and-muscle remains. 
And it is this act that separates a mere captain 
From the heroic kapitány.

* It has been confirmed. This is what happened.

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