What happens when you get something in your email inbox that says “Heritage Red Wattle Smoked Pork Chops” will be at your local market in a few days? Besides moving all around in your desk chair so it looks like you have ants in your pants, feel your mouth water uncontrollably, and resist the urge to call your local drug dealer, Fatted Calf, and tell them you NEED that RIGHT NOW, nothing.
What can you do but wait? It hurts, but you have to wait. The market opens in 52 hours, surely that’s not too long to wait for manna, right? It could be so much worse. It could be a mangosteen which might never come to your continent, or the Ortolan, which is going extinct.
You get to the market. It’s there, scratched in chalk innocently on a little chalkboard. The drug dealers smile, right out in the open. They have what you want. What will you have to do to get some? For some insane reason they still have them, even though it’s almost noon.
Or they’ve run out and not erased those words, Heritage Red Wattle Smoked Pork Chops, yet. They’re testing you. It’s working, you’re sweating, can’t concentrate on your lover’s words. All you can think is
like a blinking neon sign in Time’s Square, (and I don’t mean the ones there now advertising Disneyland-themed restaurants), darkness enveloping the letters when they blink for a moment.
Somehow, like the hero you never read about in the paper, you get ahold of two chops. Pink and fat and traced lovingly with white fat, cut down one side with a strong bone. O G-d. You think you might faint.
When you get your booty home, you release them from their protective plastic covering, rinse with cold water, dry gently in papertowels, sprinkle generously with Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper and drop-lift them into your searingly hot, blacker than black cast iron skillet, fat edge down.
Smoke rises. Fat jumps. Protein caramelizes. No fat is in the pan except what renders as you create a strip of crunchy salty pork fat that will later be embraced by your mouth, tongue, teeth. You cook chop to just over 160F, let it relax, saute some escarole, mix it with the inner yellow tender leaves, raw, send her out for a few Meyer lemons, dress hot-raw salad with lemon juice, sel gris, olive oil and pepper. Nothing too much to get in the way of the Heritage Red Wattle Smoked Pork Chops. O no.
When the chop hits the pan you smell
You go limp. A pork chop that is also bacon? You pinch yourself. Goddamn but you’re lucky to be alive.
It’s the best breakfast you’ve ever had after you’ve emerged from bed at 1 pm. You lover’s hair is tousled. The gleam in her eyes has been polished by you just moments earlier. Neither of you can say much but moans can be heard.
Dizzy with exquisite delight, she says “I have to get that Fatted Calf Newsletter.” And you make a mental post it note: be on the lookout for more Red Wattle pork.