A pig to the slaughter, Key Ingredient dende oil, and more in this week's Food & Drink | Bleader

A pig to the slaughter, Key Ingredient dende oil, and more in this week's Food & Drink



Its a difficult process
  • Mike Sula
  • Living the good life, at least for a while
Mike Sula has witnessed slaughter before (and not just that of squirrels). Four years ago, near the conclusion of the Reader's Whole Hog Project, he transported three restive mulefoot pigs to a small-scale slaughterhouse, where they were treated "with as much care and respect as possible under the circumstances," he writes. For this week's Food & Drink column he joined Rob Levitt of the Butcher & Larder on a trip up to Bare Knuckle Farm, in northern Michigan, where they'd witness farmer Jess Piskor shoot a pig and assist him in butchering it. Which is better, the piece asks, a quick end in a concrete slaughterhouse or "three minutes of pain" in a familiar pasture? Either way, "it's a difficult process," says Piskor's partner Abra Berens, "and that should be on people's minds when they decide to eat meat."

In Key Ingredient Matt Troost of Three Aces does his best with dende oil, the challenge John Manion (of just-opened La Sirena Clandestina) assigned him "just to fuck with [him] a little bit." The reddish-orange oil is a staple in Brazilian and West African cooking, but Troost tried mixing it up with traditional Italian ingredients, making a risotto with king crab, Calabrian chiles, and dende oil and coconut milk in place of butter or cream. His verdict: "I'm going to leave the Brazilian food up to John." Next up is Chris Curren of Stout Barrel House & Galley, working with ghost peppers.

Highlights from the Bleader include Rob Levitt's own account of the trip to Bare Knuckle Farm, Mike Sula on Wicker Park's new Covo Gyro, Julia Thiel on DavidsTea, and Gwynned Stuart on the lunch specials at Honey 1 Barbeque.