Efficient Picking

I had the privilege of going to a pig pickin’ this weekend. For those of you non-North Carolinians, that means a whole hog roast. Although, in this case it was a half hog (minus the head).

Now, if you’re going to eat meat–and I do–this kind of event makes for a darn efficient use of it. At these kinds of events, the host usually takes a bunch of meat off the hog to chop into what we here call “barbecue” (because Barbecue is a Noun).

some pretty well picked porkBut the coolest (and tastiest) part is that they’ll then leave the carcass on the smoker for people to pick at. And the germane part is that people really do pick–with knife and fingers. Not only is it socially acceptable, it’s encouraged.

So, pick we did. I know I contributed in the cleaning of some of the ribs pictured here. And by the time I left, there really wasn’t much left. Same goes for the rest of the pot-luck buffet.

Not sure how applicable this idea is for other food situations, but there’s something about relaxed manners that tends to reduce waste. Any other examples come to mind?

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  1. Kim from Milwaukee
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Well, if you’re going to eat meat, eat it all! Great post!

    I wonder what they do with the bones?

  2. Posted May 17, 2010 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Kim. The host did have two dogs, but as I understand it, cooked bones are dangerous because they splinter. You could make a mean “pork stock” from them, but I doubt he did.

  3. Katie
    Posted May 20, 2010 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    I think being relaxed and comfortable with the people you eat with helps eliminate waste too! I know when we go out to eat with close friends, we’re not shy to eat the last bites off their plates and their happy to polish off anything we can’t finish. This really helps cut down on waste and also allows us to enjoy diverse meals.

    We’ve even gone so far as to rescue food from deserted tables. Sometimes a little risky, but it’s amazing to see what ends up in the trash can (or would have if we didn’t act!). Our germaphobic society frowns on things like this, but if we could relax a little bit, we could be a lot more efficient!

  4. Posted May 25, 2010 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    I got a kick out of Katie’s comment about eating off deserted plates in restaurants. Many years ago, when I was a college student working at a very nice seafood restaurant in Woods Hole, MA (Cape Cod) some of the hungrier members of the wait staff would keep a close eye on diners with the choicest selections – whole lobsters, crab-stuffed shrimp, broiled scallops and the like. When the tables were cleared, some of us would stash the tastier leftover bits for midnight snacks. I never gave the germ thing a second thought!

  5. Food Rescuer
    Posted May 31, 2010 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    My favorite is scraping the corners and sides of pans after a group serving or potluck. Usually this is the crispiest cheese baked onto the side, or the extra butter from the greasing of a cake pan. People often don’t scrape carefully the last of a pan, and with big pans this can be a lot when all herded together! Plus then I don’t have to take a “normal” serving and save that for those who enjoy it.

  6. Posted May 31, 2010 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    Katie–If you’ve read my posts on scrounging at Reed, you know I’m not opposed to the idea of eating others’ leftovers. Even better when they’re friends!

    EDF,EDG–I’ve enjoyed a few meals in Woods Hole and I can imagine it would be hard to watch lobster and scallops get tossed. Glad to hear about that “table diving.”

    Food Rescuer–you and I would fight over those baked-on bits. Obviously, they’re the best parts! But I hadn’t thought of them as a way to avoid using up another serving. Interesting.

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