Let me begin this tale by saying that people tell me things. All kinds of things. Strangers seem quick to respond to an off-hand comment or a simple smile in the check-out line. They feel the need to talk to me. I listen, and listen some more and may interject a question or comment. The conversations can be brief or go on for ten minutes. Such was the case today.
It was shop for essentials at ‘WalMart Day’. Laundry soap, wax paper, etc. Toss in a few tomatoes and avocados and . . . a fireplace lighter. It’s not unusual to see the same individual a number of times as I perused the aisles trying to stick to my handwritten list. While I was heading to the area where the lighters are usually displayed, I overheard a store employee in the next aisle giving directions. I moved closer and asked about the lighter. They were right there, almost in front of me—far from the usual spot.
A young man looked up at me and said he was trying to find a hand-crank meat grinder, he told me the employee said they had them. Thus began the pig’s tale.
“I’m going to make empanadas,” said the man with a genuine smile and a bit of an accent. “See, I bought a pork butt and have to grind it up.”
“That sounds good,” I replied.
“I only made them once, about three years ago – I saw Emeril Lagasse make them . . . I‘ll show you,” he said as he pulled out his iPhone and starting scrolling through. He sighed, “My kids said I need to get up-to date, I really don’t like this phone, the screen is too small. Ah, these are my children, my son and my daughter.” More scrolling. “There, you see?” A large platter of empanadas appeared.
I asked him if he was Filipino, he reminded me of our neighbor down stairs, so polite and friendly. Again—that warm smile, “Yes, and I love to cook.”
I listened a bit more and that’s when he pulled a large, plastic-wrapped package out of his cart. It made no sense at first. Then he turned it over and I saw . . . the SNOUT!
A pig’s head stared up at me with beady eyes that once searched for stray kernels. Limp ears that would no longer wiggle and a mouth with something of a grim smile.
I asked if what he was going to do with the head – he told me how he would marinate it with herbs and who knows what else. An apple it it’s mouth, maybe.
There are many places in the world, butcher shops, and specialty shops where one might purchase a pig’s head. But, never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would see the head of a pig in a WalMart cart. I was astonished to say the least.
I soon wished him a Happy New Year and he returned the sentiment. As I write about this now the thought occurred to me that this little scenario would have made a humorous ‘Candid Camera’ stunt.
If I could transport myself to the Philippines for dinner, the Labassin Waterfall Restaurant would be a lovely place to dine.
The Labassin Waterfall Restaurant is a truly singular and memorable experience. Located at the Villa Escudero Resort in the Philippines, guests can enjoy lunch while the water flows under their feet .