Aside from a weakness for bacon sandwiches, I’ve never been a big fan of porcine products. It probably stems from the very overcooked pork and sloppy apple sauce which was served up to me as school lunch. But times have changed and I’m keen to champion Bacon Connoisseurs’ Week.
From a professional perspective, I love working with pigs – both alive and on the plate. Very little is wasted, from the trotters to the cheeks.
Robert Lloyd at The Plough in Stalisfield is a real stickler when it comes to food (seems his approach has paid off – he’s just won another major award). He sources his meat from within a couple of miles of the kitchen – in fact, he invited me along to meet some of his rare breed pigs not so long ago.
He knows that these animals are well cared for, takes an interest in how they’re slaughtered and then sets his chef to work – aside from wonderful bacon and sausages, The Plough even make their own pork scratchings!
From an intimate country pub to large-scale butchery firms, I’ve shot countless products derived from pork, everything from enormous salamis to Kent honey-roast hams. From a photographic perspective, it’s not always the easiest meat to shoot – especially in its uncooked form. Take a look at the difference – a whole (pack shot) ham…
against a sizzling sausage or some continental charcuterie. No comparison is there?
Once the meat is cooked or otherwise processed into another form, it usually takes on a different characteristic – and that’s when it gets interesting to shoot. Here’s another example – spit roast.
Sticking with the school lunches theme, it’s amazing how things have moved on. In my day it was often indistinguishable from the white plates on which it was served. But only recently, whilst working in a school kitchen in Sussex, the cooks were plating up twice cooked belly of pork. It looked great and the ravenous teenagers soon snaffled it all up.
Any food that kids will choose over a bag of chips must be truly wonderful. Seems we’ve come a long way in culinary terms and that’s a very good thing. I can’t wait to get down and dirty with some Saddlebacks, Middlewhites and Gloucestershire Old Spots!