Mob mentality is fascinating.
I'm not talking of hoisted pitchforks and torches. Not mentioning the great unwashed's chants and slogans for the monster or the politician or the monstrous politician.
I refer to what I can only parse as subtler, fear-based deeds. No protests, no egg-throwing...just simple avoidance and whispering, often without any real concern for what I call "facts."
A couple of years ago spinach eating slowed because Californian green leafies were salmonella-tainted. Well...that would be fine if all we had available was Californian in origin. We didn't: we had Ontario spinach. Little pleas reminding consumers of the safetly in locally-grown stuff filtered through the news, but I fear those cries may have fallen on temporarily deaf ears. To that mob, at that time, all spinach was poisonous and shouldn't be eaten (and I'm sure some children were very grateful for that). It didn't matter what info you threw at them, the meme held.
So in late April when "Swine flu" filled slop buckets, I waited for restaurants and cafeterias to pull bacon, sausage and other pork products from the menus. I wasn't disappointed. It didn't matter that, for the most part, the meats they cooked weren't culled from infected piggie herds (okay, they may have been Maple Leaf products which, as recent history proves, could bring its own set of health issues, but if so they should have pulled those foods yonks ago).
It doesn't matter that those poor, curly-tailed creatures boar the grunt of epidemiological nominclature. How many times did we hear that people generally can't catch porcine apoplexy? How many times were we told that pork meat, when properly cooked, poses little to no harm to us?
Apparently not often enough. The piggie sniffles was renamed (or "rebranded" in marketing speak) as H1N1. About as melliflous as the dots and dashes of Morse Code, many people I know kept "Swine Flu" on their tongues, perpetuating the lingering fear that a glorious market lunch of a back bacon and cheddar sandwich with grilled onions could signal a greater commodal bonding.
The entire incident really didn't help an already suffering pork industry. Our local pig farmers (yep, I'm in piggie country) didn't have a great 2008 and being tied to a WHO Level Five pandemic meant that 2009 wasn't looking much better.
At the apex of flu coverage I found myself craving pork chops. Really. It's part of the entire "my little grey cells are about as porous as Swiss cheese and allow far too many thoughts to macerate to the point of drunken obsession" thing.
I admit that I struggled with this particular craving.
I knew I wouldn't catch something horrendous. It's just that apart from bacon and sausage, I don't really like pork. For the most part I credit My Dear Little Cardamummy with my usual avoidance as her habit of turning juicy chops into splintered slabs with the moisture content of graphite tattooed itself on my palate memory.
Oh well... the craving became intense...as intense as a palate worm. Yeah. That's pretty intense. It started telling me I had to have lemon...and garlic...and oregano with my pork. It also said something about olive oil too. Gosh. It's as if the palate worm had just come back from white sand beaches and amazing blue skies...without the bottle of Ouzo. Well I'm glad it did.
I went off to, while not singlehandedly save the Canadian or Ontarian pork industries...I thought I could do my bit to buy a local farmer a large double-double or two. My favourite butcher was more than happy to be the payment conduit.
There are many variants of this particular marinade. Use it as a guideline and adapt it to your own taste. Let the pork rest in it, at room temperature for about 15 minutes, before searing those lovely slabs of meat on a hot grill or pan.
Greek-style pork chops
(for four nice pork chops)
I dspn oregano
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
What I'm reading: The Children's Book by A.S Byatt
I'm a pen for hire!