Sunday, August 14, 2011

You Can Eat Chicken, Emily...

...and it won't offend me."

My father-in-law stated this as we sat down to a dinner out at the Mom and Pop restaurant in town last night.

Wait, what?

I can, what?

You see, my dear father-in-law is a life long pork producer. One of those guys who has weathered the storms of bad prices and bad press. He is an innovator of sorts in the pork world, moving the family's operation from outside pigs in the 80s to a successful and safe confinement (dare I write that word???) operation today. He rebuilt after a devastating tornado that flattened most of his buildings, but amazingly hardly harmed any animals.

He's a good guy.

However, he's a little bit opinionated where a menu is concerned. When I first started dating Joe, he used to scan the menus whenever we were out to dinner for all the "pork options," honoring his father's profession. When we were married, we served the best pork tenderloin one could serve to nearly 300 guests, in honor of his family's livelihood.

Therefore, when I was granted permission to order Amelia chicken strips, I nearly fell over.

I, however, ordered an awesome deep fried, ginormous pork tenderloin...which is what you absolutely should order at any mom and pop restaurant in Illinois. Seriously. Thank heavens I ran that morning.

Anyway, pork producers have been the target of so much bad press, but really, what is the honest to goodness truth is that they are usually the most careful, cutting edge, and meticulous farmers of the bunch. They have to be. In order to follow most EPA regulations, pork producers must keep buildings up to par. It takes an act of God to get my father in law off the farm for more than a few days because of the insane amount of work it takes to feed the pigs twice a day, make sure water lines are working properly and temperatures are kept comfortable for each little piggy.

It's a thankless job, thanks to all the crummy videos on YouTube and the people who don't understand the profession.

I don't understand the profession completely, nor do I enjoy it (who takes a whiff of a hog building and says, "yum?"), but I absolutely respect it, and in my father's presence, will always order pork to make him proud.

However, I did serve chicken enchiladas for dinner tonight, but we won't mention that.


  1. Loved this.. great post.


  2. As the wife of a very proud and very hard working pork producer, thanks for this post. It is very frustrating to see all the negative press when my hubby works so hard. And yes, we also eat chicken once in a while! Lol