We were newlyweds when we rented a cottage on the shores of Lake Erie. Our friends, Frank and Jean, owned the property and lived on the knoll above us.
“Let’s have a pig roast,” I suggested to Jean, Frank and my newly wedded husband Mike one evening while we watched the sun setting. “I’ll order the pig and you start inviting people.”
Seemed like a good idea at the time.
The next day I ordered the pig from the local meat market.
“How big of a pig do you want?” the butcher asked.
“I don’t know. We’re going to have a pig roast,” I answered.
“How many people?”
“I don’t know, maybe thirty, forty. We’re not sure.”
“Sixty pound pig sound right?”
“Yes, that sounds about right,” I nodded. I have an innate fear of never having enough food.
The Saturday of the Pig Roast arrived. I awoke early to pick up the pig. The butcher had the pig ready: cleaned and gutted with the hair removed from the skin but with the head, feet, tail, and ears remaining. It was not what I expected. I stuffed the wrapped pig in the trunk and headed home. Mike met me in the driveway. He lifted the pig out of the trunk.
“This is heavy. What size pig did you order?” he gasped as he set the pig on the grass.
“Sixty pounds,” I whispered.
“Sixty pounds! I thought we were going to cook the pig in the oven! This won’t fit in the oven!” he hollered but then remembered we were Newlyweds.
“I’ll get Frank to help dig a pit,” Mike muttered.
Frank and Mike dug the pit. They even rigged a skewer for the pig that could be turned for roasting and basting. An hour into the roasting, the sky turned dark gray. The wind howled, the rain torrential. All I could think about was The Pig.
“Get the pig!” I shouted.
Mike and Frank ripped the pig off the skewer and ran for cover on the porch.
Soaking wet and exasperated, Mike yelled, “Now what?”
“All we can do is cut up the pig and stick it in the oven,” Frank shouted above the clap of thunder.
But the cut-up pig would only fit into the oven if the meat lay directly on the racks, two layers high. Even my two racks weren’t enough so Frank grabbed a rack from Jean. I turned on the oven. The Pig roasted. The sun came out. The party began.
Three weeks and six cans of oven cleaner later, I was able to use my oven again.
It was a long, long time before I could look at a pork chop.