I ate a pig's face
I had never knowingly eaten the meat from the face of a pig until today. And I tell you what, it wasn’t all that bad.
Last week I had gone over to my soon-to-be landlord’s house to talk about living in my soon-to-be house in Las Marías. His house is hidden by bushes and the front gate is a sheet of aluminum, held shut with a wire. Most of the house is outside, dirt floors mostly covered by more gray rusty sheets of aluminum. There are kids’ and men’s close out to dry, but no women’s. I don’t know whether I should ask about his wife. There is also an assortment of various items; a white birdcage with parakeets, a large plastic truck hanging from the ceiling, little toy figures from various cartoons and movies.
I arrive at the front gate and call out “Buenas Tardes” and a moment later his son comes to let me in. He leads me around the side of the house and I see Victor talking on his cell phone wearing his worn-out Adidas shorts and his plastic Guatemalan sandals, which are another common item here. Victor is extremely kind, about 5-7, skinny, and with a scarce mustache of long black hair. He asks to have a seat in his hammock while he finishes up on the phone. A moment later he pulls up a plastic chair and we chat about the house, my life and job, and his interests and occupation; he now has his own business of raising animals at his house. Before he used to be a promoter of events in town and actually met the previous Guatemalan president…you know, the guy that stole millions of dollars and is now hiding somewhere in Mexico. I saw the picture.
Victor is extremely proud of the animals he has: chickens, ducks, turtles, a cat, a dog, and two large pigs that maybe weigh about 100 kilograms each. When I came in, he was on the phone with a potential buyer of the pigs. One thousand two hundred was not enough for one of them he told me afterwards.
Today I show up to his house and once again I am asked to sit down, have a glass of fresco, and talk for a bit. We talk about my house a little; how the electricity doesn’t work, how I got the copies of the keys, how I had swept up the floor earlier today. He tells me he now has 6 small pigs (he finally sold the two large ones) and asks if I want to see. But he doesn’t show me the 6 new little piggies, he shows me to his kitchen, which is also outside and covered by an aluminum sheet like the rest of his house. Cooking in a black pot is this unrecognizable mass. He pulls it out and only now can I make it out as one half of a cooked pig’s head, cut down the middle. It has been cooking for a while, I notice, as the dark red skin has tightened and split in some places. I can clearly see where the eye was and I can make out the lower jaw, mainly identifiable by the teeth.
It doesn’t taste bad at all, really. I was preparing myself saying, “Well, here’s probably the first real questionable thing I’m about to eat down here.” Victor took a spoon and knife and managed to cut me off a small piece of pig face. It tastes like pork, of course. I am then handed the standard tortilla and wrap the harder part to chew inside of it to make it easier to take down. It wasn’t the taste, just that it was less chewable than the rest.
I leave his house with a smile. I’ve now got this pretty unique landlord and a piece of a pig’s face digesting in my stomach. I don’t think I could be more content.