There is a print in The Heron Gallery, Ahakista by Annabel Langrish called Happy as a Pig in …. Gubeen. The pig is a piglet and it is smiling from a bed of straw happily innocent of the fact that one day soon it would end up bringing a smile to my face made up as sausage from the Gubbeen Smokehouse. I was reminded of this picture half way through our meal at Lunya last night when a roast suckling bring was brought out for us to eat.
We were there to celebrate Anna’s 18th birthday together with Kevin and Julie and a small group of Anna’s friends. We started the meal with a glass of bone dry sherry and small plates of tapas. For me the highlight was the the small plate of smoked dried anchovies. We also had dishes of hot chorizo, hotter than expected, the maker in Spain must have thrown in an extra handful of paprika, bread and tomato, plates of young leaf salad with cherry tomatoes and red onion dressed in sherry vinegar, deep fried crispy squid with garlic mayonnaise and slabs of cheese with a thick orange jelly.
The plates were cleared and replaced and the suckling pig was brought out on its platter. Anna was called up to start slicing it up by taking off its head with the edge of of a side plate. It was then carved and passed round the table.
I had a rear leg in front of me, soft forgiving meat and a think tight layer of crackling. The head was passed round the table for all to pick at. We pulled out its cheeks, and chewed on its ears.
The was a large platter of vegetable paella for the vegetarians.
We were eating it for almost an hour. Most of us gave up on knives and forks and tucked in with our fingers, the bones fell away easily from the flesh. Peter had recommended the brain and we were able to scoop it out in small mouthfuls with our forks. It was creamy and smooth and its texture and taste reminded me of the coral from a lobster.
We ate almost all of it apart from its squeak.
The adults were too full for anything else apart from a small plate of cheese and restorative glass of pacharin on ice.
The kids had cups of hot chocolate with churros.
The music was a young man playing Spanish guitar on the balcony.