Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Grateful Dead

What could be creepier than a living creature, a sentient being, that wants to be eaten by you? It laughs at its own death. It welcomes you to stick the knife in. It even serves itself up! My neighborhood, Times Square, is full of such imagery.
I am lucky to live near Esposito's, one of the few remaining old school butcher shops in New York. It's still a family business that emphasizes house-made sausages and fine technique. But I can't say that I have ever found its storefront image particularly appetizing. I think it's the way the pig is drooling with anticipation to the point where the saliva is flying off its tongue. Why is he so happy to be eating his brethren? Or perhaps his own self?
The longstanding classic Rudy's Bar & Grill has a sculpture out front that appears to be a happy pig dressed as some kind of maitre d'. I suppose this is a tad less disturbing because he seems gainfully employed and therefore safe from slaughter for the time being. But he must know there's a hot dog in his future (or his future in a hot dog).
Spanky's Barbecue, just a few yards from my apartment, has a logo in which a self-satisfied hog goes the extra mile and brings you a beautiful bone-in smoked ham on a platter with one hoof, and a sausage on a grill fork with the other. It makes me wonder: is there something he knows that I don't know? Is he bringing me a Trojan ham full of esophagus-blocking gristle? Will he be wearing the same grin as he watches me choke on it? When marketing death, a sense of humor is always useful. Here's a shot of a butcher shop not in the Times Square area in which a pig chomps its own tail. It shows that a little whimsy goes a long way when the ax comes down.


john-a said...

great points as usual, Mr. Fooditude.

do you think pigs are more likely to be good sports about getting eaten than other animals are?

pigs (at least in our culture) are considered fairly comical, which might be why they're given these roles.

weirdly, the fact that pigs are expressive and intelligent animals -- reasons we should feel bad about eating them -- helps to explain why their faces are used to sell pork.

cows? yes, but not as much. although you definitely find cows with big grins at old-time burger joints.

or chickens, like the "chirping chicken"... but he might be chirping in distress.

when I see a sushi bar promoted by a tuxedo'd tuna I'll let you know.

wister said...

Dogs look up to you.
Cats look down at you.
Pigs is equal.

English saying.

Frankie said...

Satyananda said...

Well, any pig will tell you that pigs LOVE pork.

Anonymous said...

dead pig