Michael Pollan and Ruth Reichl Hash out the Food Revolution

Be a fly in the soup at the dinner table with two of America’s most iconic food writers

Michael Pollan and Ruth Reichl dine at Bell & Anchor in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. (Illustration by Lara Tomlin)
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(Continued from page 8)

R: For being best pig?

P: Best pig in its class, which was sow under one year—she was the only pig in her class. Wasn’t hard! But she was beautiful—an all-white Yorkshire pig. And at that fair I met James Taylor. I won “sow under one year” and he won for “sow over one year.” And he had a famous pig named Mona . So when the summer was over, I got in touch with him to see if he would board my pig for the winter.

R: So you’re 16?

P: I’m 16. Yeah.

R: That’s pretty bold at 16.

P: I had a crisis. We were going back to Manhattan at the end of August and my dad hadn’t thought that far ahead. We now had a 200-pound pig, so I had to deal with it before the end of the summer. Otherwise, this pig comes back to Park Avenue where we lived. The co-op board was not going to be happy.

R: Park Avenue Pig.

P: Right! So somehow I got in touch with James Taylor. And he said, “Yeah, I’ll take care of your pig. Bring it over.” And I drove over in my VW Squareback. And we put the two pigs in the same pen. And I didn’t know that mature pigs confronting a baby pig that’s not their own will harass it.

R: And he didn’t either, obviously.

P: No, he knew as little about pigs as I did. And his was 500 pounds. Most pigs are slaughtered before they reach full weight and we seldom see just how big they can get. So Mona is chasing Kosher around and around and it’s starting to get a little alarming, like, Kosher is sweating and stressed and what looked like working out their pecking order started to look a little different. So we decided we had to separate them. And James Taylor had just had an accident , had cut his hand seriously so he couldn’t use it. In fact, he canceled a tour as a result. So I had to build another pen, in the woods. Just putting some boards between four trees. And he tried to help me. And by the time we had that ready and went back to get Kosher, Kosher was dead. Mona had killed Kosher. Probably just given her a heart attack—I don’t know. There was no blood or anything. It was horrible, and he felt terrible. Here was this kid, this 16-year-old kid, and his pig had just killed the kid’s pig.


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