March 7, 2013

National Crown Roast of Pork Day

"If you want a subject, look to pork!" - Charles Dickens

It's National Crown Roast of Pork Day!

Impressing your guests at a dinner party can be done in a variety of ways, and some people choose to do so with a crown roast of pork which is thought to be a very celebratory meal. You've seen them before, no doubt, in cartoons or movies: think of that centerpiece of meat that has exposed bones sticking skyward making it look similar to a - you guessed it - crown. This can be made with pork or even lamb. The "crown" is usually a rib rack (of 10 to 12 ribs) that are twisted into a circle, then tied together with twine. The center is filled with stuffing before being baked, and sometimes little decorations are placed on the bones before the guests see the triumphant display. In my opinion - and this is coming from someone who used to eat meat, not from my perspective as someone who doesn't now - the entire thing seems really gruesome. Especially since it's entirely for show. Once the guests have "ooh"ed and "ahh"ed over it, it's brought back to the kitchen where the meat is fileted from the rib prior to actually serving and eating.

Anyway, now you're all the wiser, foodies.

Today I had two options: I could make my own crown roast of pork from scratch or buy one. There is no shame in taking the easy way out from time to time, so I chose the second option. Lucky for me, my friends at Field Roast (you'll remember them from National Sausage Pizza Day) make something called a "Celebration Roast". My assumption is that it's supposed to be the herbivore-friendly version of a traditional crown roast of pork as it's a grain "meat" filled with a sausage-style stuffing made from butternut squash, mushrooms, and granny smith apples - all of which are very common flavor profiles of the carnivorous version. I had it with chunky cranberry sauce, grilled Brussels sprouts, and a cauliflower mash (again, I tried to make sure even the side dishes were as authentic to a traditional crown roast of pork meal as possible). Dinner felt like an elaborate spread of decadent dishes, truth be told! And I'm excited to use the leftovers from the Celebration Roast in sandwiches tomorrow (grilled sourdough bread, Vegenaise, and sliced green apples? Yes please!).

If you're eating a meat-free diet, don't let days like this scare you off. They're still entirely doable without having to spend all day (or even an hour) in the kitchen!

Besides, who needs show and tell with their food anyway?

Happy National Crown Roast of Pork Day!