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August 13, 2008




One of my flaws as a reporter for The Sun is that I see no reason a good story should have a news hook. This is not a flaw John Lindner, multimedia editor emeritus, shares, as you can see from the following Shallow Thought Wednesday: ...

I am not a swimmer. 

I can swim, and have, extensively. But no more.

The exploits of Ms. Hoff and Mr. Phelps assure me that swimming is in good hands. It doesn't need me.

But during the build up to the Olympic games, and now with the swimming news out of Beijing, a question from the past has become a nag: Suppose I was marooned on an uncharted (or more likely charted and ignored) island. For two weeks I eat nothing but nuts and berries. I'm famished, but delighted to have lost some weight. And then I come across a wild pig. Not because I was hunting it, mind you; I'm more the "gatherer" type. The pig came upon me because the ocean is rising and the pig realizes we have only about 10 hours before our island is under water. Long story short, I coax the pig onto a spit, roast it, and eat it, finishing off the last bits just before feeling the salt water splash over my feet.

My question: how long should I wait to swim after eating?

(Photo by Rosemary McClure/Los Angeles Times) 

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 10:43 AM | | Comments (23)


Well, your Mother would say an hour. But do you have a watch by which to accurately time this interval (Mom would insist on the full 60 minutes)? If not, it doesn't matter, a) because if you don't swim soon you will drown and b) this old wive's tale is not true anyway. You don't get cramps from swimming too soon after eating.


You did, of course, before roasting carefully skin the pig and (resisting the temptation to feast on the luscious lard) bundle the fat inside, tied up with the "sausage casing" to use as a flotation device. It would also double as a decoy for any hungry sharks in the vicinity.

JL: you get the Gold medal for "Shallow Thought" postings. You have outdone yourself, if that was indeed possible!
It might be a moot point as to how long to wait, because unless you were very careful to roast the pork long enough you could contract trichinosis.
From your description, I don't think that you will have to wait too long to go swimming. I think a 10 minute wait will be appropriate.

I'm not sure that fresh meat floating near you is a decoy, so much as an appetizer. I'm going to coin a word now: self-chumming. Oh, where's Voodoo Pork when you need him?

I am pretty sure you, not being a swimmer, and this being a tropical island, are going to die in this situation. Do not struggle. Let the delicious piggy mellow in your belly and float on your back until a shark comes and eats you.

The pig came upon me because the ocean is rising and the pig realizes we have only about 10 hours before our island is under water.

And jl would have the nerve to eat the one inhabitant of the island with all the smarts?

I'm in awe. For years, I have been trying to coax a pig onto a spit. But invariably the porker snorts in derision or waddles away. John, how did you persuade the pig to dangle over the coals? False promises of living high on the hog? A date with Miss Piggy? Did you hog-tie him? Or boar him to tears? Level with us, John. Is this merely a pig tale? Or a loining experience?

Didn't Tom Hanks settle this question in "Castaway"?

If only you could overact your way off an island.

An hour. That's what I thought. Not that I planned to swim hard or anything. The human body is more boyant in salt water, so I planned to do the backstroke at about 3 or 4 strokes a minute.
I'm also thinking this would be a good way to catch some rays.
And hmpstd, for cry eye, what good would smarts do if your island sinks?
Besides ... mmmm, bacon.

You really should have had EL pack ten things for your trip to the deserted island.

JL, good choice killing the pig. . Nothing like Bacon for a last meal.

Do you think the pig had something delicious as his/her last meal?

mmmm bacon wrapped around pork tenderloin...

JL, good choice killing the pig. . Nothing like Bacon for a last meal.

It wouldn't have been bacon, just pork belly. JL wouldn't have time to cure and smoke it. Very unfortunate.

Oh way to kill the bacon buzz, Reason Man. Does reason belong in any discussion of bacon anyway? Who is rational about bacon?


Given that he may have a point, is pork belly any good? I've heard of "braised pork belly." What does it taste like? What is the texture? Would jl have time to braise the pork belly?

The Sandbox is directed to Charles Lamb's A Dissertation Upon Roast Pig for suggested cooking techniques.

And, jl -- a pig that is smart enough to know 10 hours in advance that your island is doomed is probably also smart enough to figure out where the nearest not-so-doomed island is located, and to be able to get there using the stars for celestial navigation purposes. You, on the other hand, have no idea where to go to -- otherwise you would have already been heading there, instead of resigning yourself to eating nuts and berries for two straight weeks prior to the pig's appearance on the scene. As another pig of note would say, "Th-th-th-that's all, folks!"

Ah, braised pork belly. Second only to bacon itself.

The flavor is porky and like a light bacon and it takes on some of the flavors of whatever else is in the braise; the texture is soft, but not in a bad way.

Altogether yummy!!

The pig came upon me because the ocean is rising and the pig realizes we have only about 10 hours before our island is under water.
"Some Pig"

Oh way to kill the bacon buzz, Reason Man. Does reason belong in any discussion of bacon anyway?

Bacon Girl is quite right that bacon does not require reason. Nonetheless, it would be mean to get someone's bacon hopes up, only to cruelly dash them on the rocks of reality.

You can't buzz-kill bacon. It's got sizzle! I was out of meat for a sandwich and only had cheese, which is okay, but then I realized I bacon and my whole day is better.

Every one acknowledges that life seems to be very expensive, nevertheless different people need cash for various issues and not every one gets big sums money. So to get quick loans or just student loan would be good way out.

A good way out, Jerry? You mean a good way to a life of indebtedness, penury, always looking over your shoulder, wolf at the door, threadbare destitution. Marooned.

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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