Porky Fun and a Food Gal Giveaway

Win some porky goodness and a cookbook autographed by Chef Richard Blais.(Image courtesy of the National Pork Board)

You know it as the “other white meat” and the current darling ingredient of so many chefs, including “Top Chef All-Stars” champ Richard Blais.

Yes, pork.

After all, you’ve got to love a beast that gives you everything from bacon, ham and prosciutto to lard, chicharrones, ribs and juicy loin.

To get you in an even more porky good mood, I’m giving one lucky Food Gal reader the all the fixings for a spectacular piggy feast.

The porky prize package. (Image courtesy of the National Pork Board)

Contest: One person will win a “Be Inspired with Pork Kit,” which is being provided to the Food Gal by the folks at the National Pork Board. It includes an 11-inch square grill pan; a 16-jar revolving spice rack; a pig-shaped wood cutting board; a digital thermometer; a copy of the cookbook, “How to Cook Like a Top Chef” (Chronicle Books), autographed by Blais; and a gift card to a local retailer to purchase some tasty pork to cook up.

Entries for the contest, open only to those in the contiguous 48 U.S. states, will be accepted through midnight PST May 21. Winner will be announced May 23.

How to win?

Just tell me about a memorable time when you truly pigged out. Best answer wins.

Here’s my own answer to that question:

“In college, my best friend and I often would save our money to eat out at top restaurants in the Bay Area. Admittedly, we had voracious appetites, too. I remember once going out to dinner with her, eating several courses at a restaurant, then driving straight afterward to a favorite bakery, where we proceeded to share three huge pieces of cake. The next morning, I went jogging and ran for more miles than I’d ever had. Go figure.”

Winners of Last Week’s Contest: In the most recent Food Gal contest, I asked you to tell me which favorite beverage you wish you could have by your side at all times. Five lucky Food Gal readers will each win a Cameback Groove reusable water bottle with built-in filtration straw.

Congrats to the winners:

1) Otehlia Cassidy, who wrote, “My son’s lemonade. Even though he often leaves the mess behind, the fact that he so proudly mixes and shares his made-from-scratch creation, makes it my favorite thing to drink.”

2) Cookie, who wrote, “I’d hate to copy you but mine would be a glass of bubbly as well, but not just any bubbly, but Mumm’s DVX. Why? Cuz my hubby and I discovered it on our very first Napa trip and ever since then, every time I’ve had it, it’s been a very special memory. The next time we had it, it was our first trip to Napa with his parents and the third was the day he proposed. Sigh.”

3) Skinny Girl, who wrote, “Must be karma that you ask the day after I was at Blue Bottle Coffee in the SF Ferry Building. Its coffees have such depth that I’d want a cappuccino within arm’s reach, at all times. Of course, I may never sleep again -– but ahhhhh.”

4) Frances, who wrote, “Swizzle. What’s Swizzle? It’s an inexact combination of iced black tea and orange juice. As far as I know Swizzle’s a family name for this combo. I associate it especially with my Dad and my family when we were still all together under one roof.”

5) Joanne, who wrote, “That water bottle looks like it would make for an ideal running partner! If I could, I would carry Cherry Lime Rickey’s with me everywhere. I used to get them at this one breakfast place in Brooklyn with my ex-bf and they absolutely made my life.”

Porky Recipes: Prawns with Pork and Black Bean Sauce

And: Momofuku’s Famous Pork Buns

And: Steve Raichlen’s Ginger, Garlic, and Honey Grilled Baby Back Ribs

And: Chinese Steamed Pork Cake

And: Miao Pork with Corn and Chiles

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  • Porky fun is never a bad thing. I’d have to say mine was when I was living in Boston. My boyfriend at the time and I had gone out to a high end restaurant for restaurant week. It was fantastic, but the portions were understandably understated so a couple of hours or so later we found ourselves with grumbly tummies. With nothing in the house we ended up calling a local dive restaurant to see when their kitchen closed. Turns out it was only open for 30 more minutes so we sped over their and proceded to overindulge in a giant plate of nachos.

  • “My Pig Out” is actually a drink out that includes food. My husband and I have a written down, step-by-step plan that we use once a year to “Drink-Around-The -World” at the Disney Showcase in Epcot.

    We start with lunch at “Rose and Crown” and have some Guinness and from there we stop at each country’s pavilion and have a native drink and something to eat even it’s just a pastry.

    By the end of the day, we are stuffed, feel very cultured and are extremely happy (usually because of the sake we had the Japanese Pavilion). We leave and pass out back at the hotel…but not before we set the clock to make sure we aren’t late to our character breakfast with Goofy.

  • as starving college students we pigged out on all you can eat sushi to celebrate the end of the term–$30, all you can eat–we must have had at least 30 pieces each, yet ordered more, only to realize that if we can’t finish we would be charged. Stuffed, bloated, and we were faced with paying full price for the extra platter we had left. As poor college students, we stuffed it down our pockets and paid the bill…shameful, yes.

  • A friend once invited me to his family’s Italian Sunday dinner. I had never been to an Italian dinner before and had no idea that there would be course, after course, after course, after course. Being the polite person my parents raised me to be, I polished off the soup, then came the salad, and pasta, and fish, and meat, and … As each course was presented I inwardly groaned, but put a smile on my face and proceeded to do my best to eat each one, eating more slowly with each successive course. At the end of the evening we said good-bye to everyone and I waddled to the car, plopping into the seat, and immediately opened the buttons on my jeans. Ah relief! From that moment on, whenever I have been invited to an Italian supper, I stop eating two days ahead, know to request very small portions, and always wear loose clothing!

  • I always wake up long before my family does, so of course I eat breakfast early – around 5:30 or 6am, even on Mother’s Day. When my husband got up at 8, he wanted me to eat with him, so I did – it was Mother’s Day. Then our daughter woke up at 10 and wanted me to eat with her, and since she’s a teenager and rarely eats with us anymore, I did. And then my mom called at 11 and said she had a fresh fish that had to be eaten RIGHT THEN, and because it was MOTHER’S DAY and because I must be a DUTIFUL Chinese daughter, I drove over and ate with her. It was the bigggest, longest breakfast I’d ever had. Sigh…

  • Why is it all my pig-out stories took place in college??
    I swear, we ate every donut and pizza available in Ann Arbor. But….my most recent pig out was in Savannah. We had bought a pecan pie to take home (we were three women) and around midnight we stood looking at it, gave in, grabbed some plastic utensils we found in the hotel room and ate the entire pie in one sitting.

  • Thank you so much for the water bottle, Foodgal! That’s just great and it truly will come in handy. Since I love to run, when I saw Joanne’s answer I immediately Googled Cherry Lime Rickey’s. That could definitely make running more fun 😉

    Now regarding pigging out… You might not associate that with someone with the moniker SkinnyGirl. And I don’t really have one memorable time, because it’s any Thanksgiving dinner. That’s when everyone prepares out their best holiday dishes. So it’s the best food, the best company, the best conversations. Bring on the feedbag!

  • My most memorable pig-out moment would definitely be my first Thanksgiving at my best friend’s house. I didn’t grow up with a traditional Thanksgiving meal so everything was so new and exciting for me. I must’ve had at least 3 platefuls of turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing and LOTS of gravy! I was so stuffed but couldn’t resist at least a slice of all 3 of their homemade apple, pumpkin and cherry pies. I think I must’ve passed out from food coma for at least 3 days!

  • Almost every time I go to Taiwan to visit family I come back 10 pounds heavier. I eat everything in sight. The bakery items, the pastries, the never-ending sushi train, the dishes you get from the best little shops on the street -basically a three week non-stop eating party. It’s the best. I’m salivating just thinking about it.

  • The one that I remember happened recently, on the way home from a surgery we passed by “Fogo de Chao”, an all you can eat Brazilian BBQ, well, we could not stop since I was not dressed properly (PJs)…two days later I was sitting at the restaurant and eating like there was no tomorrow, the down side…had to rush home because I felt that my stiches were ready to come off. Until now my husband makes fun of me 😉
    Have a great week Carolyn!

  • My husband and I went to Nobu last year and we definitely pigged out. We were there for almost 3 hours because we got the Omakase (chefs tasting) which is 7 courses! It literally cost an arm and a leg, but was TOTALLY worth it. I ate types of sea life I never thought I would and they were all amazing. My mouth waters just thinking about it. If you go get the popcorn rock shrimp…it is like candy. YUM!

  • Pizza from Giordano’s in Chicago, celebrating the end of a work internship. Love that aroma, great pizza!

  • I think the greatest pig out I ever had was when I went to a pig party (wearing stretchy pants). It involved the host buying a WHOLE pig, lugging it on public transportation cut up and in trash bags, and then cooking the whole thing. 17 different pork dishes and I partaked in all of them. Almost 200 pounds of pig. It was an epic pork experience in my life.
    I took a pig nap afterwards.

  • I’m sorry I have to correct my grammar. I “partook” in all of them. It was Monday….

  • You had me at “porky.” Then you threw in fun, Blaise, and chicharrones. When bacon is the least exciting thing in an article, that is SOME article.

    Carolyn, my pig out comes this Friday when a fellow foodie and I are having lunch at Baumé. My first time there and the only thing better that eating at Baumé is eating at Baumé with a serious foodie.

    Oinky details to come…

  • Oh, Nanette — WHOLE pig! I know what you mean. I last partooked of the whole beast a year ago. It had been all day on the spit. I walked up and looked around. Asked, “where’s the skin”?

    They looked at me like I was a Martian cannibal. “Uh, it’s over there.”

    They were discarding the skin!! Fortunately, they discarded it into a foil pan and a few of us descended on the cracklins while the we let the civilized fools dine on mere meat.

  • Best pigging out experiences are right after running a marathon!

  • I’m clearly out of the running but all of those porky good recipes have made me very hungry! I wonder if I can get Mr NQN to pick up something on his way home! 😀

  • Mr. Blais looks so much cuter in that pic than he ever did on top Chef. Hmm.

    Last pigging out experience I can remember…has to be at the NY Food and Wine Festival. So much good food everywhere. And I tasted all of it. Thanks so much for the water bottle! I’ll be emailing you imminently!

  • My most memorable pig-out would have to be back when I was an undergrad at UVA. I had volunteered all year at the Alumni Association and was somehow graciously offered an invite to the intern end-of-the-year appreciation dinner at a pretty swanky steak house in Charlottesville, VA called the Aberdeen Barn; mostly because I was very close to the dierector. Being as all the other guests were ready-to-graduate seniors, and I was just a turning-19-in-2-weeks freshman, I felt a bit out of place.

    I compensated not being able to join in conversations by eating, and was actually encouraged to order as much as I could since it was all on the Alumni Association’s tab. Started with 3 cocktails (yeah, yeah – illegally, but all the other kids ordered one and they weren’t carding), finished my 2 (!!) appetizers of fried calimari and shrimp cocktail (seafood fan), cleaned up my surf-and-turf filet mignon and lobster tail entree, and still had room for my very first lava chocolate cake (I was de-virginized that night… in cake-form), plus another creme brulee to go (ate half at the restaurant). Not to mention all the snacking on the communal appetizers ordered throughout the meal.

    I’m sure my tab just what I ordered was easily into the $200 range (3 drinks, 2 appetizers, most expensive entree, 2 desserts); which was at that time was the equivalent of blowing a whole month’s paycheck.

    If I didn’t already gain the infamous freshman-15 at the end of the year, I’m sure that dinner alone gave me 20 extra pounds by the end of the night. I was drunk, stuffed, and food-coma-ed out by the end of the night.

  • SO many ways do I love pork…. Must say that my first time at Ibu Oka in Bali may be my most memorable pork meal. Anthony Bordain says this place may have the best pork on earth, and I agree – Suckling pig with crispy skin served on rice is simply perfect. As we were enjoying our meal, a guy drove up on a scooter with an entire roasted pig on a plank, resting on his head. How he balanced this beast with only one arm I have no idea. With in minutes, this newly roasted pig was carved and served to the line of eager customers. Very memorable!

  • In college, I have a good friend who is known as the Kramer of the group. I would walk into my apartment and see him pigging out on my couch in his boxers! So one Chinese New Year, he wanted to take me (and my roomie) out for dim sum to celebrate.

    We got to the Chinese restaurant, sat down on a large round table (that usually seats 10). Kramer always has cravings for EVERYTHING and has bad judgement on how “much” we ordered and could actually finish.

    He ordered so much food that the table was completely full with plates and neighbouring tables were making bets (w us and among themselves) on whether we would finish the food. We ended up w a $220 bill for 3, I lost an additional $10 worth of drinks to the table beside me because we didn’t finish the food.

    1 1/2 hrs later, we only went through 1/3 of the dishes and I was so full and sick of dim sum we did not eat it for months!

  • in trying to think of my best pig-out, i realized that i’ve had way more episodes than the average bear. apparently, i’m just a pig. the one i’ll write about now resulted in the most miserable and satisfied i’ve ever been after a meal. it was an all-you-can-eat buffet at a mexican restaurant, and when we’d eaten so much that we couldn’t even make ourselves get up to return to the buffet, we were still consuming chips and salsa. i’m not lying when i say we had to sit for about an hour before we could get up to leave!

  • Best pigging out on Spicy Pork Tacos my husband makes!!!
    littlegray88 at yahoo dot com

  • Best memorable time when I truly pigged out was my first chowdown with the Chowhounds – (a food lover’s board) where you talk about food & sometimes get together to try restaurants. My first chowdown was about 10 yrs ago to the SF Mission where we tried maybe 10 taquerias, sharing all the tacos – cutting them all up & sharing drinks. Then we went to bakeries (sharing pastries) & ice cream places (buying our own ice cream). It was one of my favorite day of my life.

  • Contest is now closed. Come back Monday to find out who won and for the start of a fun new contest.

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