Growing up in a Jewish household meant I couldn’t eat and cook pork until I moved out to university, and was away from my parents. They will tell you that me and my two siblings eat pork and shellfish by way of rebelling against what they had taught us growing up.
For me at least, it’s a thing of curiosity. When you discover a flavour that’s entirely new to you, you naturally want to taste all the flavour combinations you were previously missing out on. I wouldn’t describe it as a terrible thing, missing out on pork scratchings or bacon sandwiches, but it just made me curious.
I can’t say my first encounters with pork as a meat were particularly glorious. Buying cheap water-pumped bacon, meant that I did a lot of burning of bacon, I’ve made a lot of overcooked pork chops and lots of undercooked ribs which were rubbery and horrible. I’ve even tried to make my own pork scratchings, and that was a big pile of no.
Lots has gone right though too, I’ve made some fantastic porchetta’s, figured out how to properly cook a pork chops with sage and brown butter, and I’ve made lots of pork-based ramen broths, which cooked for hours in a big pot bubbling away. I made pho once at university and someone told me I look like someone plucked me right out of a street side canteen in Vietnam, tasting the pho soup looking to see what’s missing. The answer to that by the way is fish sauce, it’s always fish sauce.
I then got heavily into scotch eggs. They really fascinate me as a concept, as it’s sold as a snack food. I think scotch eggs illicit the same response from your brain when you try a currywurst for first time, with its pungent sauce and spice. I stood there and thought, “this, is a snack?”. It doesn’t make sense, but when it’s done well it sings, I think so anyway!
First time I had a scotch egg, I had a crappy Sainsbury’s basic one which was dry and horrible. I think it tasted like rust and salt. I didn’t exactly have the yearning to try more, because the first I had was so horrible. But it’s when you get that ‘posh’ scotch egg that has actual meat in it, an egg that’s still gooey, it’s warm, has actual flavour in the meat and crispy bread coating, is when it makes sense to you. The star align and you think, yes! This is it.
My favourite scotch eggs are from a company called The Handmade Scotch Egg Company, which do a fantastic eggs with black pudding. And lucky for me, they’re sold in a number of shops not too far away from my house.
I’m interested to find more however, and I’d love it if you could leave a comment to let me know where you get your scotch egg fix from!