Citizens! The air is crisp, the temperature chilly and the prescient roar of millions of football fans is nigh – the Super Bowl has arrived, complete with the Superlative One’s home team of the San Francisco 49ers! What better way to celebrate the ultimate tossing of the pigskin than with ACTUAL pig skin, aka pork belly cracklins – and this shall indeed become our latest recipe to share! 🙂
While I wish Kansas City fans ‘bon chance’, this oracular hippo has spoken and it appears the animal prefers my team, considering it barfed on the KC team logo…
Moving on, why exactly IS a football known as a ‘pigskin’ – the answer is definitively noted on wonderopolis.com:
If you’ve watched much football, you’ve probably heard the ball referred to as a “pigskin” many times. But if you’ve ever played with a real football, you probably know it feels like leather. So what’s the story?
As it turns out, the earliest form of the ball we now know as a football was more like what Americans now call a “soccer ball.” Of course, most of the rest of the world still refers to soccer balls as “footballs.”
These early round balls were made of inflated pig bladders. This is why footballs got the nickname “pigskins.”
The earliest games of football featured mobs from opposing villages attempting to kick an inflated pig bladder into the balcony of their opponents’ church!
Why pig bladders? Before rubber was invented, animal bladders were easy to get. They were basically round, lightweight, easily inflated and fairly durable.
The oldest football ever found was made in the 1540s. It consists of a pig bladdercovered with pieces of leather, possibly from a deer. It was found in 1981 at Stirling Castle in Scotland.
Of course, it wasn’t always the most pleasant task to blow up a pig bladder to use as a football. So when rubber was invented in the mid-1800s, pig bladders took a back seat to inflated rubber balls.
Eventually, leather coverings were added to strengthen the balls and make them easier to handle.
The shape of the football eventually changed from a round ball to its current elliptical shape with pointed ends (also known as a prolate spheroid). The new shape allowed the ball to be thrown farther with a forward pass.
Modern footballs are about 12 inches (one “foot”) long and about 22 inches in circumference (around) at the center. Many people wonder why they’re called “footballs” when most of the game is played with the hands.
Even though footballs are kicked occasionally during a game, the name most likely arises from the fact that the game has always been played on foot rather than on horseback, like the game of polo that was more popular at that time.
Modern footballs used in college games and professional leagues are made of leather. Footballs still have an internal bladder, but today they’re made of polyurethane or rubber.
Laces hold the leather panels of the football together and provide a good grip for throwing the ball. Manufacturers also usually stamp the leather panels with a grain-like texture to help players hang onto the ball.
Now moving on to my recipe, few things are as delicious as deep-fried pork belly, when the skin crackles into a glass-like layer of crunchy delight previously reserved solely for the consumption of the holy Seraphim of the Crystalline sphere of the Empyrean! My recipe falls solely and completely into the category of heavenly delight, Citizens!
First, try and get your hands on an heirloom breed pork belly – I’m particularly fond of both Berkshire (aka kurobota) and Gloucestershire Old Spot breeds due to their delicious meat and high fat content. Failing that, please try and at least get a belly cut from a humanely-raised pig – factory-bred pork is a travesty and the animals lives are short, awful and tragic on every level.
My spice-blending skills are both epic and deservedly legendary – you’ll be most pleased indeed with my choices for this fatty and deliciously crisp cut of meat! My choice of fats to cook the cracklins in should be followed to the letter – it is sheer perfection. I would recommend cooking this outdoors if feasible.
You can purchase Jane’s Krazy salt here, wild fennel pollen here and black garlic powder here – now go forth and enjoy your Super Bowl Sunday with the most apropos and delicious game day snack imaginable! 🙂 Serve the cracklins piping hot along with chips and a delicious dip such as this one.
Battle on – the Generalissimo
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