Puerco, Puerco, Puerco

As near vegetarians, James and I had a hard time finding food that wasn’t always meaty in Cuba. And even at the best of times, we never eat pork. In Cuba, this is very difficult. Pork is everywhere and the most popular meat. Behind our place was a small yard that held a very large and noisy pig, being fattened for the new year. On the streets there were often pigs being roasted on a spit, for special occasions, parties or weekends. All restaurants featured pork, and the fast food was always ham sandwiches. I learned to recognize the pork-related foods on the menus. Other foods may not be available, but there was always puerco.

I never ate any of it or cooked any, so can’t comment on it. But I often saw bicycles pulling carts with pigs in them, also a group of men putting a pig into a sack and loading it onto a cart. Often a bicycle would go by with a slops bucket on the handlebars: food for the pigs. I don’t know where the pork came from that was sold in the market, or served in the restaurants, but it didn’t seem like there were any mega-pig farms, just a lot of independent backyard pig owners.

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