Pancetta Paradise…Or, How a Nice Girl Got into Curing.

By: tutticooks

Apr 11 2011

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Focal Length:8mm
Shutter:1/0 sec
Camera:DiMAGE G600

It all started with a phone call from my dear friend, Dana Daniel ( , “Executive Pigtendress” and great chef in her own right,   “I’m on my way to Kelso’s* to pick up some pork bellies. You want one?”  

Now, that’s not a question one is often asked, however, but if you know anything about food, you’ll know that pork belly is the non-cured pre-cursor to bacon.  And, for those who love all things Italian, it is the non-cured pre-cursor to PANCETTA!

As we chatted further, I deduced that she was so happy with her previous experiment making pancetta on her own that she decided to teach her friends how to do it.  I had a sample of that first batch and it was lovely!  I jumped at the chance and so began my first adventure with homemade Pancetta (and, by association) homemade curing of meat.

As if writing about bacon wasn’t enough of a good topic, I want to share my adventure with you so you can see that trying new things can be fun and successful, especially when you have help.  Like you, I’ve wasted a lot of food on “experiments” gone wrong in the kitchen, I’ve disappointed family and friends with overdone dishes, underdone meats and a host of other mistakes.  Still, I’ve made a lot of great food as well, and I’ve learned that you never stop trying.  And now that people come to me to learn to cook, it would be very easy to stick with what’s “safe” and the dishes that come through every time, just to reassure everyone that I know what I’m doing.  I can’t do that.  And neither should you. 

Food is about love and we shouldn’t hide our culinary curiosity under a bushel!  If you think you want to try something, do it!  If you think you need help, then sign up for a class first, so you can make your mistakes and see what it’s supposed to look like.  If you still have questions, call me.  You’ll always get a big shout out for GIVING IT A TRY! 

Oh, and as for the pancetta?  It will take a few weeks to go through the whole process, and glutton for punishment that I am, we’re having a contest to see whose pig is tastiest when all is said and done. 

It’s like I always say…if you can’t be a good example, at least be a horrible warning! 

*.  A FABULOUS family-owned butcher in downtown Snohomish, WA.  Stop by when you can and tell them I sent you!


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