Gaining Confidence While Cooking

Plan A Pig Party This Porktober

There seems to be a national day, week, or month for almost anything, but there are times when you simply must embrace your fate and savor the serendipity. October is one of those times. October is Feral Hog Month, National Pork Month, and Sausage Month.

Vegetarians have a month, too, but that's a different menu.

Celebration is mandatory.

Feral Hog Month comes to us from Texas. It marks the time when all good Texans go out and defend their state against the depredations of invasive feral hogs, which present a danger to livestock and agriculture. Pork Month and Sausage Month were created by food producers to highlight their products. That doesn't mean they shouldn't be celebrated for what they truly are: a chance to party.  

Planning a Proper Pig-Out

The backbone of any pork fest has ribs on it. This means your guests will need something to do while the meat is cooking, and things to nibble on so they don't starve.

For activities, try traditional October favorites with a new twist. Replace horseshoes with pig-shaped bean bags. Mark out targets with rings that give different point values. The one with the highest score wins a sugar pig.

Bobbing for apples is a natural choice; roast pork and apples have a long history together. Pin the Tail on the Porker and pig pinatas work for indoor activities. Outdoors, a tug of war over a virtual wallow is a great way to work up appetites. If mud is too, messy, have the teams try to drag their opponents into a pile of leaves.

By the time everyone is exhausted, dinner should be ready.

Pork With Everything!

For catering appetizers, try cocktail wieners wrapped in bacon, ham and cheese sliders, and sausage mini calzones. Barbecued wild boar or baby back ribs are the perfect main course. German potato salad and baked beans make substantial side dishes; consider a Cobb salad for a lighter option. Round everything off with a dessert of maple bacon muffins and mulled cider to wash it all down. Crispy bacon stirring-sticks for the cider are optional.

The Porky Aftermath

After dinner, your guests will be ready for some recovery time. A film festival gives everyone a chance to sit around and groan with satisfaction. Try Babe or Charlotte's Web for a family gathering. If the crowd is older, Porkie's is bound to please. Once everyone has had a chance to digest and people start wandering back to the kitchen, pull out your secret weapon.

October is also National Caramel Month. Bacon ice cream with caramel sauce, anyone?