It is more than likely that you will have heard of Twitter, which is a virtual phenomenon (both literal and figurative) used by millions across the globe.
All you need is a connection to the interweb and you are free to roam it’s vast corridors as a place to network, procrastinate, vent, rant, scorn, giggle, indulge in self promotion, start a revolution or share humourous photographs of your pets with whomever is happy to indulge your whims and fancies.
The only commitment needed is to click on a little button enticingly labeled ‘follow’ and even this action can be reversed if necessary. With its endless rabbit holes, crazy characters, occasional seeming pointlessness and who knows where you’ll end up it’s all very Alice in Wonderland.
Well, for a while now I’ve been following a certain man on this thing called Twitter because of his renown in the world of food and writing. His name is Michael Ruhlman. Not sure how I found him but I can tell you it wasn’t down a dark alley late at night. Mr. Ruhlman is probably oblivious to my existence, but with almost 45000 fellow stalkers at the time of writing, I don’t think I can blame him.
A couple of weeks ago I started noticing that a certain hashtag (that’s Twitter-speak for a topic, or trend, denoted by the prefix #) – Charcutepalooza – kept cropping up in and around Twitter posts by, or relating to Ruhlman. This grabbed my attention for two reasons.
First, it contained most of the letters from the word Charcuterie. Second, I have always wondered where the word/suffix ‘palooza’ comes from. Other than a vague inclination that it was related somehow to a music festival from my youth, I had no idea.
A little time spent exploring t’Internet (props to Wikipedia) revealed that the word I was thinking of – Lollapalooza – apparently ‘dates from a late 19th/early 20th century American idiomatic phrase meaning “an extraordinary or unusual thing, person, or event; an exceptional example or instance”. In time the term also came to refer to a large lollipop’.
Charcutepalooza clearly confirmed what I’ve always known deep inside: that cured meat products are extraordinary, unusual things, and the eating of them denotes an exceptional event. Either that or someone somwhere had invented Porkmeat Popsicles. Things had moved along deftly from Alice in Wonderland to Willy Wonka. I decided emphatically that I wanted IN.
Further investgations revealed the existence of the following two marvellous human beings: Mrs. Wheelbarrow and TheYummyMummy, both of whom are embarking on a year long festival of salting, brining, smoking and preserving, and don’t care who knows about it.
So, although I am a little late in jumping on the bandwagon, I will be joining in Charcutepalooza 2011 and I’m looking forward to sharing with you the trials and tribulations that accompany my quest for excellence in porcine preservation.