In the upcoming year, I resolve to do two things: Lose some weight, and cook a whole hog in my back yard.
Sure, these goals may seem incompatible.
And they remind me of a man who went to the doctor and was told he needed to lose weight and lower his cholesterol. OK, I know a lot of guys like this.
But this particular guy looked especially downtrodden when the doctor told him he needed to start eating healthily, so the doctor suggested he follow a strict diet on the weekdays and then eat whatever he wanted on Saturdays.
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The guy thought it was a great idea and agreed to follow this plan.
Six months later, the guy went back to the doctor and his numbers were worse than ever.
When the doctor started to scold him, the man said, "But Doc, I've been following the plan!"
The doctor was skeptical. "You've been following a strict diet six days a week, and then eating whatever you want on Saturday?"
"Exactly!" the man exclaimed.
The doctor scratched his head and thought for a second. "What have you been eating on Saturdays?" he asked.
"Well," the man said, "my brother and I cook a whole pig and eat that."
"Every Saturday?" the doctor asked.
"You said I could eat whatever I wanted!"
I think of this story to convince myself that my goals are not incompatible. I don't plan to cook a whole hog once a week. Just once in the year 2014.
And I plan to invite a bunch of people. In fact, several websites devoted to whole hog cookery warn you against inviting too many people because random folks and maybe several packs of dogs are going to wander into your yard when they smell roasting pig, and you should account for this.
I've been talking about cooking a whole pig since I saw a sign on the door of a local Piggly Wiggly urging me to order my whole pig there.
At least, it seemed directed at me, and it felt a little bit like a calling.
In fact, roasting a pig is like joining the Army or becoming a missionary. Nobody wants to do it himself, but everybody thinks it's a great idea for you to try.
The difference is, they'll gladly watch you do it (and gladly drink your beer while they watch you do it) and then of course they'll gladly help you eat it.
New Year's Eve seems like the perfect time. You start cooking the pig on New Year's Eve, you celebrate around the pit when the clock strikes midnight, and then the pig's ready to eat about the time the bowl games kick off.
And it's cool outside, and no mosquitoes.
But it seems like a lot of work, I need to catch up on some sleep, and, oh, even though I haven't decided for sure to do it this week, the guest list is already 500 people long.
You're supposed to allow a pound for each person, which means I'm now in the market for a 500-pound hog.
Unless everybody wants to lose weight.
Contact Dimon Kendrick-Holmes, executive editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org