Friday, August 14, 2009

Rootless Cosmopolitan Pig Roast



After 35 years living in San Francisco, it's still a treat stumbling into brand new neighborhoods. Last Saturday, it was an area called Miraloma in a hillside valley between Twin Peaks and Glen Park.



The occasion was an annual pig roast hosted by John Burke (above) and his wife Peggy for a large galaxy of their friends, all of whom turned out to be interesting people.



Before this afternoon, I'd never met John, but felt like I knew him since he's been one of the smartest, sanest commenters on this blog for years under the nom de plume "rootlesscosmo." When he confessed that he had also been a fan of "FotoTales," my public access show from five years ago, I just about kissed him.



His old friend Harry Noller, a professor at UC Santa Cruz, was helping John with the Turning of the Pig inside of La Caja China Roasting Box...



...which our host maintains is the crucial element.



I asked Harry how he'd met John, and he said the two were at UC Berkeley in the late 1950s when they were both teenage jazz musicians. John had put up a card on a campus bulletin board offering the services of "an incredibly hip New York pianist," and they ended up playing together for a number of years.



John maintains that the "incredibly hip" part of the story is apocryphal. "I mean, it went without saying that I was incredibly hip if I was a young New York pianist."



A couple of hours into the lovely party, everyone started getting tipsy and hungry...



...and they gathered around La Caja China in anticipation of their pork.



They were not disappointed.

6 comments:

AphotoAday said...

Yum, and even a special box to cook it in -- what a deal...

But now I'm curious abut your public access "PhotoTales" -- sounds interesting...

whabbear said...

What a fabulous party! That pig looked delicious... good thing the crate wasn't a litter "longer"... LOL!

momo said...

MMMMMMM, roast pork!

Isn't meeting people through the comments a grand thing? I think so.

sfmike said...

Dear momo: It feels a bit like internet dating (which I haven't tried). You always want to say something like, "I thought you'd be taller." But yes, it is a grand thing.

rootlesscosmo said...

I read about the box in the NY Times Food section a few years ago and immediately ordered one. According to the article, Cubans use the adjective "chino/china" for any ingenious or artful solution to a problem; the problem here is "how do I have a luau when I can't dig a hole in the concrete to put the pig in?" and the box is the clever answer. Why Chinese? Cab Calloway told Dizzy Gillespie not to play "that Chinese music"--he meant bebop--"in my band." And an early review of the Ravel string quartet said it sounded like the noises issuing from a pagoda--this was not meant as praise. For some reason a lot of non-Chinese think that the Chinese are the limiting case of weirdness.

Thanks for the kind words and good-looking photos, Mike.

sfmike said...

Dear rootlesscosmo: Thanks for the party and also the "chinoiserie" explanation which is very Western. I wonder how Asians such as Koreans, Japanese and Filipinos refer to Chinese culture.