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Slow Food Slows Down: Slow Cooking at Cubano Pig Roast

Tickets quickly sold out for the much anticipated Slow Food pig roast. It was the culmination of much hard work by the organizers. Slow Food members teamed up with some of our favorite food purveyors to gather an impressive assortment of Caribbean inspired sides.

The McPeek Lodge in Granville served up the setting for our dinner and evening of culinary entertainment. A little Slow Food karma kept the rain at bay and allowed all in attendance an evening outside with the aroma of roasting pork passing through the air.

Members: Jane (uncharacteristically smiling) and Alyssa signing in diners as Heather oversees

The evening started with a greeting from Jane and Alyssa as they provided a flight attendant style orientation to the facilities and presented a menu listing all courses of our meal.

As with any Slow Food event, our members stepped up as volunteers to help with all aspects of the night – from setting up tents and tables to prepping food and sorting recycling. All was in good hands. Our group includes many camera toting foodistas, bloggers and photography buffs. Check out Xan and Liesl’s Pig Roast photo album and feel free to add your own photos as a link in the comments section.

Rick Malir from City BBQ served as CPR (Chief Pig Roaster) with several assistants and supporters on hand.

Follow instructions and add pig

Rick introduced a different style of Pig Roast using China Box slow cooking. Most of us have visions of a whole pig on a spit or roasting in a pit. The China Box uses a different approach with the heat from the coals “cooking down” to the pig. Other cooking approaches can take 18 hours our more, this approach is quicker..but subject to variables as we would learn later in the evening.

While Rick roasted, helpers toiled away prepping our side dishes and others took care of all the other little touches to make the night flow right. The rest of us strolled down the hill to sample salsa and cerviche.

Cuban Salsa and Chips donated by John Hard from CaJohn's

Members and guests enjoyed the appetizers and good conversation. Since the event was BYOB, we also enjoyed sharing and sampling beverages among ourselves. Bocce was played while the day transitioned to night. Do you happen to recall how I mentioned variables and pig roasting.

When cooking real food with real cooking methods in real world conditions not all things can be precise. A good pig roast is like a fine wine, it takes time. Our pig, christened Fidela for the occasion, took her time to roast. The cooking temperature lingered near the magic 160 degree mark a little longer than planned. Joseph, one of the organizers took this opportunity to tell us about where Fidela came from, Slow Food Columbus and he introduced the people that made our evening possible. It was noted that the temperature of Fidela went up four degrees during Joseph’s speech.

While this was going on, the bread course was served – grilled Cuban Bread from Starliner Diner. (Makes for a great PBJ sandwich the next day).

Rick Malir from City BBQ fields questions - with an entralled Zach looking on

Rick described the China Box cooking method, shared some City BBQ history and answered assorted questions. Rick’s BBQ and A added in the extra few degrees needed to finish Fidela. It was feasting time.

Let them eat pig!

Slow Food Snails scrambled from their tables (which were nicely adorned with tropical fruits and eco friendly tableware from the The Greener Grocer).

While Rick and company sliced and diced the pork, guests queued up for a serving of side dishes supplied by Kevin Caskey from Banana Bean Cafe.

Fu Fu de Plantanos Muduros (with garlic and thyme)

Spanish Catalan roasted calabeza squash with sultanas and pinion

Vegetable Escabeche

We found ourselves transported to Cuba for our meal. The sides were wonderful as was the pork. There would be no leftovers to worry about the next day and nothing was wasted from Fidela. Speaking of waste not want not, the few table scraps remaining were transported to the Flying J Farm for composting.

Adios Fidela

We ended our evening with servings of Jeni’s Ice Cream. Jeni’s trademark Salty Caramel was scooped out with a serving of Lime Cardamom.

Slow Food does not endorse snails smoking Cuban cigars - because Cuban cigars are illegal

It was a good evening with good food and good people. Have you joined the Slow Food Revolution?

As an aside, many of our donated items came from North Market vendors, if you have not been to the Market, make it a point to do so.

At the Market:

Jeni’s Ice Cream

The Greener Grocer

The Fish Guys


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