SouthCoast suffers from shortage of pickled pig’s trotters

Back in the day, when people had to cook or cook their own food, they were less picky about what went through their mouths. Some of what we might now consider disgusting was sent from heaven to those seeking a meal, and it was appreciated for what was: vital food.

Consider the Native American tribes who hunted buffalo. Every piece of this towering creature has been put to good use. From meat, organs, bones, and skin, tribes such as the Lakota who roamed the northern plains prepared food, clothing, tarps, and even weapons. Nothing was wasted.

Many of our parents and grandparents remember loved ones who raised cows, pigs, chickens and more to feed their families. Again, none of this was wasted. Even today, many older members of our local South Coast community include animal tongues, brains, feet, organs, blood, tails and even ears in their diet. Why? Aren’t there any grocery stores with more civilized options?

This is because throwing away such things is a waste.

My father, who is almost 90 years old, is one of those people. My stepfather, who is 91, is another. Both men have a huge appetite for things that many of us might find disgusting, like pig’s trotters. Pickled pig’s trotters, to be exact, although I understand that boiled pig’s trotters are cat’s meow for some. This is not the case for this cowboy.

Over the years, my stepfather would ask me to find him pickled pig’s trotters in a jar because his local market was closed. I did. So it was at Christmas that I searched high and low for a jar of pickled pig’s trotters for my father-in-law, but in vain.

The pickled pig’s trotters crowd is an endangered breed, so fewer stores are stocking things up. Price Rite on Hathaway Road used to carry them, but not anymore; nor market basket. The current supply chain crisis has made it difficult for stores that still sell pickled pig’s trotters to get them. Xavier’s Market on North Front Street sells them when available, as does The Butcher Shop on Dartmouth Street. Neither had them in stock.

My quest for pickled pig’s trotters was unsuccessful, although I am told I can order them online and have them shipped through Amazon.

The very thought of stuffing a pig’s trotters that has soaked in pickle juice in my mouth triggers my gag reflex. Have you ever eaten one? Would you like?

Southeast Massachusetts has a pretty diverse culture so I’m sure there are some interesting things besides the pig’s trotters that are eaten here. What are the things that others might consider unusual that are part of your diet? Share your recipes if you have any.

WATCH: The history of food since you were born

From product innovations to major recalls, Stacker has researched what’s happened in food history every year since 1921, according to news and government sources.


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Freeda S. Scott