Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Truffle Pig

Here's another story from Between a Dream and a Cup of Coffee. Have a great Thanksgiving, everyone.

My friends Alain and Danielle had invited me to dinner. Danielle, who grew up in Nice, is a phenomenal cook, and her dinners are always memorable. Whenever they have me to dinner I am the model guest, which insures repeated invitations.

They both greeted me at the door.

"It is so nice to see you," Danielle said.

"Yes, it is so nice to see you," Alain said.

"And it's always nice to see both of you," I said.

I noticed something new in the corner of the living room. It was a big, grotesque, twisted, gray, headless carcass. But it wasn't a carcass. It moved. It shifted around a bit from time to time.

"What's that?" I asked, pointing to the thing in the corner.

"Oh, that is a truffle pig," Danielle said. "You know what that is, a truffle pig?" she asked.

"A pig that ferrets out truffles?"

"I see you know a bit about truffle pigs," she said. "My mother, she shipped this one from home; she knows how much I love truffle pigs, and Alain and I had been wanting a pet for some time."

"But why doesn't it have a head?" I asked.

"You know, speaking of heads," Danielle said, "a truffle pig buries his head in the dirt and goes sniffing for truffles. When he finds one he brings it up and you have to get it away from him very quickly, because a truffle pig loves truffles very much. That is why truffles are so very expensive--they are rare to begin with, and the truffle pig eats many of them, so the ones that are left, they are very expensive."

"Yes, but why doesn't this one have a head?" I asked them.

"Oh, it just came off one day," Alain said. "We keep the head elsewhere."

"Let's go to the dining room," Danielle said. "We will show you the truffle pig's head."

We went to the dining room and sat down at the table. On the table was a glass beaker that contained a small head, floating in a clear liquid. It was a very small head, in no way proportionate to the truffle pig body in the other room. In fact, it looked nothing like a pig's head. If anything, it looked like the head of a human fetus.

"And this is our little pig's head," Alain said.

"It is very cute, don't you think?" Danielle asked.

"Uh, yeah," I said, though actually I found the thing pretty repulsive.

"Pick it up and take a closer look," Alain said, "but be careful not to tip the beaker. Our little pig head is very mischievous--he likes to get out and crawl around the apartment sniffing for truffles, even though we all know there are no truffles here in New York."

I reluctantly picked up the beaker, not wanting to offend my friends. I could have sworn the head gave me a dirty look. I put it down.

Alain served the wine, a very nice Chardonnay, and we updated each other on our work--his painting, my writing. Then Danielle brought the appetizer, leeks vinaigrette. The beaker with the head was still on the table. It was making me a bit queasy, but I didn't complain.

Everything Danielle served was delicious, as usual. The main course consisted of fruits de mer, sauteed and served in pastry shells, steamed green beans, and baked new potatoes (I have always admired the simplicity of her vegetables). For dessert she served fresh raspberries and cream. And I was the model guest, as always. I must admit, however, that I was rather uncomfortable this time, and in spite of Danielle's wonderful cooking, my appetite was not as hearty as usual, what with that thing staring at me throughout the meal, making all sorts of faces.


Blogger Farmer de Ville said...

Very entertaining. I hope that when I purchase my truffle pig, it comes with a head. Otherwise, can't think how it will help me find truffles.


11:23 AM  

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