Grit Blogs > At Home in Ohio

Pig Wings, Cow Huddles

 Connie Moorecows beginning to gather into huddle

While it is still two weeks until our Clark County Fair here in Ohio, to be sure, it will include cows and pigs. There’s also a lot going on with animals such as cows and pigs which are not at the fair.

The pig items referred to in the title are now resting in barbecue sauce at an eatery which sets up business every Friday in Yellow Springs, Ohio. The cows are in a pasture between Enon and Springfield. Of course, you may find these same type pigs and cows in other areas, say for instance, in other states and parts and pastures beyond.

In case you’re wondering, pig wings are real. Not that they enable pigs to fly. Too many bad jokes start out with, "if pigs could fly." Pig wings are the pork shank, cut from the fibula, resulting in a bone and a large piece of meat in the shape of a flag or wing attached to it. They can be deep fried, barbecued or baked.

Where did that old saying about flying pigs come from? First, it is an adynaton or a figure of speech in the form of a hyperbole taken to such an extreme as to insinuate a complete impossibility. The line is often used for humorous effect or to scoff at ambitions too big to be realized. A Scottish proverb seems to be the beginning of it. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll used the expression. The movie, the Eagle Has Landed, has a few lines in the script referring to flying pigs. And, the Finnish use the expression, “kun lehmat lentavat” which translates to when cows fly.

Which brings us to cows. Now, we all know cows don’t fly. But they do huddle. Many a farmer has predicted a storm on the horizon after watching his herd come together, turn tails to the outside and heads to the inside of a tight circle. It is much like a football team huddle at the start of the Super Bowl.

old black and white of cows huddling

As to what causes the cows to think to huddle is up for speculation but the most sensible answer is instinct. If cows could talk, well, they might have more to say on the subject but since they don’t fly and don’t talk, we’ll have to be satisfied that they are using common sense.

Since there is no specific recipe for pig wings other than to cook till well done and slather in barbecue sauce, and for beef, which may be beyond the budget in steak cuts, well ... of course, we could just go vegetarian. But, somewhere in the distance, outside this office door, I hear a snicker and something about if pigs could fly.