Heating Things Up
On a recent trip to Mississippi to visit his Mom, Jim Sartain bought this box of potentially hellish instant pork rinds and brought it back to share. He doled out some to different pals, including several packages in the original box for me.
Okay, is this where I admit I had never tasted a pork rind before in my life? Never mind a hot n' (sic) spicy one. Never mind a microwaved one. I'm all for new culinary adventures but I admit to a certain skepticism at the outset.
Here's the deal: you take out one of the little clear plastic packages; redistribute evenly in the bag the future rinds, which look and feel like pieces of hard plastic about 1/2" square and dusted with deeply suspicious, reddish-brown spices; place the bag in the microwave oven; blast on full whack for about 4-5 minutes; remove carefully, as the bag is now hot as a firecracker; the rinds have puffed up to roughly 20x their original size; cut open the bag and eat.
Some kind of wacky miracle has happened in that few minutes. The rinds are now as puffed as a down jacket and crisp, full of porky bubbles, as light as a feather. They are a tiny bit greasy, but not unpleasantly so. And they are SPICY! For me, on the threshold of hell, but then we all know I'm a spice wimp. Still, they were so good that I kept eating them and, oddly, savoring the burn. This must be how masochists feel on a good day. It seems a contradiction but, à chacun son gout, n'est-ce pas?
Whatever. I enjoyed the heck out of these little blasts from the Deep South. How Deep South is it? Well, to hear tell, when asked for a breakfast English muffin in a restaurant down there, the response was "We don't have foreign foods."
They may not know about English muffins yet, but they surely do know their pork rinds and I, for one, am happy to heat things up here in sunny California.