Opinion: Pulling One’s Leg


Daz Lawrence is driven to despair by the rise of pulled pork.

I was recently browsing the food temple, when it became apparent all was not well. Something was different; something was…faulty. The shelves of flesh, usually packed with suffocated pink and red reminders of hooves and trotters past, had been invaded by boxes, trays and packets of the frayed ends of old shoe laces. Looking more closely, I find I am mistaken – these animals have been ‘pulled’.

Let us investigate, with clean minds and good intentions, the nature of ‘pulling’.

Oxford English Dictionary:
pulled, adj. 4. Of meat (orig. poultry, later esp. pork): prepared by being cooked (in later use spec. barbecued) until it is tender enough to be easily cut or torn into small pieces.

Though the packaging largely seems to feature  a jolly 2.5 child family surrounding a grinning man holding aloft a pair of tongs like the Olympic torch near a gleaming barbeque, it seems reasonable to assume the supermarkets are not quite employing this technique. Imagine an array of anonymous concrete buildings scattered across the country, each containing a gigantic pressure cooker stuffed with assorted body-parts. The nation is oblivious to the danger of these pressurised cauldrons, the threat of an explosion wiping out entire counties and filling the skies with farm beast fireworks.

There are two reasons these products are selling like hotcakes back in the hotcake heydays. Firstly, they least resemble the animal they once were, or purport to have been. Lest they start selling gravy and dripping in cans, this is the conscience-free method of eating dead animals. Secondly, they allow the server the satisfaction of convincing his guests he has harnessed his inner caveperson and can light a fire and put something on it. The fact that the accompanying sauce tastes like melted Fisherman’s Friends is of little consequence. Thirdly, and perhaps most pertinently, it is food for people who can’t be bothered to chew.

Chewing is so 2002. Now, an adult human should reasonably expect to rise of a morn, put vegetables in a reconfigured jet engine, down it in one and pat themselves on the head, not once questioning why no-one since time began has considered liquidised kale ‘breakfast’. Later, water will be poured on instant porridge, the boiling of milk an arcane fad practised only by the Amish. Blueberries will be added, presumably as a nod to the perplexing television adverts of the 80’s which suggested sliced bananas and strawberries cascading in slow motion onto Weetabix was definitely the way forward.  By bedtime, this new breed of superhuman could easily have consumed their day’s calorie intake by funnel, their unused teeth now perverted tusks which have to be cleaned  with ‘advanced toothpaste’ which may or may not contain micro-crystals and baking soda.

This is surely the peak of an Emperor’s New Clothes food revolution. Whilst television programmes  sagely tell us it might actually be the case that broccoli can’t cure all known diseases, the nation’s fridges strain to contain the bulging cartons of coconut water – going by the prices, it appears coconuts are more endangered than white rhinos. It’s difficult to see how far the powers which dictate our eating habits will go to convince the masses that what they’re eating isn’t ludicrous; flattened suckling pigs complete with apple in mouth which gradually inflate in the microwave; pre-peeled bananas; tartare control peas? Come back pot noodle, all is forgiven.