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Not Your Mothers Pork Rinds

Pork rinds in bags, from the central United States
Image via Wikipedia

It immediately caught my eye on the menu. PORK RINDS. This was the first time that I have seen the deep-fried crispy critters featured on a menu. But this was not any menu. This was the menu at Brooklyn Bowl, my favorite bowling alley/bar/restaurant/ dance club in Williamsburg. 

The Pork Rinds of my yore were sold at Bodegas, usually by the brand UTZ, featuring the little pig in the chef hat logo across the top of the hermetically sealed bags. These puffed bags were filled with greasy, amorphous, fried pork skins and were usually “flavored” with some strange pseudo BBQ flavor or chili spice. 

Interestingly, Pork Rinds or fried pork skins are a very popular dish around the world. In the United Kingdom, pork rinds are known as Pork Scratching or Pork cracklings and are often served hot and as part of a meal. 

In Canada, they are called Scrunchions, and are often used as flavoring over other foods. 

In Quebec, they are called “Oreilles de Christ (Christ Ears) and are often eaten as part of the cabane de sucre meals. 

In Latin America, these fried pork skins are called Chicharrones and are either eaten alone or accompanied with soups or stews. 

In France they are called Grattons and  are the perfect complement for slow cooked stews and soups 

In China, fried pork skins are believed to hold special medical properties and are thought to be good for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular systems. They are also thought to be very moisturizing for the skin. (Who knew???) 

Had I known that the lowly Pork Rind had such an illustrious world-wide following I would have ordered 2 of these yummy appetizers. These pork rinds came out on a bed of chopped parsley, thinly sliced green peppers, toasted jalapeno slices and a nice sprinkling of shredded queso blanco. Thick wedges of lime on the side are meant to be squeezed over this “fried pork skin salad” or, as in my case, to be nibbled on to cool the temperature of my mouth after eating the jalapenos. 

I was very strict about my food and drink consumption at Brooklyn Bowl. The last time I came her, before I was officially on the  I LOVE FOOD DIET, I ended up packing on the pounds. This time, I  knew better and I avoided the heavenly and buttery mashed potatoes, the creamy, rich mac and cheese and the super crunchy fried chicken. I limited my consumption to the deep-fried pork rinds (no carbs!) a bunless chili burger and a couple of beers. I did have one or two Margaritas and a few tequila shots but only because the Manager had sent over them for free. 

Actually we were sent a few pitchers of Margaritas over to our table/alley as I was friends, of a friend, of a friend of the Manager of the famous eatery/bowling alley.  After the 2nd pitcher of Strawberry Margaritas sat on the table untouched, (full of sugar and carbs!), some of us were debating whether we could ask that the next pitcher of booze be something less sweet and with less carbs. Not wanting to look a “Gift Horse in the Mouth” and perhaps insult our extremely sweet and generous benefactor we opted to say nothing and simply thanked our very lovely host. 

You see, my friend of a friend of a friend were sort of high school sweethearts and I think that he still thinks of us in that era. I am convinced that he equates us to how we were back in those days – underage and sneaking drinks like Strawberry Margaritas and Wine Coolers. We all drink the tequila shots (no carbs!) although I did end up adding my Silver Patron shot into a Margarita as I never could master the art of “shooting” down tequila.  

We ended up wasting most of the Strawberry Margaritas, but you know what I always say. “It’s not a waste if it ends up on your waist”. 

Chow for now! 

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