From its beginnings in pre-conquest Quebec, when pigs from Europe were first introduced to Canada, to the present day, when “put pork on your fork” rivals “Je me souviens” as a national imperative, the Canadian pig industry has basically been a struggle between recalcitrant nature and hungry men and women. The photograph of pigs that accompanies Piggy in Country Breezes from Breezy Brae and the cross section of a pig in Adelaide Hollingsworth’s Columbia Cook Book (Chicago: Columbia Publishing, 1892), 269 give an idea of how Mrs. Buchanan saw the subject of her poem.

Buchanan's pigs (L-R): Isabella; Duncan; Chuck; Archie; and Binky. The naming of pigs and animals intended to be eaten was a major point of contention among Southern Ontario barnyard theorists around the turn of the century. The League of Canadian Pig Poets, of which Buchanan was a charter member, advocated naming pigs in order that, as the League's 1919 press release states, "slaughter be tempered with the Adamic virtue of naming what's going in your mouth."

  1. Leg, used for smoked hams, roasts, etc.
  2. Hind-loin, for roasts, chops, baked dishes, and other delights.
  3. Fore-loin, for roasts, baked dishes, and chops.
  4. Spare-rib, used for roasts, chops, etc.
  5. Shoulder, used for smoked shoulder, corned pork, and smoked bacon.
  6. Brisket and flank, for pickling in salt, and smoked bacon.

The cheek is usually used for pickling in salt, also the shank or shin. The feet are usually used for souse and jelly. The tail may be boiled or roasted as well. The skin may be deep-fried, although we suggest taht the hair be removed first. The pizzle is generally considered to be too tough for good eating; however, once dried and cured, its unusual corkscrew shape makes it a fascinating, if somewhat vulgar, conversation piece, with the added virtue that its pronounced length has a humbling effect on male pigs of the two-legged variety.