Pig's Feet, Pig's Trotters

Called “crubeens” in English, the hind feet of the pig are a culinary treat, pickled or braised, served cold or hot. They are traditional pub fare, and go very well with a pint of stout. The forefeet of the pig, however, are not nearly meaty enough to make good crubeens. In the Old Irish “Scéla Mucce Meic Dathó” (The Tale of Mac Dathó’s Pig), the warriors of Connacht and Ulster vie with each other for the right to carve the pig that Mac Dathó has set before them in his hostel. Conall Cernach, the Ulster hero, outboasts all comers and gets to divide the enormous pig, leaving the the Connachtmen only the forefeet. “Ba becc dano la Connachta a cuit,” says the text: “The Connachtmen considered their portion small.” A riot erupts in the hostel, and the tale ends in carnage.

“Crúibín” is the diminutive of “crúb”, which means the hoof or claw of any animal. It is derived from the Indo-European root *ger- (curving, crooked) and has cognates in Scottish Gaelic “crùb” (to sit, crouch, creep), Welsh “crwb” (hump, lump, hunchback), and English “crook, crimp, creep”.

2009-08-06 CPD