Arriving home, I found Mrs Hedges in armed combat with the carcass of a pig. Razor-sharp knives, hacksaws and choppers lay beside the great pink corpse. The head was already being roasted in the oven to eventually be turned into rillettes, and the rest was being cut into joints or being prepared for sausages. It’s said that you can eat every part of a pig except its squeak, and that theory was certainly being put to the test.
The pig had arrived courtesy of a deal with a local farmer who uses the whey that’s left over from my wife’s Tunworth cheese production. Pigs fed on whey are reputed to make the sweetest and most delicious pork.
With several pigs now appearing each year for dismembering, Mrs Hedges went to the wonderful cookery school Thyme at Southrop in Gloucestershire (www.thymeatsouthrop.co.uk), where she learned the fine arts of charcuterie.
To start with, however, we have concentrated on sausages, under the tutelage of Colin, the gamekeeper. Making sausages is tremendous fun-you can invent recipes as you go along, adding whatever you desire. Everyone created a bespoke banger; the competition to decide who made the best is still dividing the family.