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Much ado about a pig

26 June 2016 by Hazel

Why the photo of the pig inadvertently became the most significant thing we’ve ever shared on Mad About Copenhagen.

The Amazing Pig Out at Amass Restaurant, Refshaløen, hosted by ODC Mad, Mad About Copenhagen
The Amazing Pig Out at Amass Restaurant, Refshaløen, hosted by ODC Mad, madaboutcopenhagen

Last Sunday we attended The Amazing Pig Out — an event held annually in the beautiful garden of Amass Restaurant, where some of the world’s leading chefs on sustainability prepare food using all the different parts of the pig. (The pig, by the way, was raised on Knuthenland Organic Farm.)

Prior to, I posted an update about the event on our Instagram. It caused quite a stir.

Instagram post The Amazing Pig Out 2016 at Amass Restaurant, Refshaløen, hosted by ODC Mad, madaboutcopenhagen

Given the good intentions of The Amazing Pig Out, the reaction on social media was surprising to say the least.

The reaction

If you eat meat and you were shocked to see this photo on Instagram, it’s about time you either acknowledge what your food looks like, or stop eating meat altogether.

If you don’t eat meat, and you were shocked by the photo, why have you been following @madaboutcopenhagen all this time without complaint, as we filled your feed with pretty photos of burgers and hotdogs?

If you support a world where less animals are brought into the world for the purpose of our meat industry, you should have been glad to see this post on Instagram, rather than the usual “checkout this hotdog” post that does a lot more to encourage the thoughtless consumption of meat than this photo of a pig.

Instagram and ignorance (instagrance?)

Perhaps how we use Instagram is somewhat to blame. It’s a platform notorious for la belle vie, instant beauty and endless <3’s. We feel safe on Instagram — disconnected as we are from the world where animals turn into food.

PRETTIFY; pret•ti•fy /ˈprɪt̬.ə.faɪ/ v. [~ + object],-fied, -fy•ing. to minimise or gloss over (something unpleasant), eg. “to prettify his rude behaviour.”

I’m the guiltiest of the gang when it comes to prettifying on Instagram, both my personal account and @madaboutcopenhagen. I enjoy curating the beautiful glimpses of my life, and the food scene in Copenhagen. There’s nothing wrong with that, but there’s something fundamentally wrong with becoming so accustomed to this perspective, that we can’t handle reality when it strikes.

A better world

Regardless of my own dietary preferences, I’ve never promoted any one lifestyle over another, be it vegan, meat, street food or fine dining. I only want to build a community that is curious and open to new food experiences. But seeing some of the comments on this photo, I know that there’s one attitude I don’t want to promote or encourage, and that’s ignorance.

The people I respect most in Copenhagen are those who are doing their bit to make a better world. To namedrop a few - Bror, Relæ, Rub & Stub, Baglokalet, Byhøst and Beyond Coffee. They are all wonderful places to eat (or grow mushrooms) but that’s beside the point — what they do really contributes in a positive way to our environment and society.

Food for thought

So what happens now? Is the next burger I recommend going to be a picture of a dead cow, surrounded by muddy potatoes for fries? Probably not. But don’t rule out the possibility.

For me this is about storytelling — creating a more meaningful connection than just that of food to consumer — whether the story is about how a pig was slaughtered or how an ice cream shop can exist without a single freezer. Because the more we know about what we eat, the more we value not only the taste and aesthetic of our food, but its’ history, process and contribution to the world.