This is a new one on me. I know people love their pig. Give them bacon, pork chops, sausage and bellies but I didn't know pig feet were quite so beloved. But I know now. I did a piece on the wonderful Taste Harlem Food Tour for Relish Magazine and it came out last week. I wrote the article on the details of the three-hour, high energy tour which serves up heaping doses of Harlem food and culture in the form of soul food dishes, Dominican delicacies and Senegalese samplings. In between the food, owner Jackie Orange illustrates with historical tidbits and cultural facts. Well, the story was severely edited, focusing on Jackie's favorite Harlem food fact, which happens to be Pig Foot Mary.
A legendary Harlem figure, Pig Foot Mary's real name was Lillian Harris and she migrated from the Mississippi Delta to New York in 1901. She sold pig feet from an old baby buggy to Southern -born Harlemnites until she had acquired enough money to amass a fortune in New York and California real estate. By the time of her death in 1928, she had real estate holdings worth $375,000. It seems that that little mention has unleashed a longing for pig feet from all over the country. Jackie has been fielding calls from radio show hosts wanting to discuss the particulars of pig feet, people wanting to know how many pig feet dishes her tour features and Southerners wanting to know how different New York pig feet are from theirs. Now, Jackie is considering creating a tour specifically to serve this lust for pig feet. Who knew pig feet were so darn popular?