Greg Hahn, journalist for the University of New York, is the Director of Communications and Marketing at the University of Boise, where he arrived after years of working for the public TV in that State.
He wrote an article on the Boise Weekly website called “Essay: Blood Relations. On Love and Basque Sausage.” But we have not mentioned the most important fact of his resume; he is married to a Basque. A US Basque, but a Basque nonetheless. The essence of being Basque is something that is not changed by distance from the land of origin, or by the influences of other cultures or lifestyles.
His essay is gorgeous. It tells us how he saw the first picture of his future wife stuck on the refrigerator of her apartment. The picture showed his future wife with her arms submerged in a bucket of blood up to her elbows. She was participating in the preparation of mortzilla (black pudding), during a pork slaughter.
Gastronomy and love (or is it vice versa?) create blood ties. The ties are even stronger if they are related to black pudding, chorizo, or any other product derived from a txarriboda –literally, a ‘pig wedding’– (that´s why it´s named like that!). This moment inevitably led Greg Hahn to accompany his wife and family with the pig slaughter work to the center of California. He did not know it then, but his fate was written on the door of a refrigerator, in blood.
It is clear that the author of the article has fallen in love with the Basque cuisine, at least with the part of it that is related to the pork. It is a deep and intense love that has even led him to turn the preparation of chorizo into a kind of community event, which helps improve relations, and possibly even feeds new loves.
Do not forget to read his essay on the blood and the Basques. Nothing is wasted (such as with pork).
No se pierdan su ensayo sobre la sangre y los vascos. No tiene desperdicio (como el cerdo).
Boise Weekly – 174/2015 – USA
Essay: Blood Relations. On love and Basque sausage
In the first photograph I ever saw of the woman who would become my wife, she was grinning ear to ear with her arm elbow-deep in a bowl of blood. She was making mortzilla—a traditional Basque sausage that takes advantage of a high-protein, low-carbohydrate part of every animal that more squeamish cultures simply allow to run down the drain at the slaughterhouse. Not to get too graphic, but as blood cools, it tends to clot. The traditional way to prevent this is to stir it with your hands in a bowl of ice water.