Happy National Pigs in a Blanket Day! Join us as we celebrate meat wrapped in pastries on this important holiday. Today we’re celebrating with friend, comedian and pigs in a blanket enthusiast Cody Skinner (Twitter: @codyskinnerfan)! Let’s party!

Show Notes

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History + fun facts about the holiday

  • Whatnationaldayisit.com first detected Pigs in a Blanket Day on 4/24 of 2015
  • Wikipedia: PiaB is a variety of different sausage-based foods in the UK, US, Denmark, Republic of Ireland, Germany, Belgium, Russia, Canada, and Japan.
    • The sausage center varies depending on geographic location. Geography also dominates the form of the ‘blanket,’ with bacon being the most common choice in the UK, pastry in the US
    • Often accompanied by a mustard or aioli dipping sauce
    • “Pigs in a blanket” functions as both the singular and plural for the food. To match speakers’ and listeners’ notions formed by other experience with the English language, sometimes a single roll is found to be referred to as a “pig in a blanket” or the plural occurs as “pigs in blankets”
    • PiaB are different from sausage rolls, which consist of sausage meat wrapped in flaky pastry, and mainly eaten in the UK, Australia, Canada, and NZ as a lunchtime snack
  • In the US, PiaB typically refer to hot dogs in croissant rolls, but may include Vienna sausages, cocktail, or breakfast/link sausages baked inside biscuit dough or croissant dough. The dough is sometimes handmade, but canned dough is most common. Pancake dough is also sometimes used, although this combination is more commonly served like a corn dog and sold as a pancake on a stick (shoutout to Myles for making me double check my research)
  • PiaB are also known as devils on horseback, kilted sausages, wiener winks, franks in a blanket, and franks in blanks
  • From National Today: “Thank Betty Crocker, whose cookbooks decorated every post-war kitchen, for first exposing you impressionable minds to this culinary delight. In 1957 she published Betty Crocker’s Cooking for Kids, with the first simple recipe for the taste treat, and the rest is history!”
  • From mobile-cuisine.com “Did You Know” fun facts on Pigs in a Blanket
    • The first written record of PiaB does indeed occur in Betty Crocker’s Cooking for Kids in 1957
      • (“making them the same age as Daniel Day-Lewis–and just as tasty too!”)–Charlotte Long, “The history of everything on your Christmas dinner plate,” metro.co.uk
    • They are typically small in size and can be eaten in one or two bites, and usually served as appetizers or hors d’oeuvre
    • In the UK, PiaB are small sausages, or chipolatas wrapped in bacon
    • PiaB are usually different from sausage rolls, which are a larger, more filling item served for breakfast and lunch in parts of Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and occasionally the US and Canada
  • In 2006, PiaB apparently made a comeback in the world of catering. From the nytimes article “The Kings of the Cocktail Hour Once Again,” Sean Driscoll, owner of Manhattan catering company Glorious Food, claimed, “They’re back with a vengeance!”
    • Apparently they were disparaged as a cliche for a while, but in the mid-aughts were a must-have at black-tie events
    • In fact, Dufour Pastry Kitchens, which, at the time of publication, had been in business for 21 years, added PiaB to their line of frozen hors d’oeuvres in all-butter puff pastry. This marks the first time they’d ever used meat products
    • “They’re acceptable guilt food,” Driscoll said. “They’re not like buying a hot dog from a street vendor, and besides, the pastry is a good blotter for alcohol.”
  • According to foodimentary.com, PiaB may be as old as the 1600s. English field labourers had essentially the same dish, as putting meat inside of dough was an obvious solution for a quick and nourishing meal on the go
    • Other legends attribute its creation to the far east, claiming Asian cultures put fish in a similar roll. The legend claims that Americans copied the dish with hot dogs and biscuits later on
      • Researching this particular claim (via Google search phrase “pigs in a blanket started in Asia”) lead me to the article, “Pigs in blankets: the Taiwanese woman and her four porky housemates” -South China Morning Post, February 1, 2019
        • A woman named Jenny Tsai lives with “one fellow human and four pampered porcine housemates”
        • Choice quote: “Pigs are very affectionate. When I am sick they stay by my side and keep me company. But you can’t pretend to be sick or they’ll find out and wreak havoc.”
        • The pigs stay in the biggest room in her flat, while she and her flatmate occupy the tiny bedrooms to the side
        • Each pig has its own blanket, clothes, bowl, and leash, while the home is festooned with pig-themed figurines, cushions, and paintings, as well as bowls and cooking pots
        • This article appeared in the print edition as: It’s always year of the pig in this Taiwan flat (2019 is the year of the pig, fyi)
  • Fun facts about pigs! From realpigfarming.com, sciencemag.org
    • Pigs were the first animals to be domesticated: the first book on pig farming was written by Chinese Emperor Fo Hi in 3468 BC, but pigs were likely domesticated about 6000-9000 years ago
    • The first pigs came to America in 1539 with spanish explorer Hernando de Soto
    • Bacon is one of the world’s oldest meats, dating back to 1500 BC
    • The phrase “bring home the bacon” allegedly originated during the 12th century when a church in England offered a side of bacon to any man who could swear before the church that he had not had a fight with his wife for a year. Any man that could bring home the bacon was then highly respected within the community
    • Over 2 billion lbs of bacon are produced annually in the US
    • There were dinosaur pigs. Enteledonts existed during the early Miocene period, around 16.3 million years ago. Sometimes they’re called terminator pigs or hell pigs in pop culture because they would have weighed around 1000 lbs, stood up to 7 ft tall at the shoulder and had multiple sets of teeth. Thought to have been an apex predator, and one of the top predators in the area around the American Badlands (South Dakota)
    • Pigs are warriors. They were reported to be used in ancient warfare tactics. Alexander the Great reportedly used pigs as a counter attack to elephants, since elephants were terrified of a pig’s loud squeals. They’ve also been used for their keen sense of smell to source out buried landmines in more modern wars
      • Truffle hogs, doing the same but for truffles obv
    • Pigs are louder than jet engines–they can scream up to 130 decibels vs 120 for jet engines vs 80 for diesel engines
    • Pigs can run a 7 minute mile, topping out around 11 mph
    • Pigs are the brains of the barnyard: Winston Churchill once said, “I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treats us as equals.” They rank third behind apes and dolphins in terms of intelligence, and are the quickest to learn a routine or trick!
    • Pigs don’t “sweat like pigs.” Pigs actually don’t have sweat glands, and will roll in mud to keep cool.
    • Pigs are omnivores. They are gorge feeders, and will forage until they’re stuffed, if left to their own devices. They’re indiscriminate eaters, eating both meat and forage combined.
    • Pigs keep their room clean, and will self-potty train in a barn or nature. In open pen gestation, they establish a community toilet for the group
    • Pigs gestation length is the rule of 3: three months, three weeks, three days, for a total of 114 days. Globally, the average litter size is 6-10, with 1.5 litters/year. In the US, litters average more than 13 piglets, due to improvements in genetics, nutrition, and herd health
    • Pigs have below average eyesights, but powerful noses
    • Pigs aren’t just for bacon! They also contribute many other by-products to the market, such as gelatin which makes marshmallows or hair for high quality paint brushes (gummy bears, too, I learned from my vegan friends). Due to a shortage of pork after WWII, the country of Australia found themselves out of paintbrushes to paint houses. As a result, they had to import over 40K lbs of pig hair
    • Pigs can save human lives. Porcine heart valves are commonly used in human patients who require valve replacements. Pigs may also one day provide a step in treating or curing diabetes because of the similarities between the human and porcine pancreases
    • Pork is the most consumed animal protein in the world. According to an 2015 account from pork.org, pork accounted for 40% of all animal meat protein consumed worldwide, compared to 34% poultry and 21% beef. China eats the most, with 90 lbs of pork per capita consumed annually
    • As we all know, pork tastes similar to people. Appropriately, “long pig” is an antiquated term for human flesh. It’s purportedly a translation from a phrase used by cannibals in the Pacific Islands
      • I learned this from the Wine & Crime podcast episode featuring cannibalism
    • One of Canada’s most prolific serial killers, pig farmer Robert Pickton, murdered somewhere in the ballpark of 6-49 women, and reportedly fed their remains to his pigs, or mixed it with the pork itself. It’s likely that the pork from those pigs was then sold to the public
      • Pickton’s crime spree lasted from 1983 until his arrest in 2002. If we’re to believe the New York Times timeline that PiaB were a catering cliche for at least 21 years prior to their comeback in 2006, I think it’s safe to say that at least our featured holiday topic was spared the black mark of being associated with such atrocities, and the requisite moniker “long pigs in a blanket.” Other than a potential 2 year span from 1983-1985

Activities to celebrate

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  • From National Today
    • Share your favorite recipe with a friend: Take a moment to call, or better yet–write a note–to the one you think of first when you think of eating pigs-in-a-blanket. Share a fun memory and the recipe. You’ll be glad you did
    • Throw a DIY party: Get all the ingredients together for all the different pigs-in-a-blanket recipes you can think of–hot dogs, savory sausage, breakfast links–even some vegetables like asparagus or baby carrots for your vegetarian friends. Then make pancakes and buy puff pastry, soft tacos, wonton wrappers, even a tub of biscuits–and invite your friends over to feast on pigs-in-a-blanket
    • Cultivate your sense of whimsy: Delight your SO with a candle-lit dinner. Set a fancy table and arrange some flowers, then surprise them with a main course of–you guessed it–pigs-in-a-blanket!
  • National Day Calendar: Share your version of Pigs-In-A-Blanket using #NationalPigBlanketDay on social media
    • Yes, this is a real hashtag. #NationalPigsInABlanketDay is also in use
  • NATIONAL PIGS IN A BLANKET DAY custom Spotify playlist 
    • Pigs (Three Different Ones) by Pink Floyd
    • Pigskin by Hollywood Undead
    • March of the Pigs by Nine Inch Nails
    • Pigs In Zen by Jane’s Addiction
    • Pigs in a Blanket by Holy Locust
    • Blankets by fantompower
    • Pull this Blanket Off by The Raconteurs
    • Wet Blanket by Metric
    • Hors D’oeuvre by Made in Heights
    • Appetizer by Freak Kitchen
    • Snack Break by Suburban Legends
    • Snacks by pig
    • Nails for Breakfast, Tacks for Snacks by Panic! At The Disco


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