Happy Pig Face Day!
That's right- PIG FACE DAY.
It's one of my favorite feasts featured in our book, A Thyme and Place. You'd think this holiday was in celebration of someone unfortunate looking, but no. In the Cotswolds village of Avening, England, this day is all about pork! And it all began with Queen Matilda, the wife of William the Conquerer.
In 1080 Queen Matilda of Flanders consecrated the Church of the Holy Cross at Avening, the only church ever to receive commissioning by a Queen of England. The Queen did not commission this church out of the goodness of her heart, far from it. For you see, in 1050, the young, unmarried Matilda had fallen in love with Brictric, Saxon Lord of Avening; however, he failed to return his love to her. In a rage (ahem... temper tantrum), Matilda threw Brictric into a dungeon in Worcester, where he died. There were rumors that his death was not of natural causes; instead, it appears he was poisoned. That was one angry woman. Overcome by guilt (some 30 years later), she commissioned the church and rewarded the workers with money for a feast and a giant pig's head. The village celebrated the event with a feast fit for the Queen, which included parading the pig's head on a large platter down the aisle of the church Matilda commissioned.
Pig Face Day is still celebrated in the Cotswolds village of Avening on September 14. At the event, pork dishes are consumed, and a great big pig head is still paraded through the church.
I crafted a recipe for this feast: Wee Matilda's Big Pig Out (Pork balls in sage creme).