Mexican chicharrones are air-dried and deep-fried pieces of pork skin – pork scratchings to you and me. Made well they are light and crunchy and quite delicious. In Mexico they are a hugely popular street food nibble and sold in tall stacks in markets. As well as snack to eat any time of the day–especially with a cold beer– they are often included in Mexican meals, such as avocado salads, bean dishes and sauces. Some recipes call for grinding the chicharrones which can then be added to corn meal canapés, or sprinkled on top of soups and guacamole.
If the thought of consuming large quantities of pork scratchings makes you a little queasy, it is possible to think that chicharrones are actually a sustainable outcome of livestock rearing. This is especially true of small Mexican villages, where the slaughtering of pigs is an eagerly anticipated community event. Many travellers tell of the excitement and chaos of these events but always recall how the animal is revered and celebrated. The village butchers process every part of the pig, ensuring nothing goes to waste – including the the skin, of course.