Tag Archives: food proverbs

If it ain’t pig, it ain’t BBQ

Background: The informant was born and raised in Western North Carolina. He has lived in North Carolina his whole life. The following phrase expresses a sentiment of North Carolinians surrounding a classic Southern dish: barbecue.

“If it ain’t pig, it ain’t BBQ”

I was told that for most people in North Carolina, barbecue is specifically pulled pork. It’s a very regional thing whereas other parts of the country also have barbecue, theirs is anything that’s cooked on a barbeque–could be tri tip, could be chicken, could be pulled pork, could be sausage. North Carolina also has a vinegar based barbeque sauce, where other places use mustard or ketchup based sauces.

Context of the performance: This was explained to me over FaceTime.

Thoughts: This short, fixed phrase states what is considered a truth among North Carolinians. It reveals a regional difference in a big part of the Southern culture–which is food. The phrasing suggests a binary view of barbecue that distinguishes region, and in North Carolina, you wouldn’t call something barbecue if it isn’t a form of pork, usually pulled pork. Barbecue seems to be a small way of forming an identity in North Carolina.

Spanish Proverb

estomago lleno, corazón contento

In English, this translates into “Full stomach, happy heart”.

The source learned this saying from his host family when he studied abroad in Spain. His host family was Cuban, so he’s not sure if this saying comes from Spain or Cuba.

This proverb reflects the Spanish culture’s deep appreciation for good food, and the importance of family. The fact the the host family taught this to him, to me means that they wanted to make him feel at home, and feel happy.