Tag Archives: roast

The Roast

The informant recounted the legend on Easter in the context of telling family stories. She acknowledges that it isn’t specifically tied to her family but could be from anyone’s family.

A mother is teaching her daughter how to cook a ham, and when she cuts the end off, and puts it aside, and puts the ham in the oven and bakes it. [The informant mimes these actions as she tells the story.]

And the daughter says: ‘Why did you do that?’

And she says: ‘Oh, I don’t know, because my mother did.’

So, the daughter goes to the grandma and she says: ‘Grandma, why did you do that?’

And she says: ‘I don’t know, because my mother did.’

And so, she goes to the great-grandma and she says: ‘Grandma, why did you do that?’

And she says: ‘Cuz I had a small pan!’

[Everyone at the table chuckles.]

Me: And when would you tell that story?

Informant: To your granddaughter? I don’t know. When you’re eating ham? [laughs] When someone asks “why?”.



This exists both as a general funny story to tell to the family but also as a piece of meta-folklore explaining how traditions come to be. It also follows the rule of three from Olrik’s epic laws. The daughter has to ask three mothers to get her answer about the tradition.

Pig recipe

German, Irish

French, English

19, student

Evanston, Il

25 April 2011

Roast pig recipe






Every year at one Northwester tailgate, Zach’s Dad has a pig roast and it is an incredible experience. The recipe is a family treasure, and is passed down only in death. Zach likes the pig roasts because his family and friends unite around the table for s “drunken pre-game fiesta” and they gorge themselves on the pork. The recipe is simple and to the point and yet the taste is amazing. Zach tenderly describes the crunch of the skin and the succulent fat.

This recipe, while seriously lacking, is how Zach sees his pig roasts. The ingredients are simple but the tradition is sacred. Everyone gathers around, Zach’s dad is at his rightful place tending the barbeque, and they eagerly watch the pig turn on the spit. This is a folk recipe and a folk custom because it happens in many cultures before games or to celebrate special occasions. The recipe has been handed down and this joke recipe is the answer Zach’s family always gives when people ask for the secret. In other circles, the way the pig gets roasted varies but this recipe is a tradition that Zach’s family will not part with.

Tim Perille


1027 W. 34th St. Los Angele CA