Friday, December 31, 2010

Keep your hands off their pigs!

I am a - hmmm - what should I call it? A semi-amateur genealogist. Well, actually, I am a victim of the genealogy bug, a disease... it is addictive. I don't even want to mention how much I have spent buying out of print books that contained one obscure fact or another on my (however many greats) grandparents.

Although I had a minor brush with the bug before, I really caught it when I saw a copy of the Castello Map of 1660. The map had identifiable houses denoted on it in New Amsterdam, what we now know as New York City. When I found that a number of these people were grandparents (with varying numbers of "greats" affixed), I became chronically infected.

One of these families was Hans Dreper (or Dreeper) and his wife, Marritie Pieters, who had a house and tavern on the corner of Here Gracht and Stadt Huys Laan. These two were quite the characters, and apparently (given the records I found), were a wee bit attached to their pigs...

It seems that in 1600s New Amsterdam, it was necessary to mark your pigs, as pigs ran around town and ate the trash... an old fashioned garbage disposal if you will (and unlike municipal removal today, rarely went on strike). Hans and Marritie duly marked their pigs as even with only a few hundred families, being able to tell whose was whose could be important.

Grietie Dircks went to Court on 20 May 1658 stating that she bought a young pig from Jacob Wolfersen for six guilders, but that Merritje Dreper claimed ownership of the pig. Merritje responded that it was her pig and that she marked it. Hans brought two witnesses to court, with the result that the Court ordered that Hans was to keep the hog and that Grietie Dircks was to “look to whomsoever she bought the hog from” for restitution. As an isolated incident, this doesn't really raise any suspicions, but it seemed to be a pattern. On 20th August, there was another piggy dispute. Barent Gerrisens wife bought a hog from Madaleen van Couwenhoven. However, it seems perhaps the pig wasn't Couwenhoven's to sell. Rather, the pig belonged to Hans Dreper, who took it back and kept it (is this sounding familiar?)... .i Although one never knows, it appears that Hans and Marrije had quite a little pig scam going on... which brings me to... my favorite pork roast recipe!

Pork Tenderloin with Lime & Cilantro
1 ½ pounds pork tenderloin
½ cup jalapeno cheese (or pepper jack)
½ cup pine nuts, toasted
4 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
¾ cup chopped scallions, tops included
1 bunch cilantro
1 jalapeno pepper
6 tablespoons fresh lime juice
6 tablespoons olive oil

Cut tenderloin in half, almost through. Put between two pieces of cooking parchment or waxed paper and pound (I use a heavy can) to make it as even a thickness as you can. Lay out in flat glass (non-reactive) dish. Marinate pork in marinate of choice – white wine, garlic and olive oil is simple – try to marinate over night.

Whiz together garlic, ginger, scallion, cilantro, jalapeno pepper, lime juice & oil. Schmear pesto inside – sprinkle with cheese and pine nuts. Roll and tie to keep in shape (this part is easier with two people). Schmear with more pesto, then cheese and nuts.

Bake in preheated 425 ° oven about 25 minutes. Let sit 20 minutes before cutting. Serves 4+ (great served a room temperature too)

iRecords of New Amsterdam from 1653-1674, by New York (N.Y.). Burgomasters and Schepens, 1658, page 6 - 7, 152, 338, 344, 351, 384, 391. Dreper's home & tavern location identified in Stokes Iconography (summary of properties on the Castello Map)

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