Pig pickins have been happening in my dad's family for generations. There is a story floating around about the first time my mom came to a pig pickin' at my dad's uncle's house in the small town of St. Stephens. To calm her nerves on being 'new' (they had just started dating) and having to meet dozens of distant cousins, aunts, uncles, neighbors, neighbors' daughter's hair dresser's sons who just also happen to be married to grandma's grocer's niece...you get the idea...she was in line for a buffet smorgasbord of good southern cooking and when she got to the pig that dad's Uncle Milton was doling out to everyone, he plopped the snout right on her plate for a good laugh. True to her character, the surprise of it scared her to death, and she screamed and dropped her food on the ground. Good thing she can take a joke!
But minus the snout, that's what pig pickins are. It's family and friends getting together. It's several grandmas from distant families in the kitchen to make the macaroni and cheese, to cook down the fat back and use it to flavor just about everything...including the vegetables. It's standing around a hot smoker pulling pork and telling stories in the best smelling cloud of vinegar bbq sauce steam. It's learning a time honored tradition that takes you away from the suburbs for a while and brings you back to your roots. If you ever have the chance to go to a real one, GO! Just watch out for snouts.