Pickled Pigs Feet… Dad’s Favorite



There are so many stories of the Christmas Eve dinner, La Vigilia, that I need not re-do what has been written so often. But this is one that may be a little different.

My Dad was one who tried many things when he went to a restaurant. I thought it was something he acquired as he got older, but as I think of the Christmas Eve dinner, I remember his most ardent request at that time… pickled pigs feet. It was his only time and only chance to have them.
Yes, my Dad loved pickled pigs feet and the only time my Mom would tolerate it was at Christmas. So she bought them.
“Peter. You know it’s not fish.”

“Of course I do, Anna. But I love them. And they are close to fish because they’re white. You know… La Vigilia in bianco.”

“Oh, get off,” she replied… and complied.
Off he went to a corner of the kitchen, sat with a mopine in his lap, opened the jar and pulled out the feet one at a time. He devoured his delicacy before the others arrived. Delicacy?
I could not even look at him as he ate these white things with toes and maybe a little hair.

My grandmother weighed in. “Livva him alone. Let him hav-a whatta he wanza.”
And we did. He tried. And he savored.

Off we went to the dining room for La Vigilia, Dad just a few bites behind.
© 2016

By | 2017-07-10T16:10:06+00:00 December 12th, 2016|Food|31 Comments


  1. Al Apicelli December 15, 2014 at 4:24 pm - Reply

    My dad loved them too.

    • Ed December 21, 2014 at 11:34 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Al

  2. Karen Chapman December 15, 2014 at 6:19 pm - Reply

    Well, that particular dish is one of my favorites and as a matter of fact, I partook on Saturday! Today however there is only one foot in the jar because farmers are feeding the pigs longer. Kepp these stories coming!

  3. Ed Iannuccilli December 15, 2014 at 7:56 pm - Reply

    Thank you, Karen. Why am I not surprised that someone who ate kangaroo would love pickled pigs feet?

  4. Richard DiMase December 15, 2014 at 8:56 pm - Reply


    This story brings back memories of my Dad as well who, like your Dad, liked to eat pigs feet. I just don’t remember if was at Christmas or whenever my Mom would get them for him. Thanks for writings, they bring back those more simple times in our lives.


    • Ed December 16, 2014 at 1:25 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Rich. I am so pleased to rekindle memories of your Dad… such a fine man. Merry Christmas and Happy New year.
      But I still don’t get the pigs feet…no way…

  5. Diane Dates December 15, 2014 at 11:29 pm - Reply

    I agree with you Karen. It’s a very popular dish in Tobago. Every party has a little kiosque where they sell pickled pigs feet or chicken feet. They call it sauce (pronounced sowss)

  6. Ed Iannuccilli December 16, 2014 at 9:48 pm - Reply

    It’s off to Tobago for me, but not for the feet.

  7. June CHampagne December 15, 2015 at 11:27 pm - Reply

    My dad loved “pig’s feet”, and as much as my dad liked them my mom loathed them! She actually would go to my grandmothers next door for tea just so she didn’t have to be in these same room with them. I remember they came in a glass jars, she even separated them from the rest of the can goods!!

    • Ed December 16, 2015 at 3:34 am - Reply

      Quite the same in our family, June.
      Merry Christmas.

  8. Tony Kubica December 12, 2016 at 2:13 pm - Reply

    My grandmother made them. It was also popular with Slovak families. Me, I would have none of it. I went for the potato and cheese filled pierogis.

    • Ed December 12, 2016 at 3:24 pm - Reply

      I’m with you. By the way, Diane and I went to a great Polish restaurant in Fall River; Patti’s Pierogis. Delicious!

  9. Mara McErlean December 12, 2016 at 3:04 pm - Reply

    My father loved them, but knew never to bring them into the house. Years later, when I was tasked with teaching medical students how to suture, we would buy pigs’ feet for practice. I soon learned not to buy the store out of their entire supply since people wanted them for food and to flavor sauces and they weren’t easy to get anymore!

    • Ed December 12, 2016 at 3:20 pm - Reply

      Love it. An edible teaching tool.

  10. Jack Craven December 12, 2016 at 3:32 pm - Reply

    Ed, my father would have them every Saturday. Ugh. We would all go into the living room until he finished the pigs feet. Just the looks of them made us sick. Then he would start on the pickled eggs. The house would stink to the high heavens. He would just laugh at us. Lol. Good old Silver Lake..

    • Ed December 12, 2016 at 3:54 pm - Reply

      Amazing to me how many people liked pigs feet. My guess is that it came from years ago, tough times perhaps, when people ate everything on the pig. Ugh indeed.

  11. Ed December 12, 2016 at 4:35 pm - Reply

    Were our fathers the last to enjoy pigs feet?

  12. frank joly December 12, 2016 at 5:12 pm - Reply

    Dr. Ed, to answer your question, no, I also have the pigs feet craving acquired from my Father and Grandfather ( Canucks). Pigs hocks are also high on my snack list.
    Thanks for rattling these memories from the past.

    • Ed December 12, 2016 at 6:06 pm - Reply

      Thank you, Frank. Good luck with the feet and the hocks. You can have all mine and enjoy a Merry Christmas.

  13. Linda Fogell Kozack December 12, 2016 at 6:22 pm - Reply

    My mom loved these also. She was Irish and grew up poor. So I’m wondering if it was a cheap meal back in the day. No one else in the family liked these at all. However I enjoyed the tripe she served on occasion.

    • Ed December 12, 2016 at 7:43 pm - Reply

      Yes, it was inexpensive. I cannot even handle the tripe!

  14. Karen Famiglietti December 12, 2016 at 7:35 pm - Reply

    Oh Ed! This is a complete throw back to Sunday dinners at my Babciu’s (grandmother’s) house where the wonderful cooking aromas would greet us at the front door. Pierogis, galumkis, kapusta soup, pigs feet . . . Wait a minute!! Did someone say pigs feet???? My dad would nosh on them right down to the bones!!! Ick is an understatement but Babciu always made sure Dad had them – along with more edible items for the rest of us!!

    • Ed December 12, 2016 at 7:42 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Karen. Pleased I jogged your memories. But…pig’s feet???

  15. Ann G. Boulet December 12, 2016 at 7:39 pm - Reply

    Looking at that picture, I can’t believe I ate pickled pigs’ feet when I was a child. Also ate pigs’ tails cooked in gravy (aka tomato sauce)!!!! What was I thinking?!?!?!?!?

    • Ed December 12, 2016 at 7:41 pm - Reply

      Gad, I agree. What were you thinking?

  16. Edward Wilson December 12, 2016 at 8:05 pm - Reply

    My father also loved Pickled Pigs Feet and when I was younger, he would give some to me and I actually enjoyed them. He also liked Ox Tail soup and something called Head Cheese which is not actual cheese, but something made from the head of a Pig (I know kind of gross). On another note My wife’s father use to eat Pickled lambs tongue. Hopefully this is not grossing any one out, but people still eat a lot of things that most of think of as kind of gross.

    • Ed December 12, 2016 at 8:19 pm - Reply

      Oh boy, lucky you, I guess.

  17. Mary Ann Coletti December 13, 2016 at 12:33 am - Reply

    As a new bride one of the first things my husband requested (actually the only thing) was pigs feet. My family, as far as I knew, never ate them and I never even saw one. I did not even know what they were. When he explained them to me, I was horrified. Image, eating pigs feet! Ugh! Found them in the market and was disgusted by their looks. My husband ate them with vim and vigor. Like you I could not watch him while he ate.

    • Ed December 13, 2016 at 2:20 pm - Reply

      I’m with you, Mary Ann. Who, I might ask, requests pig’s feet these days?

  18. Barbara Bordieri Spiezio December 13, 2016 at 2:40 am - Reply

    Just the other day I was telling a friend that when I was a kid, I loved pickled-pigs-feet. I haven’t eaten them in years, but as I was growing up they were a treat I savored. They were a staple in our pantry sitting on the shelf in their Horrnel jar by the olives and pickles that my mom could pull out to serve with the hams and cheeses for those Sunday-evening-visitors who stopped by. What amazes me is how did I get tempted to try them? I was a picky eater in those days. I did love salty, vinegary foods and another favorite food was raw clams with Tabasco and lemon juice – but pickled-pigs-feet!! I’m going to look for them the next time I shop and maybe I’ll try them again just to see if my tastes have changed. Another absolute favorite of mine that was on our table every Christmas Eve was stockfish broiled and made into a salad with oil, lemon, parsley and hot pepper. Stockfish is similar to baccala. It’s a dried rather than salted cod that has to soak for days and has a nasty smell but a glorious taste. I wonder what tempted me to try these foods?

    • Ed December 13, 2016 at 2:19 pm - Reply

      Quite an adventuresome lass you were, Barbara. You have tastes that I never developed and now wish I had. Too old to try?

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