A group of concerned vegetarians and animal-rights activists have been deeply upset by a recent gay club party flyer featuring a dead pig slung over the back of a photoshopped drag queen. Got all that? So, foodinistas will recognize the image as taken from the cover of chef April Bloomfield’s recent memoir/cookbook A Girl and Her Pig. The party, you see, is called Beatpig, and it takes place monthly at Powerhouse in SoMa, and hosts Juanita More and Walter Gomez are always trying to find new pig-themed imagery to use on its flyers. Photoshopping More’s face over Bloomfield’s, however, and making the flyer a parodic "romance novel" titled A Woman and Her Pigs, has not sat well with a number of More fans who received the invite, and a heated discussion has ensued accusing More and her graphic designer for "using a dead pig as a comedic prop" and taking "a callous approach to animal cruelty."
Also, several commenters made connections between society’s mistreatment of the LGBT community and human society’s mistreatment of animals, sparking quite a bit of passion on both sides. One commenter suggested that fans of the image should ask themselves, "What’s the difference between this and, say, a redneck holding a dead or beaten gay man over his shoulders?"
As of this writing, the post had generated over 175 comments, the final being, "In conclusion, dare I say, this is all SOOOO SAN FRAN!"
Juanita More, a foodie and chef herself, said that she of course has no ill will toward animals. "When I first saw the image from Bloomfield’s book, I thought ‘Damn, that’s pushy,’" More tells us. "As a chef who has spent over 30 years in the food industry I didn’t see anything offensive about the pun-intended take on it on our event poster. I do see, though, how others might be upset by it, and I send my apologies for any distress this might have caused."
And in putting the original image on the cover of her book, Bloomfield was not seeking to promote animal cruelty so much as she was looking to provoke a discussion about how we can both care for and eat animals at the same time. Also, it was her way of portraying herself as a badass female chef who can butcher and cook with the best of the boys. She told NPR, "I adore pigs, and I love eating them and cooking them, and I love using the whole animal." Her publisher did, however, decide to use a far tamer image for the UK version of the book.
The debate, of course, is one that is close to the hearts of many chefs these days who, while being omnivores, seek to open up the discussion of how we can raise, butcher, and utilize animals in the most humane and sustainable ways possible.
As you’ve likely heard by now, April Bloomfield and partner Ken Friedman are together taking over the famed Tosca Café in North Beach, and will be adding a (likely meat-heavy) tavern menu by summer.
Related: Tosca Taken Over By New York Chef April Bloomfield and Spotted Pig/Breslin Group
No Dead Piggies on April Bloomfield’s U.K. Book Cover
S.F. Drag Star Juanita MORE! Loves Herself Some Four Barrel, and Slanted Door