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Pork Rinds—Now With 0 Carbs!

6 September 2005

I spent the day working all day at the home of my friend and client Betsy. Midway through the afternoon, when we were feeling hungry, she offered me a pack of pork rinds as a snack. I’m not entirely certain she actually thought I’d accept, but I had earlier uttered my dictum that “it’s not a meal without something crispy,” and she had recently returned from a trip to North Carolina with a single-serving, half-ounce bag of Herr’s “Original” Pork Rinds. (If you know Betsy, you probably wouldn’t peg her as a pork rind kinda gal, but apparently she always tries to buy a unique local food product on her trips to new places, and pork rinds fit the bill for North Carolina.) I took her up on the offer though, cause I thought “well, it’s pork, it’s crunchy, how bad can it be?”

To my never-ending surprise, when I started to read the package, I discovered that pork rinds may actually be a new health food. There, emblazoned in a big orange starburst on the front of the bag was “0 grams Carbohydrates Per Serving.” The stats from the nutrition label were even more surprising. A half-ounce bag of pork rinds contains 5 grams of fat (about the same amount as a half-ounce of potato chips. Ok, of these 5 grams, 2 grams are saturated fats, but there are no sinister trans fats anywhere in your package of pork rinds, and half the total fat content is monounsaturated, the same kind that’s touted as healthy fat in olive oil. When I got home I did a little digging through a nutrition reference book, and discovered that by weight, pork rinds contain the same amount of saturated fat as olive and corn oil.

Well, I hear you say, enough about the chemistry, how do they taste?

About as delicious as you’d expect deep friend pork skin to be. I thought they could have used a little more salt, but maybe that was another concession to healthy living by the fine folks at Herr’s. Otherwise though, they have that same wispy, porky, melting on your tongue thing going on that extra crispy bacon has. And the airy crispness made me realize that this is the texture that cheese doodles, veggie bootie and all other non-meat-based extruded snack foods are striving for.

In short, I’d eat them again. I guess I’m a little surprised. I don’t think I ever pictured myself as a pork rind kinda gal either.

Wait, who am I kidding? Anyone who, at the same time she’s tasting pork rinds for the first time, also has a book called Pig Perfect: Encounters with Remarkable Swine and Some Great Ways to Cook Them in her backpack is a pork rind kinda gal.

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