Porkcorn Goes Public

My friend and fellow elementary school dad, Thad, approached one morning asking a favor. Some Topanga folk had started a monthly antique fair at a nearby mall recently, and the school had a fundraising bake sale table at the event. Would I consider baking something for the table? Of course, I said.

Porkcorn, ready for sale

A short time later, I received an email from the woman in charge of the fundraising table, thanking me for being a part of their “healthy bake sale.”

As a bit of background for those unfamiliar with our little piece of California paradise nestled in a canyon between Malibu and Santa Monica, Topanga has long attracted the zanier fringes of the left. Much like our Northern California counterpart towns of Marin and Berkeley, or East Coast locales like Woodstock, your famous musicians stopping into the local café for a coffee might be accosted by well-meaning hippies bemoaning the evils of agribusiness and singing the virtues of quinoa, spelt pasta and wheat grass juice. Fortunately, this is countered by an increasingly sophisticated and food-conscious demographic. And we all get along peaceably.

I explained by way of a response email that I could make something really tasty for their bake sale that would probably sell like hotcakes. But if they were looking for stevia-sweetened, whole grain, gluten-free contributions, I was probably not their guy. Not that I have anything against those kinds of foods, mind you — it’s just not what I do. No, no, she assured me — they would be thrilled to have whatever I wanted to make, and maybe they could create a healthy area on the table and a regular area. Satisfied, I committed to making something.

Fast forward a few weeks, I had long forgotten about the bake sale and my commitment to it, when I receive another email, this time from Thad. It was a Friday, the bake sale was Sunday, and would I still be able to make something for it? Up to that point, I hadn’t put much thought into what exactly I would make when the time came — only what I wouldn’t make! My first thought went to my newly invented “porkcorn,” which was proving wildly popular at parties and barbecues. But given the short notice, I didn’t have time to figure out how to package and sell the porkcorn. I did have small wax paper bags I could put something in. So it became a matter of what could I make that would fit in the bags I had. I settled on a version of fougasse — a flavorful, savory pretzel-like bread indigenous to the Arles region of Provence.

The day after the sale, Thad emailed me again to thank me and tell me that the sale was a big success — raising nearly $1,000 for the school — and that my fougasse sold out by 10 a.m. Still, I had my heart set on making and selling porkcorn. So in preparation of the next monthly sale, I found the perfect plastic bags and began designing a cute pig label for my initial public offering. The day before the event, the bacon was crisped, the popcorn popped, the sugar caramelized, the peanuts chopped and the tossing done. Two jumbo pots of salty, porky goodness — which surprisingly, only filled a dozen bags.

I brought the confections to Thad’s house and dropped them off the afternoon before the sale. “What’s in the bag?” his wife asked, and swooned slightly when I told her.

Like the fougasse, the porkcorn sold out quickly, including some purchased by the folks running the sale to snack on whilst working. I’m not sure the time and money investment was worth the effort, although I did have fun creating the packaging. It took me an entire Saturday morning, lots of sugar and a package of good bacon. I never got a straight answer from the sale promoters as to how much they charged per bag. They thought perhaps $3, which means they made $36 off my contribution. It might’ve been easier to simply give them $36 and be done with it.

Maybe for me it was all simply practice for when I launch my food empire, and sell SG&M Porkcorn for $8 a bag at my gourmet market/wine bar/grill.

Popcornopolis, beware… there are wolves at the door.

16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Greggie
    Nov 06, 2012 @ 01:37:17

    I love the line: They thought perhaps $3, which means they made $36 off my contribution. It might’ve been easier to simply give them $36 and be done with it.

    I’ve heard that from several friends with kids over the years.


  2. rachelocal
    Nov 06, 2012 @ 03:50:59

    Dang. I forgot about your porkcorn recipe. I think I’m going to try this one with my favorite Amish bacon.

    Your labels are adorable. Nicely done.


  3. Michelle
    Nov 06, 2012 @ 12:16:14

    Love the packaging.


  4. pal-O
    Nov 06, 2012 @ 13:08:10

    When I awoke, the dire wolf, six hundred pounds of sin,
    Was grinning at my window, all I said was come on in.
    And if you feed the wolf that Porkcorn he definitely won’t murder anything!


  5. The Kat and The Falling Leaves
    Nov 07, 2012 @ 02:25:18

    Lovely post.
    Trademark your Porkcorn!


  6. g
    Nov 08, 2012 @ 04:47:26

    Count me in on the food empire! I’ll contribute my pretzel blondies!


  7. juantonamayo
    Nov 13, 2012 @ 19:01:56

    this is one i could actually make…. or save the 36 bucks and pester you to make it for me?… Empire eaters unite:)


  8. Trackback: Feeding the Unwashed Masses | skinny girls & mayonnaise

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