When I was in junior high school once a month or so my aunt and I would drive out to Long Island to visit some family friends. Elsie and Linda were the mother and sister of one of Aunt Marie's best friends, Carol a.k.a. "Cotton Candy" so named because her hair seemed to have the exact sugar spun texture of cotton candy. Carol passed away at too young an age and afterwards we would regularly make the trip out to see her family and visit for a while. The menu was always the same: pork roast, mashed potatoes, a vegetable of some sort, and a yellow cake topped with whipped cream and canned pineapple. I would hang out in the kitchen while Linda mashed the potatoes and nick pieces of skin from the roast as she carved it. It was a meal I never had anywhere else, prepared with love and good will, and always enjoyed around a happy table.
Years later I still have a soft spot for pork roast. I eye them longingly at the market, while Alex always steers me in another direction claiming that pork roasts are dry and lacking flavor. Finally one day we discussed my idea of a pork roast, cooked to a deep golden brown, with a crackling skin and a juicy interior, boosted by gravy just in case it stays in the oven a little too long. "Oh you mean a porchetta! That's the only way you can get a skin like that and still have juicy meat inside. I'd be happy to make you one of those." I'm guessing Elsie never cooked a porchetta, certainly never one on the bones, but his roast was beautiful and delicious and we were all happy. What could be better than that?