Best Cook: The Politics of Pork
If you ask Roger Andrey how he pronounces his name, his international past emerges. “It’s Roh-zhay Ahn-dray,” he’ll tell you. His father was born in Switzerland, but his mother’s family was Italian. While in Milan, at the age of 11, he learned his first recipe, a vinaigrette for which he’s still famous. He relates this while slicing a pink pork loin lengthwise, leaving a hinge so that the sections can be turned like pages. Easier to stuff. “Political Pork.”
Roger is a political animal, and when he met his soon-to-be wife, Lois Brennan, there was a lot of chemistry, but one thing on which they could not agree was politics. Roger is a Republican. Lois is a Democrat. They married anyway, in June 2004. They fought about Bush and Kerry all the time. “So on Election Night,” recalls Roger, “I said, ‘Okay, we’re going to make Presidential Pork and Caucus Carrots. And we’ll sit down and watch the election results together.’”
Roger cuts a hunk of butter and places it into a large skillet on the stove of their small but efficient kitchen in Hingham, Massachusetts. He swabs each page of the pork loin with lingonberry jam, then opens a perfectly ripened avocado and presses slices into the sectioned meat, where it mixes with the tart fruit. “You know, it’s sweet and sour, like politics, both sides of the aisle,” he says. “What can you do? You roll them up into the pork and you throw it in the pan!”
He cuts the carrots and slides them into the skillet with some lemon zest. “Let’s get them talking to each other,” he says, adding lemon juice, dried cranberries, onions, and broth. The pork is crackling and sputtering in the oven; the carrots are arguing in the skillet.
The meal is built like this, his famous vinaigrette coming last, a separate mix for each salad plate, all measured out by spoon, rather than shaken in a bottle. He puts his guests at ease with his casual manner. “I love to cook,” he says, with a smile of pleasure on his face. “It’s a relaxing thing for me to do.” He gives Lois a squeeze and a buss on the cheek. Even on Election Night, a great pork dinner is something all sides agree on.