Saturday, September 18, 2010

Pig Out

Pig 'n' Whistle Diner, Boston #1

From Dave Brigham:

I ate at the Pig 'n Whistle in Brighton just once, and I have to say, the food wasn't memorable. I recall that it was on Patriot's Day, a Massachusetts-only holiday that also happens to be Boston Marathon day. I went to the race with my girlfriend (now wife), Beth, and my friend, Jeff. Afterwards, Jeff and I went to the diner, and strangely enough the only thing I remember eating was green beans, which I rarely eat. I believe there were mashed potatoes, too. The main course was probably steak or pot roast.

Despite this less-than-memorable meal, I love diners and was sorry to see this place close up a few years back. Web searches have turned up no useful information about why the place closed, or what the fate of the property might be. I did find something kind of cool, though: a "Zippy the Pinhead" cartoon from February 2001 featuring the diner.

I pass by the diner with some regularity, and have long wondered about the significance of the name. Turns out it's a popular name for British pubs (along with more colorful names such as The Dog and Duck, The Slug and Lettuce and The Goat and Compasses), but that the origin of the name is somewhat confusing. Take your pick:

1) Pig derives from drinking vessel names, i.e., peg, piggin or, most obviously, pig. Whistle might come from "wassail," a spiced ale.

Or

2) Servants were obliged to whistle when they went to the basement to get "pigs" for beer in order to prove that they weren't drinking the ale.

Or

3) Pigs and whistles might mean odds and ends.

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