Matt Ridgway calls the slabs that come out of his curing room at PorcSalt, simply, bacon. Which doesn't quite tell the whole story. That the pork bellies come from flavorful, old breeds - Berkshire and Berkshire-Duroc crosses, that last one from Breakway Farms in Mount Joy.
Perhaps you've had occasion to consult the placemats in Chinatown and have already registered that next year is the Year of the Rabbit, the children of which (when it comes around in the fourth position of the 12-year Chinese zodiac) are said to possess uncommon sensitivity and grace, but also caution bordering on the excessive, and a peevish hint of self-righteousness.
The object, when one is seized with a sudden hunger for bolognese (or its less exalted red-gravy cousin, the meatball), is not to spin your wheels fretting over who has the most authentic version - the traditional recipe was actually registered in Bologna in 1982 - but to track down the closest place open.
Rick Nichols is a Philadelphia native (a product of rowhouse Mayfair) who moved as a child to Lower Bucks County and later to New England. He graduated from the University of North Carolina and worked on the newspaper in Raleigh. After a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard, he joined The Inquirer in 1978. He was for many years a member of the Editorial Board, and has several journalism awards.