The French Pig (from salt to ham)

The Name List — Round Two


I asked a handful of people I trust to help me winnow the 70+ names all of you submitted last week. Among them are artists, scholars, cooks, writers, farmers, butchers and curators. Some of them are parents and have named children; some of them have pets for which they have chosen names; and some of them have named boats, artworks and farms.

Here are the top 15 names: 

Francis Bacon

A Few More of Your Pig Names and Some Thoughts

Okay, first I have to thank all of you. I really didn't expect this many responses or the amount of time or effort some of you put into coming up with suggestions.

I'm an artist, not a scientist or a journalist. I'm not going to pretend I have a rigorous plan; I'm making this up as I go. I don't know where the questions will lead me. I don't even really know what the questions I'm asking are. So yes, questions started to burble up as the list started to grow. People name their children, pets and ships. I asked my farmer friends if they name the animals they eat. Some of them answered on the project's Facebook page. They offered lovely, eloquent answers about why and how they name their animals. Some people advised you don't name the animals you eat.

Why do some names have the power of personification while others objectify? I want to give this little piggy a name that feels like a real name. I want to acknowledge this piggy's life.

How do we choose names for our children and pets? Children are often named for other family members, ancestors. I must admit that I have a naming bias. Both of my cats had human names. The first was named after a Jazz singer I admired. The second was given an old-fashioned name that had an obscure allusion that was important to me. This name happened to be shared by the woman who worked for and was the cause of much confusion at the work place. But when I was alone with the cats, I addressed my cats by nicknames that had no relation to their given names. (I am willing to whisper these names to you over a snifter or two of Armagnac.)

I'll decide in the morning what method to use to winnow the names down meanwhile, here are six more names. The rest of the names can be seen here.

Six More Names

Selavy — As in Rrose Selavy, a pseudonym of Marcel Duchamp. Probably a pun on "Eros, c'est la vie" or in English "Cupid, that's life."

Rooter Pequenino — Rooter is the key character in a book who goes from living being to hero tree in his third life. Their protagonists in this book are of Portuguese decent. While not quite Basque pretty close. better Jai Ali a sport I cannot spell.

le oink

EUBOULEUS — EUBOULEUS (or Eubulus) was the demi-god or hero of the sacred swine of the Eleusinian mysteries. He was probably also a demi-god of ploughing and the planting of the grain seed. His name was probably associated with the word bôlos, a clod of earth, and bôlostropheô, to turn up clods in ploughing. A more natural reading of the name, however, is "the good-counsellor" after the Greek euboulos.

Cenicero — Cenicero is a municipality in the autonomous community of La Rioja, Spain. The municipality is the home of the world famous "Bodegas Berberana" winery, which lies close to the River Ebro. (It also means 'ashtray')

Darrieussecq — To help you name your pig, I thought I would find a list of famous Basque women, then send you a masculine version of one that stood out as appropriate.
It would have been better if I had a running list of famous Basque women, but since I don't (yet) I made it a two-minute challenge. Here's what happened: The lists of famous Basque people didn't have so many women. The one name that jumped out at me? Well, she just happens to be writer and critic from Basque Country who's first novel is called "Pig Tales." I hate to quote Wiki but can't resist: As one critic ... observed, in reading this novel, "One laughs, yet in terror, for the metamorphosis of the narrator-as-pig reveals, in counterpoint, the aimless drifting of a society in which the pig is not always the pork.” — wikipedia
To properly recommend the name Darriessecq, I'd need to read the novels. And I will. Whatever you decide to name this pig, thanks for this. I'm absolutely going to read Marie Darrieussecq's Pig Tales. What an amazing find. Let me know if you want to do a book club. You'll be in charge of the food.

Pig Names: The Results for Day Two + Some Popular French Names

The question I asked in the form sent by direct email, Facebook, and twitter:

"What should should we name the French pig?"

Here are your responses as of 10pm March 18, 2014. You can see Day One's names here. Feel free to weigh in on these names by commenting below. But to get YOUR name on the nomination list you need to submit it through this form.

Here are 20 names submitted by you today

(plus some names I found on a baby name blog)

XABI — I liked the suggestion of Xavier, but like the Basque diminutive of XAVIER, Xabi, even better. It's going to be a baby, after all....

Mork — Because someday, you will be eating pork from Mork (My apologies - I like moderately obscure references and bad puns.)

BAZ — Has a suggestion of 'Basque' and just seems to me a good name for a pig, though Pigs I have Known would not be a long list. Short for Basil of course, but he doesn't need to know that - we don't want to encourage effeteness . . .

Benny Boo Boo — Nephews nick name

Harry Batasuna — From "Herri Batasuna" (Unity of the People) a Basque nationalist political party outlawed in Spain in 2003, after a contested court ruling declared proven that the party was financing ETA with public money. As an association and not as a political party, Batasuna had a minor presence in the French Basque country, where it remained legal as "Batasuna" until its self-dissolution in January 2013. (wikipedia)

Honor — In great Girrrl tradition it's fun, respectful and translates globally which helps strengthen the bond. BTW this is an amazing photo as it captures a piglet who still wearing it's birthing membrane coming to Mom's nose so she knows he's here.

Ouinker — Because he's a positive (oui), French (oui), pig (oinker).

Art Pig — (Short for Arthur Pig, but Art seems like a fitting nickname)

Smokey — or Efumé?

Tisket — because of the potential for basquet(te) in jingles


Bacona — The pig will bear in the name a full embrace of his future as food.

Ramon — Ramon, the Jambon de Bayonne. That is a name destined for greatness and endless possibilities.

Oinkadoodle — Its funny

Cerdito Basquito — Means piglet from Basque country (almost)

Hamlette — So many puns: little pig, the tragedy of Hamlet, a play on Lacan's idea of the hommelette (the pre-oedipal non-subject) which is itself a play on omelette.

Polar Vortex — Because soon this idea - the polar vortex - will be lost to stories of santa ana's and tropical disturbances.

Jon Hamm — Because he's a handsome devil

Marcel Duchamp — Why not?

French Names From a Baby Name Blog 

Here are some popular French boys names trending in Paris this past year (according to

Baptiste – Stylish in Paris though may feel a bit old-school religious for many outside of France.

Bastien – Sebastian has been in the Top 100 in the U.S. for over a decade, but Bastien both simplifies it and makes it newer.

Corentin – Corentin is an ancient saint’s name very popular in France but virtually unknown beyond.  Pronunciation is cor-en-TAN.

Jules – One of the simplest of the fashionable French names, Jules might be a newer way to say Julian.

Marius – Marius is one of those names that feels familiar and exotic at the same time.  Much chicer than Italian cousin Mario.

Mathis — Very popular in France and pronounced mah-TEES like the painter, this name may update or honor Matthew.

Maxime and Maxence – Looking for a fresh route to Max?  Consider one of these French long forms.

Thibault – Cool but pronunciation challenged: It’s tee-bo.

You can see yesterday's names here.