Somewhere south of Grand Rapids, the Michigan state police pulled us over. This had the potential to sour the agreement the Butcher & Larder’s Rob Levitt had made with the Buick marketing people who loaned him the car. Buick was a sponsor of the Chicago Gourmet festival a few weeks earlier, and its flacks had been busy distributing loaner vehicles among prominent Chicago food types in an effort to “change the image” of the brand.

“What’s the image of a Buick?” Levitt recalled asking when he was offered the new 2013 Regal for a week.

“Uhhh . . . , ” replied the Buick rep.

“You mean like something my grandpa would drive?”

“Well, yeah,” she replied. Levitt wasn’t sure how he was supposed to improve on that. Butchers were the new rock stars, like, so three years ago. But he did have a plan for the car. He was going to use it to make the six-hour trip to Northport, Michigan, to kill and butcher the pig he’d purchased from Bare Knuckle Farm. There was nothing in the rider that said he couldn’t haul home a bunch of raw pig parts, but it did stipulate he couldn’t do anything illegal with car, and he was doing 80-something when the trooper pulled us over.