pig perfect (2005) by self-described “hamthropologist” peter kaminsky is about his search for the perfect ham & grilled pork / it is informative, entertaining & makes you want to search for the perfect ham & grilled pork yourself!
some time back, we were told to stay away from pork & we all ate chicken \ then the pork industry fought back by marketing it as “the other white meat” / i’m good with that \ reading this book, i intensely miss the filipino ways of cooking pork – transforming the entire or various parts of the pig into the best it can be / among them: inihaw na liempo <grilled pork belly marinated in crushed garlic, vinegar, salt & pepper>, crispy pata <deep fried hocks>, paksiw na pata <hocks or shank simmered in vinegar & soy sauce with banana blossoms>, lechon <roasted whole pig, preferably suckling pig>, lechon kawali <crispy deep fried pork, since you can’t always be roasting an entire pig>, sisig <pork ears, jowls & liver that is boiled-broiled-grilled, served chopped & marinated in lemon juice or vinegar, seasoned with salt, pepper & sili > & the most “heart-attack-waiting-to-happen” of them all, chicharon bulaklak or bituka <you probably don’t want to know what it is but it is awesome> \ the last two are usually eaten as pulutan <finger food eaten with beer or any liquor; pulut means “to pick up”>
in the philippines, we mostly eat our pork fresh \ we do not have a strong ham tradition though one of the main topics of the book is about iberico ham from spain / because the philippines was a spanish colony for three centuries, our cuisine among other things in philippine culture is heavily spanish influenced / but an iberico ham legacy is not one of them \ supposedly iberico ham is the best ham because it is made from the iberico pig <black pigs in picture> / the best are fed only acorns which they gather themselves since they are free ranging or allowed to ran wild \ and because they are not ruminants <i.e., they do not digest what they eat twice like cows & sheep do>, the acorns or peanuts that they eat deposit in them as soft fat \ they do not become hydrogenated <get hard like butter> /and so the iberico pigs’ fat and meat keep the flavor of what they were fed
the book is a must-read for barbecue ribs lovers / as it has recipes and places to get the best ribs in the u.s. \ as for me, i would love to taste iberico pork & will make sure i have a full experience of it when i visit spain
my favorite curmudgeon suggested this book / i found it as a bargain book at amazon & started reading it when i was in seattle last june