a book about pigs, pork & ham


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


2 thoughts on “a book about pigs, pork & ham”

  1. I just ate fried salmon and salad, you don’t understand how bad I want lechon kawali (pang pa bata) right about now with some Mang Tomas, ang sarap!


  2. don’t i ?! i just had ramen noodles for dinner (granted i had sort of lumpiang shanghai)… i’m actually dying for crispy pata! very like lechon kawali, no? oh and chicharon bituka (like it much better than bulaklak) !? missing the motherland right now…


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