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Pig Perfect: Encounters with Remarkable Swine and Some Great Ways to Cook Them [Hardcover]

Peter Kaminsky
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 291 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion Books (8 Jun 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401300367
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401300364
  • Product Dimensions: 2.4 x 14.6 x 20.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 792,736 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A delightful and informative meander through various parts of the world sampling pork dishes of all sorts, describing the provenance of the wild pigs of Georgia ( Spanish hogs by descent), the forgotten tastes of "real pork" and all the bits - a must for foodies but also dealing with the environmental horrors and cruelty of modern factory farming, focused on pigs in the Carolinas. A must for anyone who believes in humane farming and who wants to discover the true tastes of real food.
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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  22 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Devine Swine 11 Oct 2005
By Collins Huff - Published on Amazon.com
Pete Kaminsky's Pig Perfect was just the treatise I was looking for as a yardstick for our farms own free-range pork production. The descriptions of the ham curing in Spain are of such great detail they inspire the reader to try their own hand at such an "art." The only thing that would be better would be to duplicate his travels and experience the taste first hand. I want to thank The author for sharing his insight with such passion and flair.

Collins Huff

Gryffon's Aerie

Heritage Livestock & Artisan Meats

Green Springs, Virginia
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars i wish everyone would read this book 25 Jun 2005
By gcon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
i reccommend this book to you whether you eat pork or not. the pork production in the US affects everyone. you should read this book so you understand how "pig farms" which are actually pig factories, affects the environment as well as the quality and flavor of pork.

but the book is not an environmental manifesto, it is an excellent look at the world of pig farming and pork. the recipes mixed into the meat of the book add a nice touch as well.

i know, now, that a pig, raised properly, produces pork with fat that can be as healthful as olive oil, and with a far better flavor. the reason your porkchops come out dry may be the meat itself, not your cooking.

the book is well written, informative and entertaining. it makes me want to raise my own pigs, apparently it is not that difficult. it also makes me want to take a tasting trip around the south, as well as go to spain to taste the amazing iberico ham there.

the reason i gave it only four stars is the author occasionally gets a bit off track, and the book gets a bit dry or saggy at times, but the dry spots do not last long at all. the description of the flavor of a good ham is worth owning the book, as well as a pretty comprehensive suggested reading list at the end. i hope you buy this book, and i hope, after you read it, you reccommend it to others.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great, fun read with an important message 13 Sep 2005
By Cibodonna - Published on Amazon.com
This book is must-read for foodies, especially those with a Slow Food bent, interested in culinary traditions, and curious to know how good, full flavored, naturally-raised pork -- the kind our grandparents remember --slipped away from us. His journey is riveting, and he tells it with humor, great reporting and sparkling prose -- what I really liked about this book is how much I learned and hog industry vs the culture of pigs, without feeling preached to.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Foodie agenda and read. Buy it now! 4 July 2006
By B. Marold - Published on Amazon.com
`Pig Perfect' by culinary and fishing journalist, Peter Kaminsky is almost like the flip side of Eric Schlosser's 'Fast Food Nation', in that Kaminsky is in search of the very antithesis of modern American industrial pig husbandry. One very important note is that while the title of the book brings the whole pig to mind, Kaminsky really spends over half his book dedicated to the ham, and more specifically the hams created from the `iberico' black pig of Spain and southwestern France.

I really have to love a book that engenders connections between widely dissimilar areas such as the opening scene of the movie `2001 A Space Odyssey', Jewish and Muslem dietary laws, and analysis of linguistic usage. The first of this triad arises when Kaminsky discusses the speculation that the origin of the large brained arthropod in Africa came about when a particular tribe developed a taste for animal fat and protein, thereby scoring the nutrients which fed a larger brain. As you remember, the great epithany in the first scenes of `2001' was the teaching of tool usage to proto-hominids, who used the tools to kill their piggy looking competitors for scarce grass on the veldt. This brings up the third leg of this triad, where Kaminsky rapsodises over the `humane' language of the Spanish farmers who `sacrifice' their pigs, in contrast to the American usage where pigs and other food animals are `slaughtered'. Kaminsky imagines the first word establishes a stronger connection between the two levels of the food chain, the humans, and their meat animals. I will offer the thought that Kaminsky is reading far too much into this difference in wording, as my consulting Webster's confirms that both words are simply two different words for killing animals. The first is for killing them simply for food, the second is for killing them as an offering to the gods. Both words are intimately connected with animals, just as the German verb `fressen' means an animal's eating. But then, I'm really just playing Kaminsky's game here, as both of us are simply `playing with words'.

Kaminsky's review of explanations for why middle eastern cultures such as the Jews and the Arab Muslims both forbade eating pork or any other meat from an animal with cloven hooves.

The first reason is traced back to Egypt, where pigs are hardly ever mentioned because, as Kaminsky speculates, they were raised by individual families, as it was very inexpensive to support a pig or two, in contrast to cattle, sheep, and goats, which required state supported resources. It also meant that cattle, sheep, and goats were a lot easier to tax, as their husbandry was more involved and required larger establishments. Thus, states preferred endorsing those animals whose herds produced better tax income.

The second reason is the fact that pigs are major competitors with humans for the major Middle Eastern grains, wheat and barley. So, the pigs had to go.

The third reason was always my favorite. It is based on the fact that historically, the Arabs and Jews both arose from nomadic tribes, and pigs are a lot harder to herd than cattle, sheep, or goats.

Kaminsky's favorite expert has a fourth reason. He theorizes that with everything else going against pigs, they were immediately replaced by chickens which were even cheaper to raise in small homesteads, did not compete for wheat and barley, and could be easily slung over the mules when the tribe travelled from place to place.

The point of all this theorizing is to strengthen the picture for those cultures in Spain and France where the pig had exactly the opposite reception and was treated as the mainstay of the culture's animal protein. This brings us to Kaminsky's central venue, western Spain and its oak forests, where pigs can happily grow fat on its abundance of chestnuts. From Spain, Kaminsky takes the story to colonies of the black `iberico' pig in the United States and how superior the fatty meat is in these animals compared to the commercially raised white pigs.

Kaminsky also reviews all the facts which back up Emeril Lagasse's famous explamation that `pork fat rules'. It is well known to me by now that lard is superior to butter and to all other common animal fats in its level of unsaturated lipids. This advantage has been bred out of American pigs to create `the other white meat' which seems to be a pale shadow of its more active and more fatty `artisinally raised' porkers.

I delight in the prospect that this book may add another pebble to the movement to return to a better source of pork, just as Julia Child was able to change supermarket stocking habits by demanding on `The French Chef' that she needed her shallots and leeks!

Good luck, Peter, for all of us who look forward to a better porky future.

This is a great culinary read, with a worthwhile agenda to consider. Not exactly `Silent Spring', but not chopped liver either!
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Adventure 7 Aug 2005
By Jennifer A. Wickes - Published on Amazon.com
Library Journal
Kaminsky, an award-winning writer of numerous articles for Field & Stream, Food & Wine, and Outdoor Life magazines and currently a columnist for the New York Times, is a lifelong lover of ham; this is his culinary search for the best pork. He travels from Kentucky to Madrid to Brooklyn, NY, regaling readers with stories and mouth-watering recipes (e.g., Porchetta, Burgundy Style). Meanwhile, Kaminsky reveals a disquieting fact: the industry has changed processing procedures to market large quantities-the end result of which has only compromised flavor and our health. Kaminsky's passion and love of pork is reminiscent of Peter Mayle's fervor for food and the south of France (see A Year in Provence). For those who enjoy food literature and cooking, this work is an ideal escape; it will inspire creativity in your kitchen, as well as have you embarking on your own pork adventure! For all collections.-Jennifer A. Wickes, [...], Pine Beach, NJ Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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