I’ve seen several summer reading lists this year, and they’re all starting to look the same: there are lots of vampires, zombies, and trolls, tales of overcoming addictions, illnesses, and phobias, and globe-trotting journeys to find the perfect food, the perfect man, the perfect body. Ugh.
How about something saltier? Like a book about pork. If you or someone you know loves pork, and you know you do (why else would you be reading this?), then skip the sappy romances, and bite into one of these porcine-friendly books:
An Obsession with the Hindquarter by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, 2010. A cookbook so humorously penned, you’ll find yourself skipping over recipes just to read the stories.
Bacon: A Love Story: A Salty Survey of Everybody’s Favorite Meat by Heather Lauer, 2009. A light-hearted paean to bacon from an unabashed bacon-lover.
Beautiful Pigs: Portraits of Champion Breeds by Andy Case, 2009. An attractive coffee table book and conversation sparker by one of Britain’s best known pig breeders.
Bruce Aidells’s Complete Book of Pork: A Guide to Buying, Storing, and Cooking the World’s Favorite Meat by Bruce Aidells with Lisa Weiss, 2004. Written by one of America’s most avid pork champions, this all-inclusive books tells you how to select, store, and cook with every part of the pig.
Charcuterie and French Pork Cookery by Jane Grigson, 2008 (originally written in 1967). A beloved book exploring the French love affair with pork.
Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing by Michael Ruhlman, 2005. Considered the definitive text for making charcuterie.
Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient by Jennifer McLagan, 2009. One chef’s bold attempt to redeem much-maligned fat with an entire section on “Pork Fat: The King.”
Good Meat: The Complete Guide to Sourcing and Cooking Sustainable Meat by Deborah Krasner, 2010. The perfect book for the eco-conscious meat eater with over 200 recipes and an entire chapter dedicated to pork.
Guy Fieri Food by Guy Fieri with Ann Volkwein, 2011. If you like Guy’s “go big or go home” philosophy then check out his latest book which includes funny stories and “kick-ass” recipes such as bacon-jalapeno duck appe-tapas. Only Guy could concoct that.
Heat: An Amateur’s Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany by Bill Buford, 2006. A brilliant, witty memoir about a journalist’s journey to become a kitchen insider. Though it’s about more than just pork, you’ll especially savor the section on prosciutto with the Italian butcher.
Meat: A Kitchen Education by James Peterson, 2010. An engagingly written, handsome book with over 175 recipes and chapters on “Pork” and “Sausages.”
Pig: King of the Southern Table by James Villas, 2010. Over 300 hog-heaven recipes from chops and ribs to pork liver and sweetbreads.
Pig Perfect by Peter Kaminsky, 2005. A self-proclaimed “hamthropologist’s” worldly quest for delicious pork and sublime ham.
The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating by Fergus Henderson, 2004. Recipes for the steely-stomached carnivore.
Do you have any other recommendations? Please share them below.
Photo credit: Flick Creative Commons, skippyjon.