Pork: A Global History (Edible)
Katharine M. Rogers
Former New York English professor, Katharine M. Rogers has written extensively on feminism and eighteenth and nineteenth century literature and art. Since her retirement she has written books on L. Frank Baum, dogs and cats, and a variety of other topics. In Pork: A Global History (Edible) Rogers exercises her literary skills to develop the story of pork, the other white meat. She describes pork as the ideal meat producer. While cattle need pens and pasture, pigs can wander around the yard, the orchard and the forest and eat refuse and anything else they can scavenge. Pork can also be made into forms such as hams and sausages that store well. Rogers examines the Jewish and Muslim prejudices against pork which she suggests comes from the fact that pigs are scavengers. Rogers traces the popularity of pork in Europe. References to pork abound in early Greek literature and pork was favored by the Romans. Rogers finds references to pork and pork dishes throughout European literature. The Spanish brought pork to the new World and from the Caribbean people they learned how to barbecue. Pork played a major role in the settlement of the new frontier. Pork maintained a central position in the diets of the Far East. Rogers notes that in China meat means pork unless otherwise indicated. In the Far East cattle were work animals and not generally eaten. Her discussion of today's mass produced pork describes how we are sacrificing flavor for convenience, economy, and production. Cheap meat has other costs beyond loss of flavor. Rogers describes the environmental damages of factory farming. Rogers concludes with a short selection of recipes. This is a well written, well researched introduction to man's relationship to the pig. It is punctuated with attractive illustrations and reads quickly. If you want a quick overview of pork - this is it.