With such past triumphs as Hot Links and Country Flavor
, Real Beer and Good Eats
and The Complete Meat Cookbook
Bruce Aidells has established himself as a god-like carnivore among mere mortals. His taste buds know no bounds, his thirst for the next best recipe absolutely unquenchable. "I am a restless cook and adventurous eater," he says in the beginning of Bruce Aidells's Complete Book of Pork
, perhaps his greatest cookbook yet.
Maybe the dog has been hooked up with humankind longer than the pig, and has wandered into regions pigs knowingly eschew, like the Arctic. But pigs and people share a long, delicious history the dog can only sniff at, and longingly at that; an intimacy, if you will, unmatched in any other cross-species relationship. Aidells celebrates this connection. He gives the reader a brief history of the pig, then delivers definitive instructions on how to select great pork, and, in a general overview, how the flavor it and cook it to best advantage. He honors his subject and elevates his reader.
The recipes that follow have only one thing in common: Bruce Aidells loves them. They come from all corners of the world, from friends and from professionals, and from deep personal experience. They cover breakfasts treats, hors d'oeuvres, appetizers, and salads (Chopped Grilled Vegetable Salad with Grilled Pork Medallions); chops and steaks, scallops and cutlets (Smoked Pork Chops with Sour Cherry Sauce); kebabs and ribs (North African Marinated Pork kebabs on Couscous with Apricot Sauce); roasts, ham, pot roasts, stews, baked pastas, and casseroles (Grill-Roasted Pork Shoulder Cuban Style).
In each shift among the pork primals Aidells discusses the fitting master recipe, the umbrella technique beneath which truth and beauty unfold. He's a champion of flavor brining and his instructions eliminate any possible confusion. But he saves his soul for the last section, which is given over to some of the best material in print on preserving pork, the making of sausages, pâtés and terrines, bacon and salamis. It's at this point in the book that poignancy kicks in. This final word has the feeling of last word as well. --Schuyler Ingle
From Publishers Weekly
Thanks to decades of breeding for less fatty animals—as well as an effective ad campaign—pork has shed its unhealthy stigma. Unfortunately, much of today's leaner supermarket cuts are often dry and bland. Aidells, founder of the Aidells Sausage Company, comes to the rescue with well over 100 flavorful recipes. Including Thai Seafood and Pork Dumplings, Albóndigas Soup and Quebec Pork Pie, his selections reflect the pig's popularity around the world and highlight the meat's versatility as both an appetizer and main course. Unsurprisingly (given his background), Aidells includes both master recipes and several variations for hearty links and patties. He uses a similarly in-depth technique to convey the range of possible approaches to hams and barbecued ribs and roasts. Though the writing is sometimes awkward, the recipes are refined and well balanced. Advanced cooks will appreciate some of the more exotic concoctions and the section on curing meats, but there are accessible recipes for all levels, and the introductions offer plenty of background information on choosing cuts, learning how to brine and much more.
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