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Pig: King of the Southern Table Hardcover – April 26, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1 edition (April 26, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470194014
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470194010
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 8.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #404,409 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. If pig is indeed king, then there is trouble at the castle, for Villas (Dancing in the Lowcountry) has stormed the gates and had at him, leaving no sweetbread, shoulder, or chop untasted. So let the commoners rejoice: here are 300 recipes from Southern hog heaven that are juicy, flirtatious, and, at times, scary. Brave hearts will want to immediately dive into the Variety and Special Meats chapter for some deviled pork liver; hog's head stew; and brains and eggs. The upper crust might prefer a pork pie. Choices include spicy Tennessee sausage; Pork, Apple and Raisin; or Bacon and Corn. A section on barbecue and ribs includes both North and South Carolina styles of BBQ and half a dozen sparerib options. And where lesser authors might stray off-topic when moving to side dishes, Villas, with 13 cookbooks and two James Beard awards under his belt, knows better. All 39 vegetable and rice dishes are chock full of oink, from the mushy turnips with bacon and pork to the slab bacon hoppin' John. Similarly, there are 20 breads that are decidedly not fat-free. That other Southern king, Elvis, would surely have appreciated the bacon-peanut butter muffins, perhaps chased down with a lard hoecake or some bacon-grease hush puppies. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"Pig is so good you can taste it. Villas brings all of his expertise and passion into this wide-ranging, highly readable discourse on the lordly staple of Southern cookery." -John Berendt, author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil "No one is more qualified to write about the 'King of the Southern Table' than the King of Southern Cooking himself, James Villas. The book is loaded with mouthwatering recipes and does double duty as an anthropological text-Villas shows us that the many different Southern tribes have different uses for the mighty pig. So it is that we are given North Carolina Eastern-Style Chopped or Pulled 'Cue, Lowcountry Chicken and Ham Perloo, and dozens of dishes in between, including Tennessee Sausage Spoon Bread and Bill Neal's Braised Pork Chops with Limas and Whole Garlic I'm dying to try. With Pig, the noble Villas has given us his usual definitive work." -Julia Reed, author of Ham Biscuits, Hostess Gowns, and Other Southern Specialties and The House on First Street: My New Orleans Story "What a book! A Southerner weaned on pork, a connoisseur of 'cue and country ham, of sausage, souse, and scrapple as well as all the fresh cuts, Jim Villas knows the 'King of the Southern Table' better than anyone. He writes with passion and authority, tells you exactly what you need to know about pork, then dishes up a juicy everything-but-the-squeal collection of recipes-some homespun, some high-on-the-hog, and many as easy as one, two, three. If you like pork, you'll love Pig. And that's a promise." -Jean Anderson , author of A Love Affair with Southern Cooking

Ham Croquettes with Parsley Sauce
Ham Croquettes with Parsley Sauce

Makes 6 servings

I am still on the bandwagon to restore all croquettes (meat, poultry, and seafood) to the prominent role they once played in every country-club dining room and department-store restaurant in the South, and none do I relish more than those made with some form of ham and served with a mustard, tomato, or cream sauce, or with this subtle parsley sauce. In truth, a well-made, carefully fried ham croquette is delicious just by itself (either as an appetizer or main course), and for ideal texture, I remain convinced that the mixture for these croquettes should be chilled overnight before being formed into patties. As with all croquettes, feel free to experiment with different secondary ingredients (olives, capers, bell peppers, and so on).

For the Sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

For the Croquettes:
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
3 scallions (white parts only), finely chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus extra for dredging
1 cup milk
4 cups coarsely chopped cooked ham
3 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon dried sage, crumbled
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 large egg, beaten with 2 tablespoons water
2 cups fine dry bread crumbs
Peanut oil for frying

1. To make the sauce, melt the butter in a small saucepan over moderately low heat, add the flour, and stir till a smooth paste forms. Gradually add the milk, stirring till thickened and smooth, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the salt and pepper and parsley, stir till well blended, and keep the sauce warm over very low heat.

2. To make the croquettes, melt the butter in a saucepan over moderate heat, add the scallions and flour, and whisk till soft and well blended, about 2 minutes. Whisking rapidly, add the milk till well blended; add the ham, stir well, and remove from the heat. Whisking rapidly, add the egg yolks, return to the heat, add the mustard, sage, and salt and pepper, and whisk till well blended. Scrape the mixture into a dish, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

3. With your hands, divide the mixture into 6 balls and roll lightly in the extra flour. Pat the balls into smooth oval patties, dip briefly into the egg wash, dredge in the bread crumbs, and place on a plate till ready to fry.

4. In a large, heavy skillet, heat about 1 inch of oil over moderately high heat for about 1 minute, fry the patties till golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side, and drain briefly on paper towels. Serve the croquettes with the parsley sauce on the side.


More About the Author

I was born and bred in the South, have 3 university degrees in language and literature (Fulbright scholar), and taught in 3 universities before changing careers and becoming Food and Wine Editor of TOWN and COUNTRY (1972-1999). I've published 15 cookbooks and 4 literary books on gastronomy. My first novel, DANCING IN THE LOW COUNTRY, was published in 2008; my second, HUNGRY FOR HAPPINESS, in 2010; and I'm currently working on a dog novel titled THE BEAGLE PLAYS BRAHMS. My cookbook, PIG: KING OF THE SOUTHERN TABLE, won the James Beard Award for 2010, and my newest one, SOUTHERN FRIED, will be published in 2013. I live in East Hampton, Long Island, where I devote my time to writing cookbooks and fiction and pursuing my love of great music.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Great book with Great recipes.
patlow9
If James Villas doesn't garner his third James Beard award for PIG, I'll be very surprised.
robert holmes
This is a fantastic book with unusual recipes.
theroots

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By robert holmes on June 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If James Villas doesn't garner his third James Beard award for PIG, I'll be very surprised.

It's been said that in the South every part of the pig except the squeal is used. As I read my way through PIG, I about halfway expected Villas to show us a recipe using the squeal.

This is an exeptional book. You know when you buy a cookbook by James Villas that every recipe has been tested and works. You know Villas wrote every word himself....not a given in these days of ghost written celebrity cook books. Villas is a masterful writer. His directions are clear and thorough. The book is beautiful.

James Villas is a native of North Carolina. He still comes back home on a regular basis to stock up on Southern products. If I had to nominate just 2 cook book writers for my Southern hall of fame, they would be Jean Anderson (LOVE AFFAIR WITH SOUTHERN COOKING, another North Carolina native who had the good sense to move back home from NYC, and James Villas. We're still working on him.

PIG is a must buy for anybody with a love for pork and the food of the South.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a book that explores the importance of the pig to Southern cooking. The author refers to pig instead of pork because the book explores dishes for every part of the entire animal rather than just the usual muscle and flesh pieces we regularly call pork. Mr. Villas doesn't fill the book with essays other than the introductory material. But Villas includes his marvelous insights as introductions to each recipe. His award winning writing style and vast experience as a food writer and editor show in this book's entertaining and informative readability as well as through its utility as a cookbook. I also enjoyed the little quotations that are at the end of many of the two-page recipes. And the photos are collected into sections with page numbers for the associated recipes. They are of extremely high quality as one would expect from a magazine editor.

But don't expect a mere recipe book of dishes Villas collected as an explorer into Southern Cookery. He knows this food to the depth of his soul. Most of the recipes are his own, his family's, and some included are identified as coming from locations and people he has gotten to know along the way. When he identifies that they came from others he also lets us know if he has made his own tweak on it.

He begins with a wonderful section on Appetizers and Salads. Oh, yes, we get Smithfield Ham Spread, Kentucky Potted Ham, Crisp Potato Skins with Cheese and Bacon, Spicy Sausage Balls, and Pork Liver Pate. But we also get a recipe for Souse, another for Pork Cracklin' Black Eyed Pea and Shrimp Salad, Pig Knuckle Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette, Congealed Ham and Orange Salad, and Tennis Ball salad with Salt Pork-Buttermilk Dressing. And many more treats.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Lynne Whiteley Novy on June 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Imaginative . . . easy . . . economical. That's what everyone wants in a recipe these days and that's exactly what James Villas gives us in PIG: KING OF THE SOUTHERN TABLE. With recipes like five-ingredient Crisp Potato Skins with Cheese and Bacon, six-ingredient Baked Pork Butt with Home-Style Pan Gravy, eight-ingredient Churchyard Honey-Barbecued Pork Loin, and too many other mouth-watering less-than-10-ingredient recipes to count, I nominate PIG for KING OF THE AMERICAN TABLE.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Deborah J. Moose on June 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The expert yet accessible voice of James Villas takes us through the wonderful world of pork in "Pig: King of the Southern Table." Villas knows and loves Southern food, and it shows in every line. Refreshingly free of trendiness (no bacon ice cream here), this book of classic recipes and information should be a staple on the cookbook shelf. I made the Sullivan's Island Bacon and Shrimp Bog last night, and it was great!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By patlow9 on January 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book with Great recipes. Everything I tried was good. There's a section of the book that I think of as not practical. Items the average person would probably not make, but other recipes as very good and easy to follow
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By ja on January 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My family received this Christmas gift from Amazon containing concise and delicious recipes, a part of Southern culinary tradition. I made one of several sausages after getting up before daylight on a Saturday morning.. The aroma woke all,and everyone appreciated the surprise and wonderful flavor. You will enjoy the taste and stories which come from these Southern traditions.A wonderful cookbook. My son is a top of the line chef who recommended this book and uses it as well. Cook like a pro,and make "the best ribs in town."
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on August 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Pig: King of the Southern Table is a fine additional to any Southern or regional American cookery library. It packs in some 300 recipes culled from every state in the South, blending color photos and recipes to provide a satisfying blend of history and local specialties. A top pick for any culinary collection, from general to culinary school libraries!
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Hudson Born on June 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
--a wonderful addition for someone who loves to cook and entertain. Great photos and recipes to match.
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