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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars James Beard Award Number 3?
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...
Published on June 7, 2010 by robert holmes

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23 of 41 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Impressive until you try it
I am really surprised by all of the 5 star reviews of this book. It will inspire you to cook, it is very interesting reading on the history of pork in the south and the rivalries it creates, but as an actual cook book I think it misses the mark and is definitely not 5 star material.

Pros:
- The few pictures in the book will make you hungry!
- The...
Published on February 1, 2011 by J&G


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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars James Beard Award Number 3?, June 7, 2010
By 
robert holmes (Greensboro, North Carolina) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Pig: King of the Southern Table (Hardcover)
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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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The pig, the whole pig, and nothing but things that enhance the enjoyment of eating pig., September 8, 2010
This review is from: Pig: King of the Southern Table (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.
And where would the world be without pig based soups, chowders, and gumbos? I think we will all be instantly attracted to the things like Spiced Pork Meatball Soup, Plantation Pork and Rice Soup, Creole Seafood, Sausage, and Okra Gumbo, Birmingham Red Bean and Ham Bone Soup. But I encourage a deeper look at things like Pot Likker Soup (Pot Likker is the glorious cooking water for fresh greens of all types), or the Outer Banks Muddle (a mess of fish), or the traditional Good Friday dish, and Gumbo z'Herbes. And, of course, there are many more.

Then there are Stews, Casseroles, and Stratas. No book on Southern Cookery would be complete without a recipe for Brunswick Stew and the author's Virginia take is a good one as is his recipe for Frogmore Stew. But also try the Pork and Eggplant Stew. The Casseroles and all interesting and you might like the Sausage and Leek Buffet Casserole or the Spice Breakfast Sausage and Cheese Bake. A Strata is a layered casserole (hence the name) and are perfect for those times you want to make something ahead of time, store it in the fridge and simply warm it when you get home from Church or some other event. All look wonderful to me. How about the Pork, Pea, and Noodle Strata? Or the Slab Bacon and Mushroom Strata, or the version with sausage and mixed veggies?

We then arrive at Chops, Cutlets, and Steaks! What meat loving red blooded American wouldn't want to try each and every dish here? How about the Baked Double Pork Chops stuffed with Oysters? Sounds like heaven to me. Or the Creole Pork Steaks? Can you get more Southern than Broiled Pork Chops with Peachy Cheese Crust? Or Mississippi Smothered Pork Cutlets. Have fun!

The next section provides a tour of Pies, Loaves, Hashes, and Burgers. Again, all pork based. Old Fashioned Pork Pie with a Biscuit Crust, Barbecued Pork and Sausage Meatloaf, Natchitoches Pork Pie, and an Open Face Pig and Pimento Burger are just the highlights.

Villas devotes a whole section to 19 recipes for Pork Roasts. Some are with loin, some are with tenderloins, or pork shoulder or Butt, and one is for a Roasted Quail with Salt Pork and Country Ham. But there is a whole section with 19 recipes devoted to Hams, as well. Well, one is for Ham Hock Seasoning Liquid that you use with other things, but it is still part of the ham and it is a recipe even if it isn't a dish. You get recipes for dealing with a fresh ham and a recipe for a basic cooked country ham. But most of the recipes are for use prepared hams or portions of them. Why would you not want to braise a country ham in cider and molasses? Sounds like heaven to me.

Most of us most of our pork products as sausage and bacon. Villas encourages us to get our own grinder and make our own high quality sausage because it tastes so much better and is the key to superb sausage dishes. He provides and easy and solid recipes for Bulk Pork Sausage, Savannah Spiced Country Sausage, Cajun Boudin Rice Sausage, Creole Chaurice and much much more. You might want to go right to the Mississippi Bacon Spaghetti, though.
And of course, where would we be without Barbecue and Ribs. Villas begins with two sauce and two rub recipes and then takes us through both kinds of North Carolina `Cue, many kinds of ribs, chops, and loin recipes as well as kabobs and a recipe for Barbecue Bourbon Ham Steaks. The section on Variety and Specialty Meats deals with various kinds of pickled pork, preserved ham, deviled liver, puddings, scrapple, even feet, brains, sweetbreads, and ears.

Dishes with Vegetables and Rice are good down home basic fare and includes a Perloo and a Bog recipe. Both are similar to the jambalaya, but the Perloo is drier and the Bog is wetter than the traditional jambalaya.

The book concludes with a collection of bread recipes that include cornbread, hoecakes, corn pone, hush puppies, spoon bread, biscuits of various kinds, rolls, actual loaves of bread incorporating pork and other products.

What a wonderful journey Villas takes us on and shows it to us in such a delightfully personal way. Give the guy another James Beard Award!

Reviewed by Craig Matteson, Saline, MI
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who Knew How Much You Can Do With One Little Piggy!, June 7, 2010
By 
Lynne Whiteley Novy (North Carolina, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Pig: King of the Southern Table (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
5.0 out of 5 stars Oink if you love "Pig", June 24, 2010
This review is from: Pig: King of the Southern Table (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
4.0 out of 5 stars PIG, January 7, 2011
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This review is from: Pig: King of the Southern Table (Hardcover)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars gift to provide family pleasure, January 9, 2011
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This review is from: Pig: King of the Southern Table (Hardcover)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars A top pick for any culinary collection, from general to culinary school libraries!, August 14, 2010
This review is from: Pig: King of the Southern Table (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
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely delicious!, June 3, 2010
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This review is from: Pig: King of the Southern Table (Hardcover)
--a wonderful addition for someone who loves to cook and entertain. Great photos and recipes to match.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love the PIG!, January 10, 2011
By 
Nakita Rose (Los Angeles, CA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Pig: King of the Southern Table (Hardcover)
Heaven. If you are addicted to Pig just as much as I am, then you will totally enjoy this book! Included several recipes and techniques I have never heard of before, and can't wait to try. PIG was the coolest Pork book out there.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To market, to market to buy the new PIG!, June 19, 2010
By 
This review is from: Pig: King of the Southern Table (Hardcover)
Recipes from PIG epitomize the essence the of southern pork cuisine. These amazing recipes and pure dedication to the pig is simplicity made beautiful. For all chefs looking to add authenticity to their table, take any page from this book and you'll have happy squeals from your guests!
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Pig: King of the Southern Table
Pig: King of the Southern Table by James Villas (Hardcover - April 9, 2010)
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