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Bruce Aidells's Complete Book of Pork: A Guide to Buying, Storing, and Cooking the World's Favorite Meat Hardcover – October 26, 2004
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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
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Top Customer Reviews
As Aidells states early in the book, this work is for people who like to create their own recipes with pork. While pork may be the world's favorite meat, it may also be one of the most difficult, especially today in the United States, where so much fat has been bread out of our porkers that older James Beard and Joy of Cooking recipes for pork may simply not even work any more, in that there is not enough fat moisture in some cuts to support exposure to high heat for the time needed to get the inside of the meat up to the old standard temperature to insure that chance of trichinosis or botulism is removed. One of the greater ironies of meat cooking is that if you cook pork loin or pork tenderloin with wet heat over 160 degrees Fahrenheit for very long, you will end up with dry, stringy meat in spite of the cooking in water.
So, one of the first and most important parts of the book is how to select cuts of pork and match them to the appropriate cooking method. Regarding selecting meat, I must have been incredibly lucky or terribly inattentive, as I have never seen many of the pathologies against which Aidells warns us.Read more ›
* This is a solid book, written by an expert on the topic - a butcher and an acclaimed expert sausage maker. He knows his stuff, and he does a passable job of passing along some very useful information ... such as the real story about trichinoa and how to protect yourself without ruining the meat by overcooking, how to spot substandard pork that wasn't slaughtered properly and/or which is getting a bit old/off, how to grind meat without ruining it, etc. That's important stuff which most authors neglect to cover in reasonable depth, if at all.
* Good explanations, and well written head notes for all recipes.
* Tasty, well honed recipes, from around the world, and using good techniques and varied seasoings. I also like the fact that the author borrowed Julia Child's "Master Recipes" system, for covering with one swell foop many recipes at once that differ only in their seasoning/ingredient profile ... the technique is the same, so describe the technique, so that all the related recipes are just variations on a theme. It's the culinary equivalent of give a man a fish vs teach a man to fish.
* Once again, here is a book that's broken down by chapter, but within those individual chapters all recipes appear to be in random order ... and there's no recipe index to help you shop for, much less find in a hurry, a given recipe, even if you know what you're looking for. I mean come on ...Read more ›
Taking off and enhancing the information found in the pork section he goes truly in depth on the subject of pork. The section on brining today's industrial pork is well worth the price of the book. I am pleased to say that he does not repeat anything from his earlier book so you are definitely getting new material.
Aidell is renowned as one of the early members of the northern California cooking scene and is known to some as the chicken sausage king - yes, it is THAT Aidell who sparked the gourmet sausage movement so, trust the man on his meat.
Everyone can cook from this book since it does not use complicated cooking methods and the spices and ingredients are readily available through the supermarket or from a trusted butcher (uncommon cuts like shin or cheek) it is accessable to anyone.
Highest recommendations for the cooking library and for cooks who prepare a great meal.
Let's face it, pork just doesn't taste like pork used to. And, there is that old hangover from the post-WW2 days when a lot of pork was diseased so it had to be cooked to death, thus drying it out and making it unpalatable, even rubbery. Pork meat is RED meat that has had the blood removed. It can now be safely treated like red meat, except for very rare.
Bruce's book is a great book but it shouldn't be necessary, and wouldn't be, if pig producers did the right thing and produced better, rare breed, fatty pigs. However, if you are a lover of good pork, no matter what your supply quality might be, this book will help you make the best of a poor situation. It's a little too detailed for my liking, as a cookbook, but it is an important and wide-ranging work. Good on you Bruce!
William Kenneth Halliwell
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Most Recent Customer Reviews
We got the book because we bought a whole pig and weren't sure what to do with anything more than the chops. Now we do. Read morePublished 4 months ago by LEIA NOWELL
This turned my sisters boyfriend's cooking into edible food! It was a miracle.Published 18 months ago by DOnny Morgan
If you like to cook and want to learn how to deal with pork this is a great aid I'm glad I bought the guidePublished on May 13, 2014 by Ed Goettl
If you are making sausage or want the best recipes possible you MUST buy this book!!!!! I bought it for my family and friends.Published on August 26, 2013 by rj
We purchased a half a pig and then had a "now what" moment. The book has been a very useful guide and, with it's help, we look forward to getting another side of pork when... Read morePublished on March 4, 2013 by William L. Driscoll
Loving to cook lead me to this thorough book by someone who loves Pork. Pork is a new food adventure for me. Read morePublished on August 28, 2011 by Dorcas B Farquhar
My son (29 y.o.) is a pork-lover and excellent cook. I gave it to him as a gift and he loves it.Published on July 20, 2010 by Mary
I bought this book as a gift for my husband's birthday. It is great! We have made many of the recipes and they are easy to follow. It is our go to book for roasts and ribs. Read morePublished on October 13, 2009 by Yard Girl