PIG PERFECT: Encounters with Remarkable Swine and the Best Ways to Cook Them

Peter Kaminsky, Author . Hyperion $23.95 (291p) ISBN 978-1-4013-0036-4

In this sprawling love letter to hogdom, "hamthropologist" and food and fly fishing writer Kaminsky takes readers to France and Spain as well as to such American cities as Memphis, Louisville and Des Moines to visit a broad variety of pork-related venues. He waxes ecstatic about long-aged country ham and laments today's leaner, less flavorful meat. He seeks out a pig slaughter, considers why pork is taboo to Jews and Muslims, and excoriates the brutality and environmental damage wreaked by hog factories. Kaminsky (The Moon Pulled Up an Acre of Bass ) celebrates family farmers who give their pigs freedom in the field, offer them natural foods and produce a far better pork. The author's enthusiasm is infectious, but since he races all over the map, the chatty accounts of his various adventures and the people he meets along the way are often fleeting as well. The narrative is, however, generously embellished with dozens of facts about pigs (such as the staggering statistic that about 350,000 U.S. hogs are slaughtered every week). Nine recipes, ranging from Country Ham Braised in Cider and Molasses to Emile and Rachel's Roast Loin of Pork with Greens and Cantaloupe, are scattered throughout to honor the oinker itself. Agent, Lisa Queen at IMG. (May 11)

Reviewed on: 03/14/2005
Release date: 05/01/2005
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