Gray Matter


Pork. The Other White Meat

porkThe National Pork Board promoted the slogan, “Pork. The Other White Meat”, used in United States public awareness campaigns back in 1987. I didn’t hear it nearly as often as the beef slogan of 1992.

I always knew there were various names for the different pig species but I never felt compelled to look them up until today.

Pigs and Pork

The domestic pig is often called pig, hog or swine. Pork is the culinary name for pig flesh. Pork is consumed more than any other common animal meat in the world, even fish. The domestic pig isn’t the only species consumed. Based on observation in both the United States and the Philippines, I can attest to that.

My paternal grandmother raised quite a few farm animals on her property when I was young. Mostly chickens, but she raised enough pigs to feed her relatives on occasion. One time, I saw an extremely large pig and one of my uncles told me it was a boar. I was young, so I would have believed almost anything.

I remember my father talking about his time in Peru. He and the group of people he worked with would often see herds of javelinas (peccaries or skunk pigs in English).

Pork Cuts

I don’t know all of them. I’m probably familiar with the same cuts as you. We’re all familiar with bacon, ham and sausage. I tend to forget about the ribs and the skin, among other things. From what I understand, some people like to eat just about every part of the pig. Intestines, feet, ears and tail are all fair game for some people.

Uncooked or undercooked pork is dangerous to consume - it can carry parasites as well as bacteria. I eat nothing from a pig that isn’t thoroughly cooked. Even supposedly precooked cuts of pork tend to get cooked. When my wife, Josie, cooks some of her infamous breakfast sandwiches, the ham slices get cooked in the skillet after she finishes with the eggs.

Pork Recipes

Filipinos, like Josie, have more recipes involving pork than I can remember. Chicken and beef can be used as substitutes for most of them. I’ve convinced her to use something other than pork on many occasions. To me, chicken tocino tastes better than pork and beef lumpia tastes better than pork.

If a recipe calls for bacon, bacon substitutes will not suffice. Not even turkey bacon, which I haven’t eaten in years. I don’t care about the other recipes that call for pork. As far as meats go, I can take it or leave it. When I eat out, I’m more inclined to eat chicken, beef or fish. For whatever reasons, I’m not fond of pork dishes. Except for breakfast foods, of course, when I’m eating bacon, sausage or ham (or even SPAM).

There is one pork item I developed an affinity for after I moved to the Philippines: Pork rinds, called chicharon baboy in Tagalog. When I’m at a party with relatives, it goes well with the beer they tend to buy. It doesn’t have any carbs, so it can’t make me fatter than I already am.

Photo Attribution: Peggy Choucair from Pixabay

Author: RT Cunningham
Date: July 27, 2020 (UTC)
Categories: Food and Drink

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