by James Villas
Award-winning food writer James Villas is both a renowned authority in the culinary world and a true Southerner. In Pig: King of the Southern Table, Villas pays homage to one of the most essential ingredients in Southern cuisine, with 300 recipes for pork in all its forms—from ham, pork loin, and bacon to sausage, ribs, and even pigs' ears and feet.
From the bayous of Louisiana to the mountains of Tennessee to the swampy Lowcountry of South Carolina and Georgia, the variety of ways that pig is used in the kitchen are as diverse as the regions they hail from. This extensive guide presents the very best Southern pork recipes, from the basics like sausage, ribs, and ham, to inspired hashes, gumbos and casseroles.
Villas expounds on the "Gospel of Southern Barbecue" and illustrates the difference between barbecue styles (one entire chapter is devoted to Barbecue & Ribs), offering recipes like Arkansas Black Barbecued Ribs (with a sauce literally reduced to a sweet, blackened glaze) and Corky's Memphis-Style Barbecued Back Ribs (a Memphis fixture for over 30 years). He also offers more than twenty ham recipes, with versions ranging from Georgia Coca-Cola-Glazed Baked Ham, to Mississippi Spice-Stuffed Ham. This book is a culinary adventure through Dixie.
A North Carolina native, Villas presents family recipes from home kitchens like Aunt Bunny's Bacon and Sausage Souffé, and Maw Maw's Mustard Pork Chops and Dumplings in Cider. He also includes recipes from best-loved restaurants such as the original Louis Osteen's on Pawley's Island and Crook's Corner in Chapel Hill.
True Southerners pride themselves on letting no part of the pig go to waste. To satisfy their needs, and those of more adventurous cooks, Villas devotes an entire chapter to "Variety and Specialty Meats." Recipes involving crackiins, chitlins, and trotters abound.
As in all of James Villas' acclaimed cookbooks, Pig is more than just a collection of recipes; it's an authoritative tome with the fascinating culture and sometimes centuries-old history explained for nearly every recipe, making this cookbook truly as interesting to read as it is to cook from. Scattered throughout are "Pig Pickin's"—fascinating factoids and quotes that represent all things Pig (or, for those in the know, a 'cue ritual guaranteed to feed a crowd).
In addition to the recipes, there is a head-to-tail Southern Pig Primer, a glossary of cooking terms, as well as informative tips and sidebars throughout. With mouth-watering full-color photography and recipes from Maryland to Louisiana and everywhere in between, Pig is the definitive cookbook on the king of the Southern table.
James Villas was the food and wine editor of Town & Country magazine for 27 years, and his work has appeared in Esquire, Food & Wine, Gourmet, Bon Appétit, the New York Times, and many other publications. He has written fifteen cookbooks and books on food, two of which were included in Food & Wine's annual "Best of the Best" and three that were finalists for James Beard Book Awards. He has won two James Beard Journalism Awards, most recently for an article in Saveur in 2007, and was named Bon Appétits Food Writer of the Year in 2003.
This page created September 2010
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