“Pig – King of the Southern Table”

1 May

We were genuinely excited to receive a review copy of this beautiful new cookbook. It offers up great porcine-centered recipes for any true lover of the mighty Southern hog. James Villas, the natilly attired former Food and Wine Editor at Town and Country,  has obviously put together a winner. Yes, a rather unlikely source — you might think. Town and Country is not exactly a source we mention very often around here. Classy magazine, but not exactly our target audience.  Villas, on the other hand, has already authored The Bacon Cookbook, Biscuit Bliss and Crazy for Casseroles. Feeling any better now? And who, I ask you, can resist 300 pork recipes from a native North Carolinian? Not this guy! 

I flipped through this 424-page beauty and targeted several must-try recipes. These included Outer Banks Muddle (“a mess of fish”), Sherried Ham and Squash Casserole, Betty Jane’s Braised Pork Chops with Port Gravy, Tarpon Springs Greek Burgers, Florida Mango & Prune Stuffed Pork Loin, and a curious breakfast dish known as the Kentucky Scramble.

It all adds up to one fine collection of dishes from a high-brow dandy who has surely not forgotten, nor forsaken, his downhome Dixie roots. Pig out, y’all! 

From Publishers Weekly

If pig is indeed king, then there is trouble at the castle, for Villas (Dancing in the Lowcountry) has stormed the gates and had at him, leaving no sweetbread, shoulder, or chop untasted. So let the commoners rejoice: here are 300 recipes from Southern hog heaven that are juicy, flirtatious, and, at times, scary. Brave hearts will want to immediately dive into the Variety and Special Meats chapter for some deviled pork liver; hog’s head stew; and brains and eggs. The upper crust might prefer a pork pie. Choices include spicy Tennessee sausage; Pork, Apple and Raisin; or Bacon and Corn.
 
A section on barbecue and ribs includes both North and South Carolina styles of BBQ and half a dozen sparerib options. And where lesser authors might stray off-topic when moving to side dishes, Villas, with 13 cookbooks and two James Beard awards under his belt, knows better. All 39 vegetable and rice dishes are chock full of oink, from the mushy turnips with bacon and pork to the slab bacon hoppin’ John.
 
Similarly, there are 20 breads that are decidedly not fat-free. That other Southern king, Elvis, would surely have appreciated the bacon-peanut butter muffins, perhaps chased down with a lard hoecake or some bacon-grease hush puppies.
 
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