Oink for ‘Pig’

North Carolina native James Villas has written several books on Southern food in knowledgeable, graceful

'pig: king of the southern table' by james villas

'pig: king of the southern table' by james villas

style. He brings the same qualities to his newest cookbook, “Pig: King of the Southern Table” (John Wiley & Sons, &34.95).

The title says it all – this is the complete book on the South’s love of pork. Despite the current popularity of bacon, “Pig” is refreshingly free of trendiness (no bacon ice cream here). From bourbon-glazed pork chops to pig pickin’s, from spoon bread with country ham to Mississippi Crusted Pigs’ Ears (yes, ears), it goes whole hog. Villas does not flinch from writing about the less attractive parts – chitlins, hog’s head, pig liver – that sustained Southerners in earlier days. They’re all part of the history in a land where, during many decades of deprivation, folks really did eat “everything but the squeal.”

The book is a classic that I can see dipping into over and over. I tried the Sullivan’s Island Bacon and Shrimp Bog last night, and the clearly written, simple recipe was the perfect mid-week meal. And Villas had the good sense to dedicate the book to my buddy Kathleen Purvis. What more do you need?

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