Difference between revisions of "Pork"

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[[Image:Pork.jpg|thumb|300px|Hormel Pork Loin Filets]]
:''This article is on meat. For the political term, see [[pork barrel]].''
'''Pork''' is [[meat]] from the [[pig]].  While it is one of the most common meats consumed by the [[China|Chinese]] and [[European]]s, and to some extent [[North America]]ns, it is not considered [[kosher]] under [[Islam]]ic and [[Orthodox Judaism|Orthodox Jewish]] law.
==Varieties of pork==
Pork from the haunch of the pig is called [[Ham (meat)|ham]]. [[Bacon]] is taken from the sides, back, or belly, and is extremely popular in the US as breakfast food. Pork intestines are called chitterlings or chitlings.  Other eaten parts include pork shoulder, [[pork chop]]s, pork neckbones, and pigs' feet.  Pork is very high in [[thiamin]].
Pork is particularly common as an ingredient of [[sausage]].  [[Chorizo]], [[fuet]], and [[salami]] are sausages typically made with pork.  [[Scrapple]] is another aggregate meat-food derived from pigs.
In the [[United States]], some pork products figured prominently in the traditional diets of poor southerners, such as pigs' feet, hog jowls, and other parts not wanted by wealthy southerners, because they were both available to them and affordable for the very poor. (See [[soul food]]).
Pork products are often cured by salt ([[pickle|pickling]]) and [[smoking (food)|smoking]]. The portion most often given this treatment is the ham, or [rear] haunch of the pig; pork shoulder, or front haunch, is also sometimes [[curing|cured]] in this manner.
==The pork taboo==
Both [[Muslim|Muslim dietary laws]] and Orthodox [[Judaism|Jewish]] ([[Kashrut]]) dietary laws forbid pork, making it a [[taboo meat]]. There are several explanations for this.
[[Maimonides]] was the first to point that these dietary restrictions may have been created to prevent [[trichinosis]], which can be caught from undercooked pork.
Others point to pigs being unclean, but pigs like to bathe frequently to keep cool. It's when they don't find water that they have to use mud or their own [[feces]]. Other meat beasts are as dirty as pigs.
For others, the restriction is arbitrary, a way to test the faith.
The [[Cultural materialism|cultural materialistic]] anthropologist [[Marvin Harris]] thinks that the main reason was ecological-economical. Pigs require water and shade woods with seeds, but those conditions are scarce in Israel and Arabia. They cannot forage grass like [[ruminant]]s. They compete then with humans for expensive grain.
Hence a [[Middle East]]ern society keeping large stocks of pigs would destroy their ecosystem. Harris points out how, while the sedentary Hebrews are also forbidden to eat [[camel]]s and fish without scales, [[Arab]] [[nomad]]s couldn't afford to starve in the desert while having camels around.
He also points to [[Albania]] where a cycle is established: Christians keep pigs and live in the oak woods. Muslims keep [[goat]]s and live in denuded places. The goats maintain this status by eating saplings.
===Archaeological significance===
The relevance of the pork taboo for archaeologists is that the teeth of cooked pigs are highly resilient to biodegradation. This facilitates the pinpointing of the moment at which Islam took hold, for example, at points along the Indonesian archipelago. Plentiful pig's teeth are found in digs of pre-Islamic settlements. Pig's teeth disappear from the traces as soon as Islam is adopted. See [[Maluku]] for a case in point.
==External links==
*[http://www.otherwhitemeat.com/ The Other White Meat], a pork advocacy site by the US National Pork Board
*[http://strivinglife.net/gavin/jewsabstainfrompork.htm Why Do Jews Abstain From Pork?]
*[http://www.nppc.org/ National Pork Producers Council]
*[http://www.virtualweberbullet.com/meatcharts.html Many different meat cut charts] ([http://web.archive.org/web/20040324104236/http%3A//www.virtualweberbullet.com/meatcharts.html Internet Archive version])

Revision as of 14:48, 6 April 2005