What kind of work do pigs do after school? Hamwork.

Pigs are so nice that there are countless funny jokes about them. We grew fond of them, in fact they have been with us for more than seven thousand years, since the Neolithic era when men stopped being nomads and decided to raise cereals and pigs. The prodrome of the first ham sandwich.

The humans made an agreement with the pigs: “I keep you close to me and feed you. You are omnivorous so you won’t be a big burden to me. When you grow up and get fat, I’ll kill you and you’ll feed me.” Not exactly fair, but it has been like this since then, with some disagreements typical of couples living together.

It’s true, they roll around in the mud, but they do it to protect their skin from various parasites and from the sun, mostly in the case of particularly rosy skin. In reality they are very intelligent mammals, easily tamed, so much that they become pets, becoming attached to their humans. And this occurs also with “wild” breeds such as the Cinta Senese in Tuscany or the Mangalica in East Europe.

Raising even one pig was like setting aside a small capital, which was then collected in winter, by butchering and preserving the various pieces. A piggy bank. And it is no coincidence that piggy banks have always been shaped like piglets.

But what can be obtained from a pig? In a word: everything! So claimed in 1594 Giulio Cesare Croce in his “L’eccellenza e il trionfo del porco” (literally “The excellence and the triuph of the pork”) an historical, intellectual but pleasant book about pork.  

Educating yourself in taste also means learning more about different gastronomic cultures. As in the case of the pig, a truly irreplaceable animal, with which we will travel in the kitchens of the ancient Republic of Venice, South America and the Far East.

Pork has always been well valued in the territories of the Maritime Republic of Venice. Each farmer had his own pig, which was considered a low-cost asset; moreover, at the time of slaughter, it had nothing to discard, not even the bristles and the blood (which was cooked to prepare a dessert).

Mexican cuisine, inspiration for the taco ripe, is considered the “mother of all Latin American cuisines”. It has in the pantry a truly unique variety of ingredients that the Mayans and Aztecs already liked, such as corn, beans and chili. These ingredients are used together with avocado, green cherry tomatoes (tomatillos), lots of spices, tasty dairy products and of course chocolate, combined with savory dishes in the form of sauce. The dishes are also prepared using the leaves that coat meat and fish. Tortillas are recipes that have crossed the borders of overseas, as well as enchilladas and tacos.

In Thai cuisine there are basically four categories of flavours: spicy, sweet, salty and sour. A journey of taste made with pork salad, balanced and with the right contrast between the spicy of the shallot and the sweetness of the meat, between the salty of the fish sauce and the acidity of the lime.
Who knows if that Sapiens, who so much wanted a ham sandwich in the Neolithic, would have imagined all of this.

Anna Maria Pellegrino
Gastronome and Foodblogger

(Porsè’lo al latte) 
Among the very different ways of cooking pork (roast, pan-fried, grilled, etc.) the most original is undoubtedly the one described below, because the result is a very tasty, delicate and unusual dish, worthy of being preserved also in this times when people are taking care a lot of dietary balance. (from the Venetian recipe book “A Tavola con i Dogi”)

DOSES for 2/3 people
COURSE: main dish
LEVEL: minimum

400 g Etrusca al Whisky
50 g clarified butter
1,2 litre milk (or enough to completely cover the meat)
a bouquet garni
a few juniper berries
pepper in grains
smoked salt

Once the pork has been removed from the protective wrapping, tie it with kitchen string.

Melt the butter in a saucepan and brown the pork on all sides. Add the bouquet garni, the spices, a pinch of fine salt and cover the pork with the milk, simmering for an hour on low heat with the pan half covered.

Turn the pork over from time to time, making sure that the bottom of the pan does not dry out too much: when cooked, the milk must have reduced to a thick gravy. Pass it through a strainer and thicken it, if necessary.
Cut the pork into slices and serve with a drizzle of the sauce.pork-with-milk
In 2010 UNESCO attributed to Mexican cuisine the title of intangible heritage of humanity, because of its very high cultural value and gastronomic tradition contaminated and handed down over the centuries. The taco is an exampled of this: the wrapper made with corn, a cereal that the Andean populations considered sacred, is prepared with techniques that are lost in the mists of time and with infinite variations.

DOSES for 4 people
COURSE: starter
LEVEL: minimum

8/12 ready-made tacos
400 g di Etrusca al Whisky
2/4 red onion (like Tropea type)
a small bunch of minced basil
tabasco sauce
extra virgin olive oil
mixed green salad 

2 very ripe avocados
2 limes
1 tomato
1 tea spoon of fresh coriander 

Brown the pork in a hot pan for 2 minutes, transfer it to an oiled pan and cook in the preheated static oven at 180° for 15 minutes. Take it out of the oven and let it rest for 15 minutes wrapping it in aluminium foil. Slice and then cut into julienne strips.

Slice the red onions and sauté them in a saucepan with extra virgin olive oil, add the basil and adjust the taste with salt and a few drops of tabasco sauce. 

Cut the tomato into wedges and remove the seeds. Peel the avocados, remove the stone, mash the pulp with a fork and sprinkle with the juice of a lime. Transfer the avocado and the tomato into a bowl, season with salt and coriander.
Stuff the tacos with the pork, onions, guacamole sauce and a few green leaves. tacos-recipes
The perfect combination of textures and flavours is undoubtedly one of the most exciting characteristics of Southeast Asian cuisine, like the scents you will discover with this dish. 

DOSES for 3/4 people
COURSE: starter or main dish
LEVEL: minimum
COOKING TIME: 30 minutes 

400 g Etrusca al Whisky
1 large cucumber
4 shallots
2 limes, the juice
2 small branch of coriander, the leaves
2 small branch of mint, the leaves
50 g cashews or toasted peanuts
4 spoons of vinegar
1 spoon of sugar
2 spoons of ready-made fish sauce

Brown the pork in a hot pan for 2 minutes, transfer it to a pan brushed with oil and cook in the preheated static oven at 200° for 13 - 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and blast chill (cool).

Coarsely chop the peanuts or cashews. Finely slice the shallots, peel the cucumber, remove the seeds and slice it into thin strips: transfer the vegetables to a small bowl. Get the juice out of the limes and mix it into the fish sauce. 

In a saucepan, heat the vinegar and sugar over a low heat, bring to the boil and pour it over the vegetables. Deglaze the pork cooking liquid with the lime and fish juice, filter and add it to the vegetables. Slice the pork. 

Just before serving, arrange the slices of pork, the vegetables with the dressing, a few mint and/or coriander leaves and a sprinkle of peanuts or cashews on the plate. salad-recipes