The Neatest Little Paper Ever Read ®

Issue 974

Fabulous Food


Time to cook up some pork facts during National Pork Month!

• Pork is the most commonly consumed meat worldwide, accounting for about 38% of meat production. China accounts for more than half of the world’s pork consumption. The average person will eat 28 pigs over the course of a lifetime.

• In 1959, eight pigs were required to produce 1,000 lbs. of pork. Today, it takes only five pigs to reach that weight.

• Bacon is taken from the sides, belly, or back of the pig, followed up by curing or smoking the meat. If you hear the term “rasher” of bacon, it’s the British term for an individual slice of bacon, while a “flitch” is a side of unsliced bacon. It’s one of the oldest processed meats in history, with records of the Chinese salting pork belly clear back in 1500 B.C. Bacon accounts for one-third of all pork consumed, with over 2 billion pounds produced annually in the United States.

• There are some pretty unusual pork dishes served around the world. In Ireland, cooks serve up Crubeens, a dish of boiled pigs’ feet that are battered and fried. The Germans like Eisbein, consisting of boiled pickled ham hocks. In the Philippines, Hamanodo is prepared by cooking pork in pineapple juice. America’s Pennsylvania Dutch have been making scrapple for centuries. Scrapple is a mush of pork scraps and trimmings mixed with cornmeal or wheat flour and a variety of spices. It’s formed into a loaf and sliced, then pan-fried. Every little scrap of meat left over from butchering was added into scrapple, thus avoiding any waste.

• Pork blood soup may not sound too appetizing to some folks. As the name implies, it uses coagulated pork blood as its main ingredient, along with pig intestines, livers, and hearts, barley, and herbs. Another equally appetizing food known as livermush is served in the southern United States, a mixture of pig’s head parts, liver, and cornmeal.

• Fans of Chinese food might know that moo shu pork is made of sliced pork tenderloin, cucumber, scrambled eggs, and mushrooms, stir fried in a sesame or peanut oil, and seasoned with ginger, garlic, scallions, soy sauce, and rice cooking wine.

• Since its introduction by the Hormel Corporation in 1937, more than 8 billion cans of SPAM have been sold. It’s available in 44 countries worldwide. SPAM is a mixture of chopped pork shoulder and ham, with some added sugar and potato starch.

• Around 1835, Cincinnati, Ohio became known as “Porkopolis,” when it opened that state’s first slaughterhouse, and exported huge quantities of salt pork to every area of the country. By 1840, there were 48 hog packing plants there, employing 1,200 men.

• Jewish and Muslim dietary law forbids the consumption of pork for religious reasons. In fact, its sale is illegal in certain Muslim countries.

• Humans can be infected with Trichinella roundworms when they ingest inadequately cooked pork that contains the worms’ larvae. But it’s not just pork than contains the nematodes – wild game and even walruses can contain the larvae. Within days of eating the larvae, gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, and vomiting occur. Without treatment, trichinosis can lead to heart failure. Although most have a complete recovery, muscle pain and weakness can persist. Pork on the grocer’s shelf stamped “USDA Certified” means the meat has been treated for Trichinella.