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Friday, October 21, 2011


PIG (Reaktion Books, 2011; distr. Univ. of Chicago Press, 224 pages,
ISBN 978-1-86189-805-0, $19.95 US paper covers) is by Brett Mizelle, an
academic in California. His book is one of the amazing "Animal" series
published by Reaktion in the UK. Most of the series deal with animals
we do not eat, such as Cat, Dog, Giraffe, Parrot and Whale.
Domesticated animals have included Cow and Duck, plus farmed animals
such as Salmon and Moose. This is the popular culture story of the Pig:
dealing with historical and literary items such as Three Little Pigs or
Miss Piggy, food rules. Relationship with humans are also covered,
breeds, wild boars, and the like. There is separate chapter on meat,
including SPAM. And it has been richly illustrated with both colour and
black and white historical photos and drawings, older advertisements,
and just plain whimsy. There is even detail on the use of pigs as
subjects in medical research. At the end, Mizelle has an illustrated
timeline of the pig, endnotes, select bibliography, a listing of
associations and periodicals, websites, and an index. This is
compelling reading.
Audience and level of use: those interested in food lore and history.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: "In preparations for the
2007-8 Year of the Pig in China, images of pigs were banned from
appearing on state-run Chinese television 'to avoid conflicts with
ethnic minorities'".
Quality/Price Rating: 90.

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