Friday, December 15, 2006

Foodies & Pigs in News & Reviews

There's a nice article by Sara Dickerman, the food and dining editor at Seattle Magazine, in Slate that addresses the recent fetishization of the pig by food writers. You can find a link to her article here. She's right to call attention to what she calls "the piggy confessional," in which the killing and/or eating of a pig is used as a point of entry into larger discussions of contemporary food production and consumption. She fails to note, though, the frequently nostalgic if not elegiac tone of many of these writers who are using the pig as a tool to critique modern agricultural capitalism. While I think Dickerman puts too much stock in the Jewish and Muslim food taboos as an explanation for what she sees as a current cultural obsession with pigs and pork, her essay is certainly worth taking a look at.

Dickerman's piece, apparently timed for today's release of the new film version of Charlotte's Web (about which more later) doesn't mention the recent New York Times essay about Au Pied du Cochon--The Album, a cookbook produced by Martin Picard and the staff of his restaurant in Montreal. I had a chance to eat there over the summer, but as a vegetarian was unwilling to try his pig dishes. The illustration for this post comes from the cookbook, which is illustrated by Tom Tassel, one of the waiters at Au Pied. Apparently the book has sold out of its first printing, so you might not be able to grab a copy for the foodie on your holiday list. There are plenty of other suggestions, however, in the Slate article.


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