Pork is eaten in various forms, including cooked (as roast pork), cured or smoked (ham, including the Italian Prosciutto) or a combination of these methods (bacon, gammon or Pancetta). It’s also a common ingredient of sausages.
Pork recipes rank as the most consumed meat in the world despite being considered taboo by two major world religions (Judaism and Islam). Pigs were probably domesticated before any other meat animal because they are known to be less picky about what they eat, which fit in to the more hand-to-mouth lifestyle of early people.
In the past it was accepted that if pork was left undercooked, you left yourself at risk. This is no longer true as long as you buy your raw meat from a grocery store. The danger was from ‘trichinosis’, a parasite that cooking destroyed. But commercial pigs are now inspected for the parasite and it’s no longer in the foodchain of the animals, so you can safely allow a bit of pink to remain in your pork chops. Rare pork recipes are not common for this reason, however. Expect comments if you serve it less than overcooked.
The Other White Meat was a highly successful advertising campaign meant to convince consumers that pork is a ‘white meat’ in the same sense that fish, chicken, and other poultry is, and therefore healthier than ‘red meat’, such as beef.
While it’s true that pork when cooked is paler in colour than beef, it isn’t, strictly speaking, a ‘white meat’. However, pig breeders have produced a much leaner meat than was common a generation ago, so if you like it and are watching your weight, institute proper portion control and enjoy it.
Pork recipes are a frequent feature in Asian recipes and German cooking. It pairs well with cabbage, mainly in the form of sauerkraut and potatoes, and can be complemented with a fruit sauce, such as orange or raisin.