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Pork PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sally Fallon Morell   
Monday, 10 October 2011 18:41

"Dear WAPF," began the hand-written note, "We are cancelling our membership because of the Foundation's stand against eating pork. Your prejudice against pork hurts hard-working farmers."

This letter has languished in my files for several years as I considered how to answer what I call the "pork dilemma." On the one hand, several practitioners of live blood cell analysis have told me that eating pork causes undesirable changes in the blood; on the other hand, pork was consumed by healthy Polynesian and Melanesian groups which Dr. Price visited and described; and pork is a major food in the diets of long-lived peoples such as the Okinawans and Caucasian Georgians. Equally important is the fact that raising pork fits so well into the model of an integrated farm. If the farmer is making cheese (from grass-fed cows, of course), he can give the whey, considered a waste product, to the pigs and chickens. Many farmers have told me that it is the pigs, more than any other product, that brings prosperity to the farm, even if they are raised on purchased grain.

A clue to the dilemma came from a Chinese member of WAPF. "In China," he told me, "we prepare pork in a special way, otherwise we think it is unhealthy." The preparation technique involves cutting pork into small pieces and marinating it in vinegar before cooking it in pork fat. "When we prepare pork this way," he said, "we know that it is good for us." Pork and pork fat together form the number one source of calories in the traditional Chinese diet.

Pork is traditionally marinated in vinegar in the Philippines and in Argentina; in Europe it is fermented or cured; even America has her tradition of pickled pigs' feet and vinegar-marinated barbecue.

At last we have been able to bring some finality to the question with the live blood analyses of Beverly Rubik (see article page 24). Her study indicates that plain pork meat indeed causes undesirable changes in the blood, accompanied by fatigue, but pork that has been marinated, fermented or cured does not. This is indeed good news for farmers and bacon lovers!

Here is a collection of pork recipes from around the world that WAPF members can eat with confidence.

ADOBO

Serves 4-6

Adobo is a popular Filipino meat dish cooked in vinegar, soy sauce and garlic. Different regions cook the dish in varied ways, some like it saucy, others dry. This version comes from Agnes Bunagan, office worker at the Weston A. Price Foundation.

2 teaspoons salt or naturally fermented soy sauce

1 teaspoon crushed black peppercorns

1 tablespoon crushed garlic

1 cup raw apple cider vinegar

2 pounds pork belly, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 cup water

In a bowl, combine salt, peppercorn, garlic, and vinegar. Marinate pork pieces in this mixture for an hour, or better yet overnight. When ready to cook, pour water in the mixture, cover and let simmer over low heat until meat is tender.

A variation of this recipe calls for cooking the pork in pork fat rather than water, for a dish that is dryer. Adobo is best eaten with rice.

PORK CHOP CASSEROLE

Serves 4

4 large pork chops

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 cups brown rice

2 tablespoons fresh whey or vinegar

3 cups water

4 tablespoons lard

1 large onion, chopped

1 green pepper, seeded and chopped

3-4 tablespoons chili powder

1 large can chopped tomatoes

3 cups chicken broth

2 teaspoons dried oregano

sea salt to taste chopped

cilantro for garnish

  In the morning, place the rice, whey or vinegar and water in a jar. Close tightly and leave on the kitchen counter all day. Also in the morning, pound the pork chops with a meat hammer and place in a pyrex casserole with the vinegar. Marinate, refrigerated, throughout the day, turning occasionally.

Melt the lard in a cast iron or enamel casserole. Dry the pork chops well with paper towels and brown in the lard, two at a time, until well browned on both sides. Remove and set aside. Cook the onion and green pepper in the remaining fat until soft. Drain the rice through a strainer and add to the casserole. Cook about ten minutes, stirring frequently. Add the chili powder and stir into the rice and vegetables until well amalgamated. Add the tomatoes and stock and bring to a boil. Allow to boil uncovered until the liquid is reduced to the level of the rice. Season to taste with salt and place the pork chops on top of the rice.

Place in an oven set at 250 degrees with the top slightly ajar on the pan. Bake at this low temperature for about 1 1/2 hours or until the meat is completely tender and the rice is cooked through.

To serve, place rice and one pork chop on a plate and garnish with cilantro.

PROSCIUTTO AND MELON APPETIZER

Serves 4

This makes an elegant and easy appetizer; it's equally delicious served for lunch, perhaps with the addition of some thinly sliced Parmesan cheese.

Prosciutto is an Italian word for ham. In English, the term prosciutto usually refers to a dry-cured ham that is thinly sliced and served uncooked; this style is called prosciutto crudo in Italian and is distinguished from cooked ham, prosciutto cotto. The ham is rubbed with sea salt and allowed to age from nine months to two years, resulting in mellow, delicious flavors.

Be sure to have your prosciutto sliced for you, rather than purchase it pre-sliced in packages. Find a deli that will keep all the fat on the ham—some stores, like Whole Foods, cut the fat off, thereby wasting the most flavorful and nutritious part.

16 thin slices of freshly sliced prosciutto ham

1 ripe cantaloupe

2 limes

Cut the cantaloupe into wedges, rind removed. Cut the limes into quarters, lengthwise. Arrange the prosciutto slices artistically on 4 large plates with cantaloupe slices and lime wedges.

To eat the proscuitto, first squeeze lime juice on the melon and ham slices, then garnish with freshly ground black pepper.

CHICKEN LIVERS WRAPPED IN BACON

Makes 24

8 chicken livers from pastured chickens

8 pieces no-nitrate thinly sliced bacon

1 small can water chestnut slices

1 cup naturally fermented soy sauce

Trim the chicken livers, dry well and cut each into three pieces. Wrap each piece with one half slice of water chestnut and 1/3 piece of bacon, secured with a toothpick. Place in a baking dish and marinate refrigerated for several hours in the soy sauce.

To serve, place on a broiler pan and broil about five minutes per side or until the livers are cooked through.

Pork and Broccoli Stir Fry

Serves 4

1 pound pork, cut into small strips

1/2 cup vinegar (any type) 1 cup chicken stock

1/4 cup naturally fermented soy sauce

1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/4 cup rice or red wine vinegar

2 teaspoons Rapadura

2 tablespoons lard

1 bunch green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 red peppers, seeded and cut into thin strips

2 cups broccoli florets

1 tablespoon arrowroot dissolved in

1 tablespoon water

Place pork in a bowl with vinegar and marinate for several hours. Drain and dry well with paper towels. Mix stock, soy sauce, chile flakes, ginger, garlic, rice vinegar and Rapadura and set aside.

Heat lard in a cast iron skillet or wok over medium high heat. Stir fry pork until moisture evaporates and the pork browns. Add green onions, red peppers and broccoli and stir fry for several minutes, until vegetables soften slightly. Add sauce mixture and bring to a boil. Add arrowroot mixture and boil vigorously until sauce thickens. Serve immediately. This goes well with brown rice. (Recipe from Eat Fat Lose Fat.)

SHREDDED PORK

Makes about 4 cups

about 3 pounds pork butt or fatty pork meat, including organ meats such as heart

1 cup vinegar

1/2 cup lard

4 tablespoons chile powder

2 teaspoons dried oregano

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup tomato paste

2 cups beef or chicken broth

Cut pork into 1-inch cubes and marinate in vinegar about 24 hours, refrigerated. Dry cubes well and brown in hot lard in a large flame-proof casserole. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and place in a 350-degree oven, with the lid slightly askew so moisture can evaporate. Bake several hours until the liquid is reduced to about half. Shred the pork with a fork or knife. This is a great filling for tacos, burritos, enchiladas, tostados and other Mexican dishes.


SIDEBARS

THE RACTOPAMINE SCANDAL
Although banned in one hundred sixty countries, including China, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows the administration of a drug called ractopamine for pigs. Used in 45 percent of U.S. pigs, the drug increases protein synthesis at the expense of fat buildup in maturing pigs. Side effects include hyperactivity, muscle breakdown and mortality but farmers use it anyway to get pigs lean for today's fat-phobic market. Unlike growth-promoting antibiotics and hormones, which are withdrawn as the animal nears slaughter, ractopamine is started as the animal gets close to butchering day.
Handling instructions for ractopamine caution: "Not for use in humans. Individuals with cardiovascular disease should exercise special caution to avoid exposure. Use protective clothing, impervious gloves, protective eye wear and a NIOSH-approved dust mask." Yet FDA allows its use in meat in such a way that residues surely remain—up to 20 percent of ractopamine remains in the meat you buy from the supermarket, according to veterinarian Michael W. Fox. (The drug is also approved for confinement beef and turkeys.)
Of course, there are other reasons to avoid conventional pork, including the horrendous way that they are raised in confinement, a system that tortures the pig, demeans farm workers and pollutes the environment.
Be sure to seek out pork from conscientious farmers who allow their pigs to roam on pasture or in forest. In fact, pigs will clear out a forest floor, creating a savanna where cows can graze in hot summer months; and pigs build up nutritious, delicious fat from a diet of forest nuts and roots that otherwise go to waste. There is enough forest in the U.S. to raise our entire supply of pork, without a single cage or CAFO.

SALUMOTERAPIA
The latest health craze in Italy is salumoterapia or cured meat therapy. Hosteria da Ivan, outside the Italian town of Parma, has dedicated one room of the establishment to serve as a salumoterapia salon, where delicious cured meats are paired with fine wines and cheeses as a health-restorative formula. The salon is lined with crates of Champagne and Italian wines, while prosciutto, culatello and salami hang from the beamed ceiling. Guests sit around one big table. The treatment consists of deep breathing, eating and drinking. Participants are served a plate of choice salumi—sliced prosciutto, culatello, salami and Tuscan head cheese. They are then given large cloth napkins to be placed over their heads and the plate, allowing them to inhale the porky perfumes and stimulate the salivary glands and appetite. Remove napkin, taste salumi and drink sparking wine. Salumoterapia is followed by a superb four-course dinner, a treatment that guarantees a feeling of renewal!
Variations include prosciutto wraps, mortadella mask and lard massage. The mortadella mask involves putting one large slice of the cold cut, with holes removed for eyes, nose and mouth, over the face, as a skin softener. Prosciutto wrap is recommended for tennis elbow or knee problems. SOURCE: theatlantic.com, June 9, 2011.


This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Fall 2011.

About the Authors

[authorbio:fallon-morell-sally]

Comments (12)Add Comment
wine instead of vinegar
written by s., Sep 21 2012
wondering if red or white wine can replace vinegar in the marinade?
Can you marinate after cooking
written by Glenn Muir, Jun 21 2012
I read the fascinating WAP article showing how pork affects your blood. Is it possible to marinate pork after cooking and achieve the same effect as if done before? For example, could I cook a Boston butt, then pull or shred it and soak in a vinegar-based BBQ sauce for a day?
Lemon or Lime Juice vs. Vinegar
written by Gail, May 02 2012
Does anyone know if lemon or lime juice would work in place of vinegar? Is it the acid that brings the change or something else in the vinegar?
Do nitrates breakdown?
written by S H, Apr 26 2012
Some where on the internet I saw this opinion: Fermentation time & the hanging process in making salami allows nitrates added to the meat to break down to nitrous oxide? By the time the salami is eaten the nitrates are degraded. Does anyone know for sure?
preparing uncured sausages
written by Fiona, Mar 29 2012
Just took uncured pork sausages out to thaw. I'm assuming I can soak them in vinegar too. Thanks
Sorpotel - The national dish of Goans
written by Louise, Jan 18 2012
I am Goan by ancestry and the national dish loved by all Goans around the world is Sorpotel. Here is a little history of how this dish came to be. Pigs are common in Goa and a cheap source of protein. A few families would get together and buy and slaughter a whole pig. All the best parts were cooked either as roasts, curries, sausages and all the leftover parts, including the head and organs were boiled, cut into very small pieces and cooked in a very spicy and vinegary curry. This is Sorpotel. As many households did not have a fridge prior to the 1980s, this dish kept very well for several days and improved with age. There is a saying in Goa "that you can never put too much vinegar into a Sorpotel". I'd be happy to send you a recipe for this dish.
Mrs.
written by Gwen F Gordon, Dec 12 2011
I just made the shredded pork recipe and burnt it. Next time I'll drop the oven temp to 200 instead of 350 as that is the temperature I used in the past when I roasted a whole boston butt to make shredded pork. I wish I had kept a closer eye on it! Oh well, Gwen
Chris Masterjohn's opinion?
written by Ed., Dec 09 2011
I'd love to see Chris Masterjohn's opinion on vinegar-marinated pork vs unmarinated.
recipe adjustment
written by Cassi, Nov 03 2011
Forgot the 1 tsp dried yellow mustard in the spices part of the recipe.
recipe
written by Cassi, Oct 30 2011
For years our family did not consume pork- I noticed inflammation in my body whenever I ate it, and did not want to prepare it for my family. But all the while, I loved prosciutto, salami and bacon (not so much ham, unless it was from Italy) but couldn't take on pork.

Then my friend started working on a biodynamic farm, and I met the pigs. And it made so much sense to eat creatures that grow like that. I had already incorporated his pastured lard into our diet since reading Nourishing Traditions in 2006, and noticed that my kids and I preferred it to any other cooking fat. But after meeting our friends pig, I decided we'd start eating his pork as well.

My husband's BBQ recipe (the only way we eat pork!)
2 lbs pork cut into 1 inch cubes
1 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup tamari sauce (gluten-free in our house)
1/2 clove fresh garlic
1/4 cup molasses (the darker the better)
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ginger powder
toasted sesame oil

place chopped pork in bowl, put in vinegar, soy sauce and other ingredients, add water or broth to cover. for best flavor, let marinate overnight. place all ingredients in large skillet and bring to a simmer. let cook down until liquid is a thick sauce and meat is tender, adding flavor as you taste along the way. We prefer the meat cooked down with mushrooms for a richness.

serve with stir-fried veggies (using lard or bacon grease) and drizzle w/ sesame oil.

this dish is always a HUGE hit.
...
written by Mary Rad, Oct 23 2011
I had just ordered a family pack of pork from a local farmer when this issue of Wise Traditions came in the mail. I was so happy to get it and read both Sally's recipe article as well as Beverly Rubik's report of her study. I too, have been disappointed that there were no pork recipes in Nourishing Traditions. Thank-you for this information!
Rendering Lard
written by Missy, Oct 17 2011
I just put a local, small-farm raised pig in my freezer and when to Nourishing Traditions for some recipes and was so surprised not to find any. I'm glad you posted this so I understand why you didn't include any pork in your book and also glad for the recipes. What about rendering lard? I asked for the lard to be ground up so I could render it for cooking and also make soap from it. I'd love to know what you think about using lard in cooking.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 02 February 2012 19:06