Pork is the best most versatile meat protein, especially – dare I say it – when it comes from pasture-raised pigs.
For the purposes of this commentary however, I won’t further debate the relative flavour and welfare issues that surround different pork production systems.
I’ll leave that for another day.
While I’ve been convinced of the relative merits of pork as a meat protein source for decades, increasingly I’ve become a dedicated adopter in my kitchen over the past couple of years.
As for most Australian household kitchens, mine too has begun to feel the voracious appetite of inflation.
While food inflation has bitten almost everything over the past six months – fuelled by the simple economics of rising interest rates plus considerable climate change induced on-farm disasters that have savaged productivity – pork has long been the winner when stacked up against its traditional four-legged meat protein opponents of beef and lamb.
Pork is better priced and better value per kilogram by a proverbial protein mile than those two.
It also happens to be more consistent when it comes to flavour and truer to type when it comes to delivering what particular cuts are supposed to offer.
For me, this has joyously meant spending less time at the handy-teller or paying off the credit card and more time spent in the kitchen cooking pork products.
A personal pork pictorial accompanies this month’s column, written early while I spent time in far north Queensland – not fighting feral pigs to keep the lid on foot and mouth disease – simply holidaying in a part of Australia where I lived for a time in the early 1980s.
While in far north Queensland and dining at various eating establishments – including one much anticipated meal at Nautilus, the iconic Port Douglas restaurant where the third dish of a five-course degustation is roasted pork belly with Hokkaido scallops, coconut and galangal sauce and mandarin – I’ll be sampling as much pork as I can get my trotters on.
Yum yum, pig’s bum.
Even when out and about for a Saturday morning coffee – as I was recently – I’m always keen to chase down anything with a pork pedigree.
Such was the case a few weekends back when a $12 continental panini roll overflowing with mortadella, coppa and salami topped off my topped up macchiato to perfection.
Moments after I’d hand plucked most of the meat from one half of the roll, I still managed to ask the staff about the origins of the meat – albeit drooling.
To my surprise and pleasure, as a generational fan of D’Orsogna’s continental smallgoods, I was told it was a D’Orsogna trifecta.
As the D’Orsogna familia would say, it was ‘delizioso’.
A long-time advocate of food and pork provenance, I can tell you that D’Orsogna’s Western Australia headquarters and factory was only five minutes down the road.
When kitchen-bound these days and having been around the block for more decades than I care to count, I concede the need for balancing the diet.
Hence I try to complement my pork cook-ups with liberal additions of healthy vegetables and harmonious salads.
Please note the vegetable preparation picture showing what balanced my slow-cooked pork the other week.
Good diets are about balance, this is why we must all make every effort to plate up pork whenever possible.
As principally, pork pairs perfectly with practically everything!