Today, Valentine’s Day, I finally obtained something that has been the object of my lust and desire for quite some time now. I am infatuated with it, I am in love with it, I never want to part from it. It is my new cookbook, Pork & Sons, which — complete with pink gingham cover — serendipitously arrived in the mail today, my porky little valentine.
After all, who wants chocolates or roses when they could have pork? Or at least this kind of pork.
I’m talking about the kind presented in this beautiful, beautiful, enticing book. Written by third-generation French butcher Stéphane Reynaud and produced in a gorgeous volume by the art publisher Phaidon, this book is actually viscerally thrilling. The first 45 pages — called “Pig-Killing Time at Saint-Agreve” — describe Reynaud’s family, his town, his friends, and the roles they all play in the butchering process. The next 300 pages give recipes from his restaurant, each illustrated with a full-page color photo and covering the varied categories of barbecued pork, ham, pates and terrines, wild boar, and blood sausage. I have never been much of a fan of blood sausage, but I would give it another go in Reynaud’s hands. Every recipe looks amazing, and all the directions are short and sweet, as are the adorable pig cartoons that run throughout. No wonder this book was an immediate bestseller in France, where it also won the French Gourmand Cookbook Award. The hardest part is going to be picking the first thing to cook, although I will probably steer clear of the Stuffed Pig’s Ears. But it has a recipe for Stuffed Pig’s Ears! How amazing is that?