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Pork, although not so much used in the fresh state as beef, mutton, lamb, etc., is extensively employed in the preparation of food. It is cut somewhat like mutton, but into more parts. Fresh young pork should be firm; the fat white, the lean a pale reddish color and the skin white and clear. When the fat is yellow and soft the pork is not of the best quality. After pork has been salted, if it is corn-fed, the fat will be of a delicate pinkish shade. When hogs weighing three and four hundred pounds are killed, the fat will not be very firm, particularly if they are not fed on corn.

The amount of salt pork purchased at a time depends upon the mode of cooking in each family. If bought in small quantities it should be kept in a small jar or tub, half filled with brine, and a plate, smaller round than the tub, should be placed on top of the meat to press it under the brine.

The parts into which the hog is cut are called leg, loin, rib piece, shoulder, neck, flank, brisket, head and feet. The legs and shoulders are usually salted and smoked. The loin of a large hog has about two or three inches of the fat cut with the rind. This is used for salting, and the loin fresh for roasting. When, however, the hog is small, the loin is simply scored and roasted. The ribs are treated the same as the loin, and when the rind and fat are cut off are called spare-ribs. This piece makes a sweet roast. Having much more bone and less meat than the loin, it is not really any cheaper, although sold for less. The loin and ribs are both used for chops and steaks. The flank and brisket are corned. The head is sold while fresh for head-cheese, or is divided into two or four parts and corned, and is a favorite dish with many people. The feet are sometimes sold while fresh, but are more frequently first pickled.

The fat taken from the inside of the hog and also all the trimmings are cooked slowly until dissolved. This, when strained and cooled, is termed lard. Many housekeepers buy the leaf or clear fat and try it out themselves. This is the best way, as one is then sure of a pure article.


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