AskDefine | Define pork

Dictionary Definition

pork

Noun

1 meat from a domestic hog or pig [syn: porc]
2 a legislative appropriation designed to ingratiate legislators with their constituents [syn: pork barrel]

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Etymology

From French porc < Latin porcus, pig

Pronunciation

Noun

pork
  1. the meat of a pig.
  2. (American political slang) funding proposed or requested by a member of Congress for special interests or his/her constituency as opposed to the good of the country as a whole.

Derived terms

Related terms

Translations

meat of a pig.

Verb

  1. To have sex (with someone)

Extensive Definition

Pork is the culinary name for meat from the domestic pig (Sus scrofa), often specifically the fresh meat but can be used as an all-inclusive term. It is one of the most commonly consumed meats worldwide, with evidence of pig husbandry dating back to 5000 BC.
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 (gammon, bacon or Pancetta). It is also a common ingredient of sausages. As with beef in Hinduism, pork consumption is taboo in Islam, Judaism, Rastafarianism and Adventism.

Etymology

The term as it refers to the (fresh) flesh of a pig dates from the Middle English, derived from the French porc and Latin porcus "pig". It was one of almost 500 French words pertaining to cooking, food or eating that had entered English usage after the Norman Conquest.

History

The pig is one of the oldest forms of livestock, having been domesticated as early as 5000 BC. It is believed to have been domesticated either in the Near East or in China from the wild boar. The adaptable nature and omnivorous diet of this creature allowed early humans to domesticate it much earlier than many other forms of livestock, such as cattle. Pigs were mostly used for food, but people also used their hide for shields and shoes, their bones for tools and weapons, and their bristles for brushes. Pigs have other roles within the human economy: their feeding behaviour in searching for roots churns up the ground and makes it easier to plough; their sensitive noses lead them to truffles, an underground fungus highly valued by humans; and their omnivorous nature enables them to eat human rubbish, keeping settlements cleaner than they would otherwise have been.
Before the mass-production and re-engineering of pork in the 20th Century, pork in Europe and North America was traditionally an autumn dish; pigs and other livestock coming to the slaughter in the autumn after growing in the spring and fattening during the summer. Due to the seasonal nature of the meat in Western culinary history, apples (harvested in late summer and autumn) have been a staple pairing to fresh pork. The year-round availability of meat and fruits has not diminished the popularity of this combination on Western plates.

Consumption patterns

Pork is the most widely eaten meat in the world, providing about 38 percent of daily meat protein intake worldwide, although consumption varies widely from place to place. This is despite religious restrictions on the consumption of pork and the prominence of beef production in the West. Pork consumption has been rising for thirty years, both in actual terms and in terms of meat-market share.
According to the USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service, nearly 100 million metric tons of pork were consumed worldwide in 2006 (preliminary data). Increasing urbanization and disposable income has led to a rapid rise in pork consumption in China, where 2006 consumption is 20% higher than in 2002, and a further 5% increase projected in 2007.
2006 worldwide pork consumption

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

bacon, butt, chitterlings, cochon de lait, cracklings, fat back, favors of office, flitch, gammon, ham, ham steak, haslet, headcheese, jambon, jambonneau, lard, melon, patronage, picnic ham, pieds de cochon, pig, plum, political patronage, pork barrel, porkpie, salt pork, side of bacon, small ham, sowbelly, suckling pig, trotters
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