Pig/Pork explores the love-hate relationship between humans and pigs through the lenses of archaeology, biology, history and gastronomy, providing a close and affectionate look at the myriad causes underlying this multi-millennial bond. What is it that people in all four corners of the world find so fascinating about the pig? When did the human obsession with pigs begin, how did it develop through time, and where is it heading? Why are pigs so special to some of us, but not to others?
Pig/Pork sets out to answer these and other porcine-related questions, examining human-pig interactions across the globe through time, from the Palaeolithic to the present day. The book dissects pig anatomy and behaviour, and describes how this knowledge plays a major role in the advance of the agricultural and medical sciences, among others.
The book also looks closely at the history of pig-human interaction; how they were domesticated and when, how they affected human history through their diseases, and how they have been involved in centuries of human conflicts. All this is accompanied by a liberal peppering of pork recipes and the stories behind them, along with facts, wisdom and porker lore, providing a thought-provoking account of where our food comes from, both historically and agriculturally, and how this continues to influence many parts of our behaviour and culture.
Pía Spry-Marqués gained her PhD in archaeology from the University of Cambridge, where she now works as a web and communications officer. Her research took her across Europe and across time, from the late Iron Age back to the Ice Ages, identifying, classifying and decoding the meaning of animal remains in human-associated deposits. Originally from Spain, Pía is predisposed to a keen understanding, awareness and love of the pig and the many tasty pork products that are so much a part of Spanish cuisine.
"Pig/Pork is an intriguing trot through our long partnership with our porcine pals."
– New Scientist
"An important and in-depth history of humankind's relationship with the pig that makes you think very carefully about eating pork."
– Louise Gray, author of The Ethical Carnivore
"Love them, loathe them or positively abominate them, pigs have been central to human cultures since the dawn of civilisation. This book is a feast for anyone who wishes to comprehend how two mammals' histories have been so deliciously and, in recent times, disastrously intertwined."
– Tristram Stuart, author of Waste and founder of Feedback