Although I’m pretty hot on free-range farming for all meat, for some reason it is the humble pig that really gets my moral juices flowing. There’s something about their demeanour that is rather noble, and if you spend any time with them, you can’t fail to be struck by how intelligent they are. More intelligent than my manic pointers, and I cannot even conceive of locking them up in crates.
You might remember the ‘Jamie Saves our Bacon’ campaign in 2009, that highlighted the need to eat British, outdoor-reared pork. It was certainly effective – there has been a noticeable increase in British pork on the supermarket shelves since then, and the labeling has become a lot less confusing. But the problem isn’t fixed, and with astonishingly high feed prices, most pig farmers are now averaging a £10 loss on each pig they sell. Almost 70% surveyed said they were seriously considering giving up in the next 2 years if the situation didn’t improve. Which would mean a return to inhumane, flavourless, imported meat. Hardly ideal from a moral or a gastronomic standpoint.
So what can we do to help? Well, we can eat more British pork. Bangers, bacon, belly pork, pork loin, pork ribs, a slow-cooked shoulder or a quick-cooked steak. Boil it, barbie it, roast it or braise it, just eat and enjoy it, safe in the knowledge you’re doing good, and your meat will taste infinitely better than anything from Denmark. Even if they do have a catchy jingle.
And download the new recipe booklet ‘Choose it and use it’ from the Pigs Are Still Worth It campaign. It’s full of fabulous pork recipes from celebrity chefs of the likes of Raymond Blanc and Aldo Zilli. Or of course, you can log on to our little website for some of my own offerings in the pork recipe department.
Right, I’m going to step down from my soapbox. I’m off for a suckling pig sandwich at Taste of London…