Review: The Ginger Pig Meat Book by Tim Wilson and Fran Warde

Eggs On The Roof Reviews

The Ginger Pig Meat Book by Tim Wilson and Fran Warde

Pub­lished in hard­back on 7th May 2011 (Mitchell Beazley, £25.00)

Pho­to­graphy Kristin Perers

If I was a pig I’d like to grow up on one of Tim Wilson’s farms. The pink-cheeked and chubby York­shire farmer describes his book The Ginger Pig as a ‘meat manual for the inquis­it­ive domestic cook’. But it’s really an inspir­ing and often touch­ing pan­egyric to the joys of rear­ing happy, healthy animals.

Co-authored by the food writer Fran Warde, The Ginger Pig answers every ques­tion I can think of about live­stock, cuts of meat and how to cook them. It’s also a won­der­fully enter­tain­ing book that reveals the pas­sion, ded­ic­a­tion and hard labour that goes into pro­du­cing some of the country’s finest meat. Kristin Per­ers’ pho­to­graphs of the farms, the anim­als, the staff and the recipes are magnificent.

The book explains why super­mar­kets prefer to sell meat with flavour-enhancing bones removed — sharp bones pierce shrink-wrapped plastic pack­aging — and why meat dif­fers in fla­vour from sea­son to sea­son. It also includes endear­ing descrip­tions of the per­son­al­it­ies and char­ac­ter­ist­ics of dif­fer­ent animal breeds. The ‘small, chubby rears’ of Plum Pud­ding pigs appar­ently make excel­lent roasts and they’re ‘blessed with a sweet tem­pera­ment.’ The ‘skinny rears’ of the Large White breed don’t cut the mus­tard when it comes to ham but their long backs make for good bacon. The Blue­faced Leicester sheep hates bad weather, while the Black­face is the per­fect mother.

So appeal­ing do the authors make life on the farm sound, it’s easy to for­get how gruelling life can be. Tim’s diary puts that straight. In sum­mer his days start at 4.30 am and end after 10 pm. In the run up to Christ­mas Tim and his staff ful­fill orders for 1,000 tur­keys, 500 geese, 180 pigs, 80 lambs, 30 car­casses of beef and a moun­tain of pies, saus­ages, bacons and hams.

The Ginger Pig is peppered with over one hun­dred recipes, from spring roast lamb with oregano, to hog­get stew with capers and olives, to an alarm­ingly hearty trencherman’s Toad-in-the-hole packed with whole chicken breasts stuffed with saus­ages and tied together with rib­bons of bacon before being cooked in batter.

The busi­ness that star­ted with three Tam­worth pigs called Milli, Molly and Mandy and a boar called Dai Bando now has three farms in York­shire and four Lon­don butchers’ shops. The shops inspire such loy­alty that one cus­tomer at the Hack­ney branch com­mis­sioned a three tier meat pie for her wed­ding, instead of a cake. The bot­tom layer was a clas­sic pork pie, the middle sec­tion a chicken and bacon cre­ation and the top tier was mixed game topped with cran­ber­ries glossed in farm-made gelatine.

Rather touch­ingly, the man who has nur­tured lit­er­ally thou­sands of pigs, cattle, sheep and chick­ens con­cludes his book by say­ing rue­fully that he’s ‘spent so much of my life try­ing to pro­duce the per­fect animal that I may have for­got­ten to start my own fam­ily’. There’s a pho­to­graph in the book of him talk­ing to a six-week old Tam­worth pig­let, the breed after which The Ginger Pig was named. I swear the pig­let is say­ing ‘thanks Dad’.

The Ginger Pig

Eggs On The Roof Reviews


The Ginger Pig Meat Book by Tim Wilson and Fran Warde
Pub­lished in hard­back on 7th May 2011 (Mitchell Beazley, £25.00)
Pho­to­graphy Kristin Perers
If I was a pig I’d like to grow up on one of Tim Wilson’s farms. The pink-cheeked and chubby York­shire farmer describes his book The Ginger Pig as a ‘meat manual for the inquis­it­ive domestic cook’. But it’s really an inspir­ing and often touch­ing pan­egyric to the joys of rear­ing happy, healthy animals.
Co-authored by the food writer Fran Warde, The Ginger Pig answers every ques­tion I can think of about live­stock, cuts of meat and how to cook them. It’s also a won­der­fully enter­tain­ing book that reveals the pas­sion, ded­ic­a­tion and hard labour that goes into pro­du­cing some of the country’s finest meat. Kristin Per­ers’ pho­to­graphs of the farms, the anim­als, the staff and the recipes are magnificent.
The book explains why super­mar­kets prefer to sell meat with flavour-enhancing bones removed — sharp bones pierce shrink-wrapped plastic pack­aging — and why meat dif­fers in fla­vour from sea­son to sea­son. It also includes endear­ing descrip­tions of the per­son­al­it­ies and char­ac­ter­ist­ics of dif­fer­ent animal breeds. The ‘small, chubby rears’ of Plum Pud­ding pigs appar­ently make excel­lent roasts and they’re ‘blessed with a sweet tem­pera­ment.’ The ‘skinny rears’ of the Large White breed don’t cut the mus­tard when it comes to ham but their long backs make for good bacon. The Blue­faced Leicester sheep hates bad weather, while the Black­face is the per­fect mother.
So appeal­ing do the authors make life on the farm sound, it’s easy to for­get how gruelling life can be. Tim’s diary puts that straight. In sum­mer his days start at 4.30 am and end after 10 pm. In the run up to Christ­mas Tim and his staff ful­fill orders for 1,000 tur­keys, 500 geese, 180 pigs, 80 lambs, 30 car­casses of beef and a moun­tain of pies, saus­ages, bacons and hams.
The Ginger Pig is peppered with over one hun­dred recipes, from spring roast lamb with oregano, to hog­get stew with capers and olives, to an alarm­ingly hearty trencherman’s Toad-in-the-hole packed with whole chicken breasts stuffed with saus­ages and tied together with rib­bons of bacon before being cooked in batter.
The busi­ness that star­ted with three Tam­worth pigs called Milli, Molly and Mandy and a boar called Dai Bando now has three farms in York­shire and four Lon­don butchers’ shops. The shops inspire such loy­alty that one cus­tomer at the Hack­ney branch com­mis­sioned a three tier meat pie for her wed­ding, instead of a cake. The bot­tom layer was a clas­sic pork pie, the middle sec­tion a chicken and bacon cre­ation and the top tier was mixed game topped with cran­ber­ries glossed in farm-made gelatine.
Rather touch­ingly, the man who has nur­tured lit­er­ally thou­sands of pigs, cattle, sheep and chick­ens con­cludes his book by say­ing rue­fully that he’s ‘spent so much of my life try­ing to pro­duce the per­fect animal that I may have for­got­ten to start my own fam­ily’. There’s a pho­to­graph in the book of him talk­ing to a six-week old Tam­worth pig­let, the breed after which The Ginger Pig was named. I swear the pig­let is say­ing ‘thanks Dad’.