The quality of this kind of meat depends in a great measure upon its feeding. If grossly fed, it is bad, for the pig will eat any thing in the absence of delicate food. Dairy-fed pork we are told is the best: it is good, but we think not the best. To our taste, that is to be preferred in every respect which is fed not merely on dairy food, but upon good wholesome corn meal, whether of barley, oats, peas, or beans. Cookery writers tell us, that "if the rind is tough, and cannot easily be impressed by the finger, the meat is old;" and they add, that a thin rind is a merit in all pork." These directions are no guide whatever to the choice of pork: the rind may be made thin by dressing, but there are those, and no bad judges either, who prefer thick rinds. Moubray, on Poultry, etc, says, "the western pigs from Berks, Oxford, and Bucks, possess a decided superiority over the eastern of Essex, Sussex, and Norfolk; not to forget another qualification of the former, at which some readers may smile, a thickness of the skin, whence the crackling of the roasted pig is a fine gelatinous substance, which may be easily masticated, whilst the crackling of the thin-skinned breeds is roasted into good block tin, the reduction of which would almost require teeth of iron." So much for thin rinds. When pork is fresh, the flesh will be smooth, and dry; when stale, clammy. What is called measly pork is to be avoided as a poison. It may be known by the fat being full of kernels, and by the general unwholesomeness of its appearance.
27. Bacon is good when the fat is almost transparent and of a delicate transparent pink tinge. The lean should adhere to the bone, be of a good colour, and tender. Yellow streaks in bacon show it is becoming rusty; when all is yellow, all is rusty and unfit to eat. Bacon and hams are frequently spoilt in the curing-. Taste a little of the lean, and you will be able to judge whether it be too salt or not.
28. Hams are the best part of the pig when properly cured, perfectly sweet, and not too salt. To ascertain whether a ham is tainted, run a sharp knife under the bone, and if it comes out with a pleasant smell, and clean, the ham is good.