In cutting up pork, you have the spare-rib, shoulder, griskin or chine, the loin, middlings and leg; the head, feet, heart and liver. On the spare-rib and chine there is but little meat, and the pieces called middlings consist almost entirely of fat. The best parts are the loin, and the leg or hind quarter. Hogs make the best pork when from two and a halt to four years old. They should be kept up and fed with corn at least six weeks before they are killed, or their flesh will acquire a disagreeable taste from the trash and offal which they eat when running at large. The Portuguese pork, which is fed on chestnuts, is perhaps the finest in the world.
If the meat is young, the lean will break on being pinched, and the skin will dent by nipping it with the fingers; the fat will be white, soft, and pulpy. If the skin or rind is rough, and cannot be nipped, it is old.
Hams that have short shank-bones, are generally preferred. If you put a knife under the bone of a ham, and it comes out ciean, the meat is good; but quite the contrary if the knife appears smeared and slimy. In good bacon the fat is white, and the lean sticks close to the bone; if it is streaked with yellow, the meat is rusty, and unfit to eat.
Pork in every form should be thoroughly cooked. If the least under-done, it is disgusting and unwholesome.