Our short trip to Spain was mostly about regrouping and sorting out some visa issues for next year’s travels. It was also a good excuse to do some reading on the country and what better way than a classic Hemingway and a book on swine.
The Sun Also Rises is one of Hemingway’s well known, early classics that launched his writing career. A review would be pretentious but I will say it was a great read, and I recommend it, if you like his stories. It is set in Paris and Spain with copious amounts of drinking, bull-fighting and, in classic Hemingway fashion, tortured souls.
Lesser Beasts, A Snout-to-Trail History of the Humble Pig was something completely different. This non-fictional work charts the history of the pig and human relationships. It is a fascinating read and a must if you are curious about history, the food chain and pork belly…or you find yourself in Spain surrounded by cured jamon. It is filled with so many interesting factoids that are typically not part of history books.
- Pigs and pork were a destabilizing political force during the Roman rule as pigs provided a means for the poor to cultivate their own food source.
- Pig drives were more prevalent than cattle drives during the expansion of the Western States. It is suggested that the West would have taken at least 100 years longer to develop without them.
- 20K pigs roamed Manhattan in the late 1800’s.
- The Chinese symbol for pigsty and outhouse are the same….for an obvious and disgusting reason. Enjoy your bacon.