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Pork Trivia
Donald Williamson
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Pork Trivia

by: Donald Williamson

There is more to pork than the great tasting pork chops you eat for dinner. Pork has become a part of American life, from the things we say to some of the most important events in American history. Let's test your pork I.Q. with the following trivia questions.


. . . That the Ancient Chinese
were so loath to be separated from fresh pork that the departed were sometimes accompanied to the grave with their herd of hogs.

. . . Where Wall Street got its name?

Free-roaming hogs were famous for rampaging through the valuable grain fields of colonial New York City farmers. The Manhattan Island residents chose to block the troublesome hogs with a long, permanent wall on the northern edge of what is now Lower Manhattan. A street came to border this wall -- named aptly enough, Wall Street.

. . . How "Uncle Sam" came to represent the U.S. Government?

During the war of 1812, a New York pork packer named Uncle Sam Wilson shipped a boatload of several hundred barrels of pork to U.S. troops. Each barrel was stamped "U.S." on the docks, and it was quickly said that the "U.S." stood for "Uncle Sam," whose large shipment seemed to be enough to feed the entire army. This is how "Uncle Sam" came to represent the U.S. Government.

. . . Where the saying "living high on the hog" came from?

It started among enlisted men in the U.S. Army, who received shoulder and leg cuts of pork while officers received the top loin cuts. So "living high on the hog" came to mean living well.

. . . What's the origin of the saying "a pig in the poke?"

It was a common trick in 17th century England of trying to give away a cat to an unsuspecting "shopper" for a suckling pig (a young pig). When he opened the poke (sack), he "let the cat out of the bag," and the trick was revealed.

. . . What's the origin of the saying "pork barrel" politics?"

The phrase is derived from the pre-Civil War practice of distributing salt pork to the slaves from huge barrels. By the 1870's, congressmen were referring to regularly dipping into the "pork barrel" to obtaining funds for popular projects in their home districts.

. . . What's the highest known price ever paid for a hog?

$56,000 was paid for a crossbreed hog named "Bud," on March 5, 1985.

. . . What President Truman had to say about hogs?

"No man should be allowed to be President who does not understand hogs."

Trivia courtesy of the National Pork Board -


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