As we seem to be the internet center for Chinese history and pigs I thought I would call to your attention Pigs, Pork, and Ham: The Practice of Pig-Farming and the Consumption of Pork in Ming-Qing China, by Chung-Hao Kuo
Dissertation Reviews does a nice job of explaining how interesting this dissertation is. Pork of course has a history, and until the Tang lamb was much more common in China than pork. By the Ming production and connoisseurship started to evolve, with Jinhua ham as a key example. ” The trajectory of Jinhua ham thus mirrored that of pork in general: depreciation from an item of medicinal value to rare delicacy and, finally, to commonplace dish (for most varieties).”
There have been number of recent works on food in Chinese history, and it is sort of odd that there was not more sooner, given how important food is to Chinese ideas about regional identity. I would guess that gathering sources would be a trick, but it is glad to see people getting beyond that.
I keep thinking that I need to pull my materials together and do that Food History course I keep talking about. At this point I could even do an Asian Food History course without trying too hard, but I do love the border-crossing stuff you get with a global approach…