Speck is an English word meaning "fat" or "blubber", attested since the early 17th century. This word also exists in German with the same meaning, but it normally refers to pork fat with or without some meat in it. Normal English use refers to German culinary uses, particularly of smoked or pickled pork belly.
In Italy and parts of the English-speaking culinary world, the term "speck" refers to Italian speck, a type of prosciutto, rather than German speck, which is identical to the Italian lardo. The term "speck" became part of popular parlance only in the eighteenth century and replaced the older term "bachen", a cognate of "bacon".
There are a number of regional varieties of Speck, including:
- Lardo, from Italy, with many sub-varieties
- Pancetta, from Italy
- Speck Alto Adige PGI, the Italian Speck
- Guanciale, from Italy
- Gailtaler speck from Austria, with PGI status, which has been made since the 15th century in Gail Valley ("Gailtal") in Carinthia.
- Ukrainian Salo
- Tyrolean Speck from Austria's Tyrol region, which has PGI status, and has been made since at least the 15th century.
Use in the figurative sense
In German, typesetters (and publishers) use(d) the word Speck (printing) traditionally for easily made manuscripts, which have a lot of preset text or large pictures. Hamburger Speck is a sweet specialty in Hamburg. In Austria, "Speck" is also commonly used as dialect expression for Amphetamine.
Jewish deli speck
Some Jewish delis in the United States sell a beef product called speck. It is made from the top layer of fat cut from a pickled brisket (corned beef), dusted in paprika, double smoked and then grilled. It is then sliced and either served on its own, traditionally on rye bread with mustard or combined with another sliced meat in a sandwich.
- Oxford English Dictionary
- Speck - Smoked Prosciutto (Mario Batali)-Dead link-
- Lebensmittelnet.at - Gailtaler Speck (accessed 09/Jan/2008)
- Austria Tourist Info - Tirol(German) (accessed 09/Jan/2008)
- Alexander Waldow: Illustrierte Encyklopädie der graphischen Künste und der verwandten Zweige. Saur, (Leipzig 1884) reprint München u.a. 1993, ISBN 3-598-07250-3.
- A Mission To Save Real Jewish Delis, A Dying Breed : NPR