Sunday, April 24, 2011

Books: Meat A Kitchen Education

I just picked up a new book at Borders last night and wanted to share it with you. It's simply called "Meat", with the subtitle "A Kitchen Education" and it's by James Peterson.

Jeremy and I have recently become more interested in meats. He's always been a meat and potatoes (well really just meat) kind of guy and I admit I enjoy a good hunk of flesh. The idea driving this book is that we as Americans indulge in far too much mediocrity when it comes to our meats (and pretty much everything else). Somewhere along the line we have gotten it into our head that more is better, and bigger is best, and not only is this detrimental to our health but it's also detrimental to the meat industry. We have created a huge demand for mediocrity, and thus the meat industry has met that demand with supply. Mediocre meat.

On a moral level as well as a consumer level that just seems so wrong to me. Not only do we lack the respect to truly enjoy and value the flesh of the creatures we're eating, we are paying for meats that have been injected with terrible chemicals, from animals living in terrible conditions (and did you read the latest bit about staph bacteria being in 50% of our nations meat?!) My God. It's disgusting.

Anyway, back to the book. We were looking for a basic introduction to how to cook various cuts of meat. We always marvel at the amazing selection of cuts at our local butcher, but out of timidity we often resort to purchasing only the cuts we're familiar with.

A week ago however, we decided to break out of our funk and we bought a rabbit to roast. Of course now it's in the freezer, and I'm a little intimidated by this new creature, but with my dad coming into town this week I think we're presented with the perfect opportunity to venture into rabbitdom.

Beyond this book we hope to get ourselves into Charcuterie this summer, by making our own sausages, brine cures, and maybe even a pâté or gelatine when we get the ducks processed. We hope to incorporate a bit of our own combined love for detail into our meats but without the proper introduction to meat (cuts of, properties of, flavors of, etc) we felt sort of lost in a vast sea of options.

Other books that are currently on my list of meat books to purchase are:

Do you often cook with meats? Have you dabbled in charcuterie at all? I'd love to hear from anyone who has experience with charcuterie... I'm pretty intimidated!


  1. Oh, I LOVE rabbit. This is my fave way to enjoy rabbit or squirrel:

    I use a can of Guinness in the stew, the slight bitterness seems to pair well with the rabbit.

  2. You've chosen three excellent books. I have Charcuterie and would like to donate it to your library, if you're interested. You can contact me through my blog (

  3. Sorry! My email function isn't working on the blog. If you'd like just email me at swomersley at gmail dot come.

  4. Oooh Ruhlman's charcuterie book is the best! I've been making bacon and salami with his recipes for about a year and this book makes it easy.

  5. I'm assuming you know that Ruhlman featured Chef Brian Polcyn who runs "Forest Grill" in Birmingham, MI...u should go check it out and get inspiration :)