Thursday, December 2, 2010

Field Guide to Meat, Aliza Green

One thumb up.

Aliza Green's "Field Guide to Meat" has a subtitle. The subtitle is a very comprehensive claim.

The book is broken into general headings covering specific meats: beef, veal, pork lamb, poultry and game birds, game and other domesticated meats, sausage and cured meats.

Each of the sections starts with a description of the species of animal, the variety of the animal in the world, where the animal is grown for food in the world, and how it is generally cut.

Green includes a diagram for each animal with the various cuts labeled. Names of cuts and varieties are given in English, Spanish, Italian, and French.

After a general summary of the cuts of meat, Green devotes a small section to each cut, identification, buying, quality, preservation, and preparation.

There are 200 + color photos of meat cuts in the central part of the book. Most of these photos are referred to throughout the rest of the book.

The sections on beef, veal, pork and lamb are fairly comprehensive. The sections on poultry and game birds as well as game and other domesticated meats are much briefer in content on each animal. However, they cover many many more types of meat and foul.

This volume does not cover the topic of meat cutting, butchering, or seasoning/drying. It is a meat purchaser's guide, not a meat preparer's guide.

The final section on sausages is merely descriptive and historic. This volume does not teach how to prepare and cure meat or sausages.

All in all I believe the book tries to live up to the claim in the subtitle. Perhaps the word "prepare" should be replaced with "cook," since "preparation" also includes butchering and cutting--both topics which the book does not cover.

In general the recipes are helpful suggestions. But there are a great proportion of minimalist "roll it in flour and cook it" recipes.

I bought the book based on the description at Amazon. From that description I mistakenly thought the book could help me learn to butcher and make my own cuts of meat from various animals. I am not the target audience for this book.

This book is aimed at the supermarket/meat-market shopper who doesn't care about the butchering and just wants a nice cut to cook. It fits that purpose fairly well. The way the photos are arranged will make the book wear out fairly quickly. The book is well indexed and can instruct a novice in cooking meats he or she may have never experienced before.

Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments:

Post a Comment