Sunday, March 26, 2017

Steak #FoodieReads


I packed this book in my backpack on our snowshoeing adventure because I knew I'd have time to read while they built snowmen or had an epic snowball battle. They did both...and I logged lots of pages. So happy to do some catching up in the Foodie Reads Challenge while we were on Spring Break.


Snowballs flew all around me while I dug into Steak: One Man's Search for the World's Tastiest Piece of Beef  by Mark Schatzker.*


R took a break from the fight to sit down next to me and have a snack.

R: Mom, why do you read books about food all the time? Banana. Steak. It's always about food.
C: Well, it's not just about food. These books have history and biology.
D: And she likes food. She doesn't like vampires or zombies.

On the Page...

Steak is a wonderful read. And I can't stop talking about it. On our eleven hour drive home from the mountains, I think I brought it up at least half a dozen times. 

Its premise is simple: locate the best steak on the globe and understand what makes it the best. This book includes biology, nutrition, history, and more. It's also a veritable travelogue as we follow Schatzker from Texan feedlots to Nanteuil-en-Vallée where there is a herd of descendants of the now-extinct aurochs; he observes bull semen collection in Scotland and debunks from myths about Japanese Wagyu beef - they don't drink beer and get sake massages!

He even raises, slaughters, and enjoys a cow of his own. Fleurance is grass-fed and finished with hazelnuts and chestnuts. Yum!

I love this passage: "I would like to tell you how that steak tasted, but the truth is, we lack an adequate meat vocabulary. The flavor burst over my tongue with each chew was comparable to a symphony, but any attempt to describe the individual notes would sound pretentious and be meaningless, I fear. ...What I can tell you about that steak is how it made me feel. The flavor reached deep into my subcortex and uncorked a sensation that bubbled up and drowned out every other thought, concern, and anxiety drifting through the chaos and endless dialogue that rage in the mind. I chewed, swallowed, cut more steak, and chewed, sustaining my state of mind with each bite. It is the feeling that no human, or animal, for that matter ever tires of experiencing. It is a feeling that makes life, for all its pain, frustration, and sadness, worth living. The feeling is joy" (pg. 265).

The downside to reading and learning about steak is that I will forever be on my own personal quest for the perfect steak. I have two good friends who have cattle. One, in Ohio, raises his on grain**; one, in California, lets his graze on grass. I am interested in what they think after reading this book.

**I stand corrected. My friend in Ohio wrote: "I like to think of our operation as pasture raised and grain supplemented. To say raised on grain in my mind connotes a feedlot operation where grain is the only source of caloric intake." Duly noted, Rich. Corrected! And, I will be sending him a copy of this book ASAP.

On the Plate...

One of the things missing in the book: how to cook a steak! Thankfully, he included it in the afterword, titled "How to Cook a Steak in 15 Easy Steps." I followed the guidelines to a tee for my 17th anniversary dinner. My Love declared it perfect!

*This blog currently has a partnership with Amazon.com in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to Amazon.com and search for the item of your choice.



Here's what everyone else read in March 2017: here.

3 comments:

  1. Our friends who raise our beef also pasture raise them but each night they get a little grain as a treat. She likes to say that it is the equivalent of us sitting down to a bowl of ice cream after being good and eating salad all day.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a fun review! Your grill marks are on-point!

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  3. So much history and geography and science can be learned in food books!

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