Skip to main content

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.

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!

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

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Jamaican Stew Peas #EattheWorld

  Here we are at November #EattheWorld event. What a year this has been! This challenge has been one that gave us some excuse for virtual travel as we've been sheltered-in-place with the coronavirus epidemic for most of 2020. So, we've been able to read about different parts of the world and create a dinner, or at least a dish, with that cuisine. This Eat the World project is spearheaded by Evelyne of  CulturEatz . Read more about  her challenge . This month, Evelyne had us heading to somewhere tropical: Jamaica. I have actually been to Jamaica, but it was almost thirty years ago...and it was just a jumping off point for the rest of our Caribbean exploration. I don't remember eating anything at all! Pandemonium Noshery: Pumpkin Rice   Culinary Adventures with Camilla: Jamaican Stew Peas  Amy’s Cooking Adventures: Jamaican Chicken & Pumpkin Soup   Palatable Pastime: Jamaican Jerk Chicken Burger   Sneha’s Recipe: Jamaican Saucy Jerk Chicken Wings With Homemade Jerk Seas

Lamskoteletten op zijn oud-Hollands for #TheBookClubCookbookCC

Here we are at April's #thebookclubcookbookCC event. It's hard to believe that we only have three more months in this year-long journey to explore - and cook from -  The Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club's Favorite Books and Authors  by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp.* Judy, Vicki, and their publisher,  Tarcher-Penguin ,  have provided the hosting bloggers with copies of the book plus copies to giveaway each month of the project. Woohoo. Incredibly generous. This month Sarah at  Things I Make (for Dinner)  has selected  Girl With a Pearl Earring  by Tracy Chevalier.** Click to read  Sarah's invitation . She shared the recipe for Griet's Vegetable Soup, but invited us to find inspiration in any of the pages. On the Page... While the boys were playing around the lake during our week in Tahoe earlier in the month, I stayed by the fire and finished this book in one sitting. Loved it. photo by R

Pistachio Dukkah for #HandCraftedEdibles

In an effort to make all of my holiday gifts this year, we are sharing recipes for hand-crafted edibles. Over the course of twelve weeks, we'll be sharing recipes that you can make at home to give to friends and loved ones, or things to serve at holiday parties. We hope you'll follow along for inspiration. You can find out more information, including the schedule:  here . This week, we are "going nuts" and sharing all sorts of recipes with nuts. Think spiced nuts or nutty fruit cake or whatever floats your nutty boat! Here's what we're posting this week... Amy's Cooking Adventures  shared her Salted Chocolate Cashew Butter Cookaholic Wife  cooked up Slow Cooker Cinnamon Almonds Making Miracles  made Honey Roasted Almonds Christmas Tree Lane  posted Crockpot Spiced Nuts A Day in the Life on the Farm  wrote about the Easiest Nut Brittle in the World Sew You Think You Can Cook  prepared Orange Rosemary Roasted Almonds Culinary Adventur