Steak: One Man's Search for the Tastiest Piece of Beef

Mark Schatzker, Author Viking 25.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-670-02181-9
Slate columnist Schatzker’s journey through more than 100 pounds of steak begins with a single, fondly remembered bite from his past and takes him, years later, to eight countries on four continents in pursuit of flavorful beef. Chapter by Dionysian chapter he probes the myths and minutiae of tasty beef. Does marbling (the small white dots and curls of fat spread throughout a steak’s red flesh) matter more than breed? Is a stressed animal less tasty? Can words accurately describe the flavor of beef? In Texas, Schatzker compares corn-fed to grass-fed rib-eyes; Scotland is mostly about the Angus bulls, while Japan provides the lure of its famed kobe and Wagyu beef. Lessons from each new location build upon those from the last, underscoring his major concern: do modern practices of commercial breeding and production sacrifice quality for quantity? Schatzker writes with a discerning eye, an inquisitive mind, and a comedic sense of timing that keeps both shop talk (reading cow pies), and the esoteric (the mysteries of umami) from numbing readers’ minds. On the way to a unifying theory of steak, Schatzker even raises his own cows for slaughter, leading him to the Zen-like revelation that “the secret to great steak is great steak.” No matter. Steak is easily one of the most entertaining and informative noncookbooks about beef. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/26/2010
Release date: 04/01/2010
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-101-19010-4
Paperback - 290 pages - 978-0-14-311938-8
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