Killing It: An Education

Camas Davis. Penguin Press, $27 (352p) ISBN 978-1-101-98007-1
With grace and power, first-time author Davis tells of how she traded a keyboard for a cleaver. After being laid off from her job as an editor at an Oregon magazine, Davis revisited a long-held dream: working as a butcher. She then reconnected with an acquaintance, Kate Hill, a cookbook author and cooking teacher living in Gascony, France. Hill led Davis through a foodie’s dream journey—with Armagnac, foie gras, dried duck prosciutto—and gave her a primer on the cultural preferences in cuts of meat (while Americans enjoy ribs, the French prefer to turn the loin into bone-in pork chops). Davis writes eloquently of the affinity she felt for the trade—“the act of butchery is, if nothing else, an immediate one requiring you to locate your own body in the present tense.” The road wasn’t without bumps, particularly what Davis calls Bunnygate—animal rights activists who excoriated Davis and her business partners for slaughtering rabbits for food. After returning to the U.S., Davis founded the Portland Meat Collective, a school in Oregon dedicated to meat education that she still runs. Descriptions of the butchery process are wonderfully detailed (to cut into a pig skull, “pull the skull and the lodged cleaver into the air... and bang it down on the table”). Her powerful writing and gift for vivid description allow readers to feel as if they, too, are embarking on a life-changing journey. (July)
Reviewed on: 04/30/2018
Release date: 07/24/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-1-101-98009-5
Ebook - 978-1-101-98008-8
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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