The Niman Ranch Cookbook: From Farm to Table with America's Finest Meat
Janet Kessel Fletcher, Bill Niman. Ten Speed Press, $35 (209pp) ISBN 978-1-58008-520-5
Chock full of lore, history and lingo, this is an expansive but plainly written book for the conscientious carnivore. High quality meat markers like the thick back fat of a pig, richly marbled flesh and robust flavors from the antioxidants in grass are explored in the following chapters. Though sometimes repetitive, the descriptions of environmentally conscious ""old-style"" farming techniques, as well as some of the controversy surrounding practices like grazing and grass-fed vs. corn-fed cattle, add an eco-political angle familiar to customers of Whole Foods and other natural markets. Part P.R. for Niman Ranch, part education on farm practices that consider the whole animal, the book gives a glimpse into the creation of a value-added brand, adding flavor and politics to beef. The informative section on technique (focusing on cows, pigs and sheep) and collection of recipes from their customers-from the Chipotle chain's simple Braised Pork Shoulder with Tomatoes, Cumin, and Chipotle to celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten's Baeckoffe, an Alsatian lamb shoulder-are a testament to the whole hog, from hoof to cheek.
Reviewed on: 09/01/2005
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-1-58008-918-0