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46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Necessary reference for Meat, Poultry, Game, and Sausage
`Field Guide to Meat' by Aliza Green is part of the series of very handy pocket sized, sturdily bound, heavy covered paperbacks by Quirk Books. Ms. Green also wrote the `Field Guide to Produce' for the same series, to which I gave a very favorable review. This book, I feel, is even more useful as a volume you own and consult often. The difference may be less in the...
Published on May 9, 2005 by B. Marold

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68 of 74 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Please Understand Before You Write a Cookbook
It makes my heart heavy to suspect a cookbook author of lacking veracity, but here, J'ACCUSE. If you are looking for a book that will educate you how to choose a good piece of meat or learn how the cuts of meat differ, you must look elsewhere. Please do not buy this book. To answer your next question, this is a lousy book that should have been rejected out of hand by the...
Published on April 25, 2007 by jerry i h


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46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Necessary reference for Meat, Poultry, Game, and Sausage, May 9, 2005
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This review is from: Field Guide to Meat (Paperback)
`Field Guide to Meat' by Aliza Green is part of the series of very handy pocket sized, sturdily bound, heavy covered paperbacks by Quirk Books. Ms. Green also wrote the `Field Guide to Produce' for the same series, to which I gave a very favorable review. This book, I feel, is even more useful as a volume you own and consult often. The difference may be less in the relative quality of the books but in the relative availability of good cookbooks and reference books devoted exclusively to meat and those devoted to fruits and vegetables. Vegetables as a group are supported by superb books from leading culinary writers such as Jack Bishop, Alice Waters, James Peterson, and most of all, Elizabeth Schneider and her volume, `Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini'.

Compared to these four, I know of only two leading writers, Bruce Aidell and the team of Schlesinger and Willoughby who have done good cookbooks covering a wide range of meats, and even these books don't give as broad a coverage as the veggie crowd.

These two books solve the amateur cook's knotty problem of wandering through the market, being able to tell what looks good, and then thinking up something to do with the good stuff. When I see some especially good looking pork chops, there is only one thing I can thing of doing with them. If I wanted to stuff them, I would not be sure I knew what I would need, as all my pork chop stuffing recipes are sitting on my bookshelf at home. With these books in hand, you will can get a much better idea of the variety of things you can do with a cut of meat from this book than from virtually any other source I can think of. This is not to say it isn't there, it's just that it is so spread out across so many different books and sources that if you don't already have it all in your head, tracking it down on short notice is almost impossible. The only single source I can think of which comes close to this book is the Larousse Gastronomique, but you don't want to be lugging this 10-pound boat anchor around with you at the Farmer's Market. And, my experience with the average meat market attendant is that I know more about meat than they do. All the real butchers are back in the cold room.

The books on produce and meats will generally be used for different things. Produce is generally much more perishable than meat in a refrigerated case. That is, the variability in the quality of produce at one store will be much higher than the variability in the quality of meat, especially since produce probably comes from 20 or 30 different suppliers, while beef, pork, veal, and lamb may come from two or three suppliers while poultry may come from two or three other suppliers. And, with the exception of lamb, practically all meat availability is independent of season. Therefore, while your first question upon opening the book on produce may be the seasonality, the first question upon opening the book on meat may be `What is a good cut for grilling?' or `How do I pick the best pork chop for stuffing?'.

While most cookbooks separate flesh on four legged animals from flesh from two legged / two winged animals, this book is just that much better because in addition to covering beef, veal, pork, and lamb, it covers all different types of poultry (domesticated birds) and game, including wild birds and wild mammals. In fact, the range of wild game mentioned is truly amazing. I was surprised to see the `Joy of Cooking' cover boar and muskrat. This book includes sections on alligator, armadillo, raccoon, rattlesnake, and squirrel. Just what they need at the road kill café! Much more practical is the fact that the book also covers all sizes, shapes, and nationalities of Charcuterie and meat preservation. It even mentioned some types of hams of which I have not yet heard.

Upon opening the book, the very first thing I did was to look up guanciale (cured pork jowl) in the index and lo and behold, there it was. This alone sold me on the book. Unfortunately some other index games came up empty, as when I looked up London broil. No references appeared anywhere in the index, even though it is mentioned in the introduction and as a method of preparation for several different cuts of meat.

This means that you can't effectively pick a cooking method and search for the best cut(s) to use with this method.

Otherwise, for a list price of $15, literally every American foodie needs a copy of this book, especially as the `Larousse Gastronomique' primarily deals with European butchering primals.

Very, very highly recommended.
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68 of 74 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Please Understand Before You Write a Cookbook, April 25, 2007
By 
jerry i h (Berkeley, CA USA) - See all my reviews
It makes my heart heavy to suspect a cookbook author of lacking veracity, but here, J'ACCUSE. If you are looking for a book that will educate you how to choose a good piece of meat or learn how the cuts of meat differ, you must look elsewhere. Please do not buy this book. To answer your next question, this is a lousy book that should have been rejected out of hand by the editor and never seen the light of day.

NAMP (North American Meat Producers) has its official guide The Meat Buyers Guide : Meat, Lamb, Veal, Pork and Poultry to meat that is often used by professional chefs. It is quite informative, but also costs a Ulysses Grant. I applaud the effort to produce a similar, less expensive handbook for consumers that costs only an Andrew Jackson (or small enough to toss into your chef's bag), but this book ain't it.

The author genuinely does not seem to understand the subject of which he/she speaks. It would not surprise me to learn that the author is close to being a vegan (I would like to know how many nights a week the author features a huge chunk of meat as the main course for dinner). It is lacking in practical particulars and spectacularly unhelpful to the meat buyer puzzling over the meat case in a grocery store; the `how to choose' section is especially worthless if you are holding a Styrofoam and cellophane wrapped package in your hand at the supermarket. It seems to be one of those books `invented' in front of the word processor. I suggest you save your shekels and buy the NAMP if you must. Perhaps I am being overly critical because I have worked professionally as a retail butcher (I wonder if the author can say the same thing), but there is so much wrong here that I cannot be charitable.

I have serious issues with much of what the author states. Take, for example, the beef chapter (chapters on veal, pork, lamb, poultry, game, and sausage are equally questionable).

The grades of beef are mentioned, but the basis on which this is determined or what the relevance is to the cook is not mentioned. Aging beef is covered, yet the reasons why this is done is likewise not mentioned. The section `beef primal cuts' is surprising about how much practical information it does not have. In (Beef.2) the author inexplicably and confusingly combines marrow and knuckle; these have nothing to do with each other, except that they both come from a cow. In `Bottom Round' (`Description'), the statements about `stew meat' and `kabob meat' are simply not true. `Well marbled whole brisket'? Ain't no such thing unless you are thinking of the fat cap that separates the point from the flat. Ground beef and cube steak have absolutely nothing to do with each other except the author's laziness or never having eaten either one (there are tremendous differences at the retail store level, and each should have an important mini essay of its own to educate and warn the consumer). One of the few sections I think are correct are `Hanging Tender' and `Oxtail'. The `Rib' (as in prime rib) section is hopelessly confused, parroting other cookbooks without complete understanding, and partially wrong. The `Rump' section is questionable; it might be a regional thing. In SF, a `rump roast' is a chunk of meat from the bottom round, and is especially tough and flavorless and unworthy of your carnivore dollars even if on sale; yet, the author implies that it comes partially from the sirloin. Note that here, the author does not list the NAMP number, so who knows what cut of meat the author is referring to; I note that the publishers, and presumable the author, are both from New England (Philadelphia actually, but from my vantage on the `left coast', it is all the same thing). In the `Shank' section, the author eschews traditional uses of this cut for an obscure Korean recipe (which is, I can say, delicious, but not acceptable as a basic of this cut of beef for people who are trying to learn what this cut of meat is about). The recipe for New York Steak (`strip loin') is only for the whole roast (rather unusual) instead of the almost ubiquitous individual NY steak (again, I suspect this is a New England sort of preference). Some of the more expensive cuts of beef (top sirloin, flatiron, filet mignon, porterhouse) receive more coherent treatments, perhaps because the author has actually eaten/cooked them. In the offal section, the author clearly has never prepared or eaten any of them, and seems to be parroting other cookbooks.

Each cut of meat has a recipe, which I applaud. However, the recipes are remarkably generic and unhelpful unless you already know how to cook that particular piece of meat. The recipes are so generic and vague that they are sometimes laughable and usually useless unless you are a foodservice professional.

It has a system of graphic symbols; however, they serve only to categorize the various steps in the rather questionable recipes. It would have been more useful to come up with a system of symbols that tells the reader what the best preparation methods are for each cut of meat.

Each meat has a `Flavor Affinities' section; forgive me for doubting that the author has tested all of these flavor combinations. I wonder where the author cribbed these lists from. There is also a `how to choose' section for each cut; they are consistently off-target and unhelpful.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Field Guide to Meat, September 16, 2005
By 
This review is from: Field Guide to Meat (Paperback)
Great, information, written in an easy to understand manner. Great illustrations. What an informative book. Sometimes recipes call for a cut of meat (e.g. london broil) and you say huh? this book explaines what the cut is, what it should look like and how to cook it. A great follow up to Field Guide to Vegetables
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bought 1 for a gift, and 1 for myself!, August 8, 2005
By 
Vicki K. Schneider "miss_vicki" (Gwynedd Valley, PA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Field Guide to Meat (Paperback)
Although I love fine meats and food, I have always been intimidated by the idea of asking for special pieces from the butcher. I thought this book might help me learn about different cuts of beef. I was pleasantly surprised by how well it taught me that, and SO much more! My family has learned how long different meats can be stored, new ways to prepare them, etc. Fantastic!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Perfect but Still a Good Value, March 26, 2007
This review is from: Field Guide to Meat (Paperback)
If you end up buying hamburger every time because it is the only meat you know how to cook, or can't figure out why one cut of beef makes a tender steak while another cooks up like a bus tire, do yourself a favor and buy this book.

First, what I didn't like: I often wished for better illustrations showing where on the animal cut resides. The one diagram in the front of each section was not as detailed as I would have liked and it was a bit of a pain to turn back to it all the time.

Now, what I did like: The description of each cut includes cooking method and flavor affinities. If you know some basic techniques and have some common herbs and spices in your cupboard you have enough of a recipe right there to turn your meat into a meal.

There is also great coverage of charcuterie and game.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes, a good quick reference, November 2, 2008
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This review is from: Field Guide to Meat (Paperback)
I like the short, to the point explainations she gives. Moreover, she gives, not only the common names of meat cuts, but also the less common/antique names that you sometimes find given in old recipes, or secret cuts offered by the best butchers that if you did not have this guide, you would be lost. I did not know what the beef "butterball" roast was, but when I ended up with a portion of this suculent cut in a side of beef I purchased, and loved it, it was this book that educated me as to what cut I had enjoyed (I now regularly go to my buthcher and request a Butterball). She also gives, what I have come to trust as some solid, culinary sound, recipe recomendations on how the meats can be prepared. This may not be a 1st buy reference guide for the novice cook, but if you are a new chef, or if you are a "back yard chef" looking for the knowledge to empress your friends, get this book. Get it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars good book, August 8, 2007
This review is from: Field Guide to Meat (Paperback)
great book, nice pictures, good instructional wording. of course this book would not help you open a butcher shop, but for the average consumer, its a great book.. this seller delivers what they promise...
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Indeed a field book, March 8, 2006
By 
Carlos J. Torres (Trujillo Alto, PR USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Field Guide to Meat (Paperback)
This is a pocket book, it was smaller than I expected, but it is probably better that way. The color photographs are in the center pages with descriptions in the rest of the book, referencing the photos. It has useful information on most of the meat cuts available in the market. It even has equivalent names in Spanish, French, Italian and German for some of the entries.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun Read, January 10, 2007
This review is from: Field Guide to Meat (Paperback)
This book is a fun and interesting read. It covers all meat from beef, pork & poultry to alligator, armadillo, squirrel and racoon. There are pictures and helpful hints. Good gift to give to the hunter/butcher in your life!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A good guide for 99% of people who like to cook, July 3, 2014
This review is from: Field Guide to Meat (Paperback)
This book is not a cookbook and it is not a comprehensive guide to meat as jerry i h seems to think it was meant to be. Soeaking as someone who used to work at a high-end meat and charcuterie stall at Toronto's St. Lawrence Market, I believe it is a worthwhile purchase that fits comfortably into a small bag for toting along to well-stocked markets. Without going into exhaustive detail on every cut of meat, the author gives a readable guide that is comprehensive enough for 99% of people who are going to enjoy normal meats and occasionally venture into varietals and other cuts. She provides recipes as one way to get started as well as lists of suitable ingredients such as herbs, spices and other ingredients that complement the meats. If you went to CIA, this is probably not the book for you, but if you do have that credential then you probably own their textbooks anyway. For the rest of us, this is a good guide and a convenient shopping companion.
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Field Guide to Meat
Field Guide to Meat by Aliza Green (Paperback - February 1, 2005)
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