Most helpful critical review
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Really outdated in some places (Saltpeter for Corned Beef? No!), good information in others.
on January 7, 2014
This book does have a lot of good information, but some of the recipes haven't been updated from the original 1975 version. One in particular has a significant safety problem.
I love pastrami and to make it you need to corn the brisket first, which is essentially brining the beef in salty water for at least 5 days. One dangerous backteria that salt alone can't inhibit is Clostridium botulinum. C. botulinum produces a toxin that will give you botulism, which is very bad. The fix for this is to add a little sodium nitrite (not nitrate) in the form of Instacure #1 (93.75% salt, 6.25% sodium nitrite, red color so no one mistakes if for table salt) to your brine. My big concern with this book is that the recipe for corning beef calls for Saltpeter, which is potassium nitrate. The "ate" in the word nitrate tells you that this is an old recipe that's not as safe as it should be.
I'm sure this book at the top if its game in 1975 but now it seems a bit quaint. I have to ding the book 2 full stars just for the saftey shortfall. It's still full of good information though, just do your homework.