From Publishers Weekly
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)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The dedicated carnivore's gold standard has always been the steak. Seared to a deep brown and bulging with red meat juices, it's the quintessential cut of beef. Canadian Schatzker allows his obsession with the ideal steak to propel him across the face of the earth in search of that one sizzling slab of perfection. Starting in Texas' ranch country, he looks at cattle production in Scotland, France, Italy, Japan, and Argentina, each of which trumpets the superiority of its particular beef. In order to bring some objectivity to his evaluation, Schatzker devises a detailed, comprehensive list of steak qualities that rivals wine-tasting standards. He senses timber, liver, cucumber, blood, cream, and chestnut among many other flavors, and he rates texture and tenderness as well. Schatzker ultimately goes so far as to raise his own animals. Meat lovers will learn a lot from this book, which upends a few current beliefs and prejudices. --Mark Knoblauch