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The River Cottage Meat Book Hardcover – May 1, 2007

4.7 out of 5 stars 72 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Fearnley-Whittingstall (The River Cottage Cookbook) runs a farm, on 60 acres of land in Dorset, England. His is a voice full of expertise and respect for nature. If it has walked on four legs, chances are the author has raised, slaughtered and/or eaten it. Thus, this densely constructed tome, first published in the U.K. in 2004, and now in a revised American edition, is worth most to those who know a good butcher. The sentiments are earnest, the mood a bit rainy and the recipes rustic. The first third of the book is dedicated to "Understanding Meat" and explores the different cuts of beef, lamb, pig and poultry. While the author abhors processed meats, he has nothing against offal and provides a comprehensive dissection of brains, lungs and stomach linings. The remaining pages are dedicated to the various ways of cooking meat, the copious rules to follow and hearty (at times primal) recipes that exemplify each technique. The fine section on roasting features a Loin of Lamb Stuffed with Apricots and Pine Nuts. For the brave slow cookers, there is Jugged Hare served in a sauce that contains bitter chocolate and the rabbit's blood. And the chapter on preserving covers not only bacon, but also Pigeon Pate and Preserved Goose Legs. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


James Beard Foundation 2008 Cookbook Awards: Cookbook of the Year Award!
James Beard Foundation 2008 Cookbook Awards: Single Subject Category Winner!
“Droll, learned Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has done the meat-eating world a big favor with The River Cottage Meat Book . . . The perfect book for mindful carnivores.”—Boston Globe
“Fearnley-Whittingstall confronts both the moral and gustatory issues surrounding carnivorism and provides 150 excellent recipes.”—New York Newsday
“Fearnley-Whittingstall asks us to take grown-up moral responsibility for the act of eating meat—certainly enough responsibility to inquire about how the animal lived and died. All this is spelled out at fervent (and deserved) length before we get near a bit of cooking instruction. Luckily, Mr. Fearnley-Whittingstall turns out to be as zealous a cook as he is a reformer, equally able to appreciate the simplicity of Irish stew or a good beefburger, or to lead people through the intricacies of pork pie or cider-cured ham.”—New York Times
“Those who find that calves' livers and pig's trotters are best contemplated at a distance should keep well away from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Those of us with the opposite problem worship him as a god. This is not a case of macho posturing over a barbecue pit: There is more cooking know-how in Fearnley-Whittingstall's little finger than you will find in the graduating class of any cooking school in the country. His book is stuffed with wit, erudition, and one slow-cooked, lovingly constructed recipe after another.”—NPR.org Holiday 2007
One of the Year's Best Cookbooks: “Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is a brilliant, argumentative British cook and food writer . . . his recipes happen to be terrific.”—Gourmet
#1 Cookbook of the Year—Amazon Editor's Picks in Cooking—Food & Wine
100 to Taste List—Food & Wine
“This is one to read and cook from during barbecue season—and to get inspired by the rest of the year.”—Bon Appetit
“A book to help us truly understand the philosophical and pragmatic aspects of the meat on our table.”—Boston Globe
“The ultimate reference for the serious carnivore.”—New York Daily News
“This guy gets physical with meat . . . A trencherman's manual of meat that includes recipes—from down-home steak-and-kidney pie to more exalted fare like a salad of seared pigeon breast with pan-juice vinaigrette—and graphic how-tos on buying and butchering, plus answers to questions you maybe never asked . . . More than you can digest? No doubt. More than you want? No way. Fearnley-Whittingstall's down-in-the-trenches humor and tone of earthy authority keep you coming back for another slice.”
“His big, impressive meat book . . . has now been Americanized . . . Fearnley-Whittingstall is passionate and opinionated but not heavy-handed, and his sense of humor is evident throughout . . . A good companion to Fergus Henderson's The Whole Beast, this unique title will be important as both a reference and a cookbook.”—Library Journal Starred Review
“Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall believes that the animals we eat deserve respect, both for their sake and ours.”—Conde Nast Traveler

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press; First Edition edition (May 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580088430
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580088435
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 1.5 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,891 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Esther Schindler TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I've had my eye on this book for a couple of years, but acquiring it meant getting it from the UK. Finally, it's available in an American edition -- complete with American measurements. Most of the text is the same as in the UK (so he's referring to British resources, not the least of which is the availability of grouse and venison) but an afterward adds details for us Yanks.

This is, without a doubt, among the most authoritative cookbooks I have encountered. It's less a collection of recipes than it is the "theory and philosophy of meat," except that description sounds dreadfully dull. And Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is never, never dull. His text is engaging and entertaining as well as educational. He teaches you how to _think_ about cooking meat successfully -- the steps and the scientific reasons behind them -- so that you can cook well without recipes.

Roasting, for example, is a three step process: the half hour sizzle at high heat, the cooking (at 325-350), and the time in which you let the meat rest. This is not a 3-page vague arm wave. It's 19 pages plus pictures, and not a word is pedantic.

The first section of the book -- 200 pages -- is called "Understanding Meat," and it begins with a remarkably thoughtful philosophical examination of the ethics of eating it. Fearnley-Whittingstall is a firm believer in treating animals well, and the health reasons we must do so; as a result, you'll be convinced to buy organic and farm-raised meat rather than mass produced stuff. If you aren't already. Anyway, he has chapters on beef and veal; lamb and mutton; pork and bacon; poultry; game; and offal.
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Format: Hardcover
I have always had a huge respect for Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. His cookery programmes have been amazing as they are more than just programmes. They are all about understanding food and its nature. He has effortlessly translated this into a beautiful and highly readable book.

I was engrossed in it from the start. His introduction about meat is amazing. By understanding the nature of meat, its production, slaughter, hanging and packaging, you can go a long way to understanding the nature of meat itself and how best to buy and raise it.

In fact, it is all about really basic details in preparation - from how to make hams to how to buy the best kidneys and why. Hugh seems to be on a mission to make popular old favourites such as tripe and liver - I don't knwo how much success he will have in that area, but his explanation on why it doesn't necessarily taste too good now is definitely indisputable.

I really enjoy his easy readable style, his disucssion on best raising techniques of pigs for instance was fascinating. He has practised what he writes about, he raises his own meat, slaughters it and then prepares it himself. It is a bit disconcerting having a dead pig head starting a chapter, but then Hugh talks about using all thebits of a beast in his chapter entitled 'thrifty'.

Fro those who don't want to raise and slaughter their own beasts, you will gain much from his other chapters - which meats make the best to fast cook (and why) and which are the best to slow cook. Both have why and how. There are chapters on slow cooking, cooking in wood fired ovens, and much more.

The recipes are delicious and the stories about them interesting reading and all provide depth of background to the recipes themselves. This is one book which will be remaining on my shelf for years to come, It is easy to use, interesting, and provides fundamental knowledge. It has my highest recommendation!
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Format: Hardcover
I ordered this as a birthday gift for a carnivorous friend and have spent half a day curled up with it. Far more than a cookbook, The River Cottage Meat Book is an engagingly-written short course in animal husbandry and the butcher's art, accompanied by glorious photographs of British farm life, sizzling kebabs and perfectly marbled beef. We are forced to think long and hard about the meat we eat. What breed of animal did it come from? How/where was the animal raised? What did it eat? Do we respect the sacrifice it has made? We are encouraged to do a bit of soul-searching about our own food practices.

After several chapters devoted to each of the common and many of the not-so-common animals eaten by humans, the author begins his treatment of meat preparation. Each method is thoroughly explored, before we get his recipes, which run the gamut from Roast Belly of Pork with Applesauce to Spaghetti Bolognese, from Shepherd's Pie to Terrine of Sweetbreads with a Broad Bean Puree. We also get a chapter on "The Trimmings", for great side-dishes to serve with meat main courses.

For me the only drawbacks are that U.S. cooks need to convert measurements in some instances, and that I had to wait a couple of months for the book to arrive from Amazon.

This book is a must-read for meat eaters who appreciate thoughtful food writing and a straightforward, knowledgeable, unpretentious approach to a food that is a staple for many of us.
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Format: Hardcover
I am a husband and father who has done most of the family cooking for three decades. I have always roasted meats extremely simply, with very little salt and spices, because that is the quickest and easiest. It also tastes just fine. When I wanted to go to the next level of complexity and sophistication, I bought The River Cottage Meat Book. What a wonderful choice. This cookbook gives clear instructions on basic techniques as de-glazing, and it is exceptionally easy to follow. It also offers clear explanations on WHY to cook in a certain way, and its advice is solidly based on the results of experimentation. Best of all, this book has a number of recipes which are individually worth the price of the book. As an Asian-American immigrant, I can vouch for the authenticity and quality of the few Asian-American recipes. Altogether, this is an exceptional book for the amateur cook who wants to take his cooking of meats to a higher level.
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