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Steak: One Man's Search for the World's Tastiest Piece of Beefby Mark Schatzker
Synopses & Reviews
"Of all the meats, only one merits its own structure. There is no such place as a lamb house or a pork house, but even a small town can have a steak house." So begins Mark Schatzker's ultimate carnivorous quest. Fed up with one too many mediocre steaks, the intrepid journalist set out to track down, define, and eat the perfect specimen. His journey takes him to all the legendary sites of steak excellence-Texas, France, Scotland, Italy, Japan, Argentina, and Idaho's Pahsimeroi Valley-where he discovers the lunatic lengths steak lovers will go to consume the perfect cut. After contemplating the merits of Black Angus, Kobe, Chianina, and the prehistoric aurochs-a breed revived by the Nazis after four hundred years of extinction-Schatzker adopts his own heifer, fattens her on fruit, acorns, and Persian walnuts, and then grapples with ambivalence when this near-pet appears on his plate.
Reminiscent of both Bill Bryson's and Bill Buford's writing, Steak is a warm, humorous, and wide-ranging read that introduces a wonderful new travel and food writer to the common table.
"Slate 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)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
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A warm, humorous, and wide-ranging read, "Steak" chronicles one man's search for the world's tastiest piece of beef.
STEAK. Nothing that humans have ever put into their mouths in the name of nourishment has been the subject of such devotion, such flights of gastronomic ecstasy, or such grave connoisseurship as this most adored of meats. Now Mark Schatzker, an award-winning food and travel writer, takes readers on an odyssey to four continents, across thousands of miles, and through hundreds of cuts of steak, prepared in dozens of ways, all in a quest for the perfect piece. Steak is an impassioned, funny, and enlightening look at the fate of this beloved food.
About the Author
Mark Schatzker is a columnist for The Globe and Mail and frequent contributor to Conde Nast Traveler and Slate. He has been a finalist for a James Beard journalism award and lives in Toronto, Canada.
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