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Culinary Dream Team

Texas authors headline the book fest Cooking Tent

By Mick Vann, Fri., Oct. 26, 2012

The Great Meat Cookbook

by Bruce Aidells with Anne-Marie Ramo Houghton Mifflin, 640 pp., $40

Bruce Aidells is America's meat expert; with 11 meat-centric cookbooks out, he's the originator of the first nationwide artisanal sausage company, and has had features in Fine Cooking, Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Cooking Light, and Real Food. Think of The Great Meat Cookbook as an updated and expanded version of his previous The Complete Meat Cookbook, modernized for today's new sustainable, grass-fed, pasture-raised, heirloom, and free-range meats, as well as new types of meat and different butchery cuts. It's a new world of meat out there these days. Aidells comprehensively covers all aspects of beef, bison, pork, lamb, goat, and veal, including a lengthy section on sausages, pâtés, and charcuterie. The amount of authoritative data on all aspects of meat purchasing, storing, prepping, and cooking technique is astounding. Luca Trovato's photography is downright seductive, bordering on the best food porn.

A cookbook would be worthless without delicious recipes, and once you're learned about the meat, Aidells provides just that. Each recipe provides additional detailed technique and tips through the headnotes and cook's notes, and he suggests alternative cuts of meats for most recipes. Recipes are categorized by tags such as "In a Hurry," "Fit for Company," and "Suitable for Freez­ing." Whether it's veal grillades with cheese grits, Spanish pork rack with romesco sauce, braised coffee-marinated bison short ribs, bourbon and sweet potato waffles with ham sauce, leg of lamb with olive crust, cabrito-style goat kebabs, Anguillan goat curry, New York strip roast with morel sauce, or any of the other 250 recipes, it will be worthy of your plate. Aidells knows great tasting food. Quite simply, this is the meat magnum opus: the ultimate, richly informative reference for meat lovers. If you want an expert to guide you through the new worlds of today's meats, you can't do better than Bruce Aidells.

Bruce Aidells appears in the Cooking Tent from 2-3pm on Sunday.

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