I have a confession to make. Although a good number of you are vegetarians, and even more of you eat less meat now that we're in a recession, I still crave meat on a regular basis — whether it's a lamb chop, slice of jamon Iberico, or charcuterie. So when I received a copy of Lobel's Meat Bible ($40), a new book by revered New York butcher brothers Stanley, Evan, Mark, and David Lobel, I couldn't wait to check it out. See what I thought of it when you read more. Pros:
- Durable hardcover binding and easy-to-read format.
- Numbered steps make recipes simple to navigate.
- Book organizes various meats (beef, veal, pork, lamb) into focused chapters.
- Helpful primer on game and game birds, such as grouse, partridge, quail, and squab.
- Cuts of meat that are described don't include photos for reference.
- Recipes are listed by chapter, with no master list of them at the front of the book.
- Chapters seldom provide pointers on butchering or cutting meat.
- Certain items, such as brains, get a mention, but seemingly don't warrant accompanying recipes.
Recipes: The cookbook's 135 recipes span a wide range of cuisines, preparations, and cuts of meat. Note that the majority of the book's recipes yield servings for two or four people only. They include:
- Steak tartare
- Chicken-fried steak
- Tripe and red chile stew
- French-style potted pork spread
- Roast lamb with romesco sauce
- Rack of lamb with fresh fava beans
Imagery: Although the book includes a disappointing number of pictures (only about one-fifth of the recipes have corresponding images), the food photographs are nonetheless beautifully shot and enticing to the eyes and stomach.
Overall Rating: For a self-proclaimed "meat bible," this book, which lacks photos of meat cuts or extensive butchering tips, reads more like a meat-centric recipe compendium that rings in at a pricey $40. But if you're already a pro at working with various meats, you'll enjoy preparing them in ravishing and diverse ways with this read.