FIELD GUIDE TO MEAT: How to Identify, Select, and Prepare Virtually Every Meat, Poultry, and Game Cut
Author: Aliza Green
Publisher: Quirk Books, $14.95
The subtitle of this 311-page, postcard-size guide sounds like a boast, but readers who are familiar with Aliza Green's previous "Field Guide to Produce" (2004) know she can deliver. The Philadelphia chef and award-winning food writer once again has managed to be comprehensive yet concise. Listings include iconic keys for quick-glance reference, characteristics, aka names, techniques for buying and storing, and a fair number of recipes. A section of photos shows different cuts, odd meats and sausages. (Note to the squeamish: Avoid the images of elk pizzle and rattlesnake).
"Meat" is an unexpected page turner, with small revelations for carnivores in every chapter: the slight differences between beef that is labeled "stew meat" and "kabob meat"; whether alligator does taste like chicken; the fact that Germany's Westphalian ham is made from pigs fed on acorns.
With this book in hand, there would be fewer reasons to press the buzzer for the butcher.