Book Review: Field Guide to Meat by Aliza Green

If you’re looking for a handy guide to all things meat to take with you to the grocery or the butcher, look no further than Aliza Green’s Field Guide to Meat, published by Quirk Books. It takes you step-by-step through 99% of the meats you could ever possibly need to purchase or prepare. The text is thorough and the pictures very instructive. The book is laid out like one of those Audubon Guides we all grew up using to identify the lizards or birds in our back yard. First, there’s a glossy section of photos to flip through to identify your meat. Then, you use the text corresponding to those photos to learn more about your cut and how to prepare it.

Most useful are the entries for each type of meat telling you its alternate names and how to pick out a tasty portion in the store. For instance, a boneless strip loin is the same thing as a Kansas City steak. When buying a lamb shoulder, the book suggests, get bone-in for quick cooking and look for an even shape with white fat and red-streaked bones. Basically, it makes you feel like less of an idiot when staring at a counter full of dead animals.

There are also animal cut charts and small, mildly entertaining introductions to each section (Beef, Veal, Lamb, Pork, Poultry & Game Birds, Game, Sausage & Cured Meats).


If I had any complaints about the book, it would be that the author felt the need to include a recipe for every type of meat, thus adding to the considerable thickness of the volume (it is supposed to be portable). Anyone dedicated enough to buy a field guide to take the butcher shop probably has their own recipes that they want to make. But you can’t argue too much against more meaty information.

Check out the book at Amazon.

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