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Lobel's Meat Bible:
All You Need to Know about Meat and Poultry from America's Master Butchers
By Stanley, Evan, Mark, and David Lobel, with Mary Goodbody and David Whiteman; photographs by Lucy Schaeffer
ISBN: 081185826x
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Publication date: May 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover
List price: $ 40
Type: Ingredients: Meat
Sample recipe: Steak Tartare
Intended audience: novice advanced beginner good home cook gourmet professional
Apparent goal: stocking stuffer sampler comprehensive coffee-table Biblical stature
Competition: outclassed follower in the pack strong challenger likely champ
Variety: too little too much unusual nice mix just right
# of recipes: <50 <100 <200 <300 ≥300
Practical recipes: <20% <40% <60% <80% ≥80%
# of ingredients: ≤4 ≤7 ≤10 ≤12 >12
Ingredient hunt: 7-Eleven airfare required online pantry supermarket
Recipe complexity: too hard simple medium challenging professional
Instructions: inadequate verbose bare-bones full-figured educational
Time conscious: unconscious outright lies white lies realistic honorable
Cooking time: weekend project takes all day takes time ≥30 minutes <30 minutes
Added info: zip overwhelming scant balanced generous
Photos/drawings: none distracting decorative instructive glorious
Recipe results: ≤dorm food casual food family meals fancy food fit for royalty
Nutritional info: none overwhelming hit or miss adequate comprehensive
Format/Ease of Use
Layout: ugh cluttered fine considerate work of art
Legibility: unpleasant challenging tolerable clear brilliant
Production quality: cheesy dubious years of service gift quality stunning
Page numbers: non-existent hard-to-find spotty sufficient every page
Table of contents: AWOL frustrating passable useful excellent
Index quality: none tragic adequate good a treasure
Page flipping: upsetting tedious acceptable rare never
Writer: beginner food writer writing cook purveyors auteur
Cook: unknown self-taught chef teacher celebrity
Fulfills ambitions: falls short almost there satisfactory exceeds home run
Flavor delivered: sad inconsistent tasty delicious exceptional
Overall tone: sterile trying too hard straightforward best friend mom
Value: ouch! a little pricey worth splurging on the money a deal
Overall rating: skip it good very good excellent Ochef Top 100

Comments: This book takes a surprising turn – actually many of them. You'd expect a book by multiple generations of New York butchers to give you all the information you'd need and want about meat. And you'd expect mainstream recipes that show off standard cuts and preparations. But what takes you by surprise is that the recipes come from all over the world – Asia, Africa, North and South America, all over Europe – and they look as delicious as all the old standards you might have been expecting.

Perhaps it is not such a surprise in a collaboration of the Lobels (butchers with about 618 years' experience among them) and food writer Mary Goodbody and chef and writer David Whiteman. On top of that, the book is seamless – you can't tell where the butchers leave off and the food writers start. Virtually every meat is covered in great detail – beef, veal, pork, lamb, poultry, rabbit, game birds and animals, and variety meats. There is also an extensive collection of recipes for sauces, stocks, condiments, and chutneys to complement or finish the meat recipes.

Some of the recipes will be a challenge and more than a few require lots of ingredients. Some of the tricks look hard – how do you bone a chicken thigh and 2/3 of the leg bone? In many cases they suggest you ask your butcher to do this or that, but do you have a butcher? The payoff, though is an extensive reference on meat, exceptional variety, and real flavor.


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