Saturday, August 09, 2014

Meat Hook Meat Cookbook: buy, butcher, and cook your way to better meat, by Tom Mylan

Are you a vegetarian? Move along, nothing to see here. Check back tomorrow for more “you” content.

Are you a carnivore? Well then: read on, interested party.
Do you ever feel like the purpose of your cooking is slipping away? Yes, you are feeding yourself and your loved ones, but where is the enjoyment? Isn’t there more to our protein than prepackaged meat in styrofoam trays, filling supermarket aisles? Food is supposed to be beautiful and interesting, feeding our souls as well as our bodies. And Meat Hook Meat Cookbook: buy, butcher, and cook your way to better meat, by Tom Mylan speaks to my stomach soul.

Tom Mylan is one of the owners of The Meat Hook, a popular butcher’s shop in Brooklyn, New York. Along with his partners Ben Turley and Brent Young, they created their shop 5 years ago and have never looked back. Their mission? To support local, family-owned farms and markets, thus ensuring a quality product and thereby “making the world a better place.” To that end, they’ve developed this butcher’s cookbook.

There is nothing about this not-quite-cookbook that was not fun. There are beautiful, crisp photos of properly butchered protein, ranging from the ubiquitous beef and chicken to the lesser used rabbit and lamb. Mylan uses these images to educate the reader about the animal: what parts make for good eating, how to cook that piece, and what famous cuts are found in which parts of the animal.

Also scattered throughout the book are recipes for different types of meat. They all sound delicious, though some slightly unorthodox. I would love to recreate the silverskin soup, or make my own salmon pastrami, but those are not practical options for me at the moment. There is also an inside-out chicken potpie that sounds amazing, but alas, it is also not a beginner’s dish. But if you’re not a beginner to carving or want to try something new and challenging, this is the book for you!

For other carnivorous-related options, check out MEAT: everything there is to know : recipes and stories from America's greatest Butcher, by Pat LaFrieda, or In the Charcuterie : the Fatted Calf's guide to making sausage, salumi, pates, roasts, confits, and other meaty goods, by Taylor Boetticher. If instead your problem is explaining to your children how someone would want to eat a fluffy bunny, check out Mammal Menu, by Meish Goldish. And happy eating!

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