Book: Pure Beef – An Essential Guide to Artisan Meat
Author: Lynne Curry
Reviewer: Julie Hurst, grass farmer raising beef and sheep
Publisher: Running Press (May 15, 2012)
Review: I’ll admit to a level of skepticism when a good friend gave me a copy of Lynne Curry’s Pure Beef: An Essential Guide to Artisan Meat with Recipes for Every Cut. The popularity of the local food, farm-to-table movement has not gone unnoticed by cookbook publishers who have cashed in on the trend with many high-gloss, but ultimately unhelpful cookbooks that do little to change the way America has cooked for the last forty years. Pure Beef is not that book; it is an insightfully written, thoroughly researched, and mouth-watering exploration that connects cooks to the animal, the farmer, the butcher, and to the versatility and depth of the meat itself.
As an east-coast farmer who has raised, sold, and cooked 100% grass-fed beef for twelve years, I was thrilled to find that Lynne’s book rang true to my own experience, even down to the personalities of the butchers we know and trust. Lynne understands that a basic knowledge of a beef carcass is key to building consumer confidence to purchase beef directly from the farmer or the butcher. And that with a little guidance, every cut of beef, especially those one will never find on a Styrofoam tray and wrapped in cling wrap at a big-box store, can be prepared in a delectable way. The strength of Pure Beef is that it both educates the consumer in a comprehensive, but not overwhelming way -providing the information needed to wean oneself from commodity beef found in supermarkets- and it provides delicious recipes for every cut, cheek to tail.
As a cook, I am excited to work my way through the wonderful variety of recipes, especially those of international origin. Lynne neither patronizes readers nor assumes the reader is highly experienced in the kitchen. She also provides substitution suggestions and recipes for her recommended sides. Every recipe we have tried, from Salt-Seared Steak to Jamaican Jerked Heart, has been exceptional.
As a grass farmer who raises and sells artisan beef, I am grateful for her comprehensive yet absolutely enjoyable effort to educate consumers.
Julie Hurst, Blue Rooster Farm
About the reviewer: Julie Hurst farms with her family in the Ridge and Valley region of South Central Pennsylvania. Blue Rooster Farm is a family owned and operated beef and sheep farm. “Our sheep and beef rotationally graze on pasture spring, summer and fall. During the winter they are fed hay purchased from neighboring farms. We do not fatten on grains or use synthetic growth hormones. Nor do we use antibiotics on healthy stock. In order to grow our beef quickly on grass and hay, we select for small-framed Black Angus cows and bulls. Our sheep are predominately North Country Cheviot – a hardy, flighty, stocky breed who give our Border Collie, Mac, a run for the money.” Facebook
About the author of Pure Beef: Lynne Curry is a freelance writer, professional cook, mother and adventurer who can’t stop thinking about food. Drawing on her experiences and insights using homegrown and whole foods—sometimes wild—she crafts stories of people, place and culture. A curious cook and baker, Lynne shares her creative, user-friendly recipes with the goal of bringing more people together around the table. She has published food articles in major newspapers, national magazines and websites and blogs at Rural Eating. Facebook | Twitter