Monday, April 20, 2015
The River Cottage Curing & Smoking Handbook by Steven Lamb
Fascinating, interesting, inspiring book! This is not just some cookbook, it is a handbook to teach you (me!) how to cure and smoke different meat items! This takes you from no knowledge about how curing and etc are done to where you think, "Hey, maybe I can do this!"
The book begins with a section of "Tradition and Science" which runs the reader through meat preparation and storage and how smoking and salting meats became a part of society as well as the author's personal history with meat curing. The "science" part steps through all of the important parts of the process, ingredients such as salt, fat, bacteria, molds, and so on.
The next section is an overview of equipment necessary for this type of meat processing. One encouraging part of this is that the author does not advocate only the most expensive and state of the art equipment, but invites readers of any economic level to get started in this field.
There is a section on ingredients, it is very thorough. The author introduces us to the different cuts of meat, different meats for different purposes, and goes through the necessary ingredients for curing--giving great explanations about the importance of each. (Side note -- great photos illustrating cutting/preparation of certain cuts of meat.)
The methods part comes next, curing, smoking, fermenting, etc. Again, the author makes it do-able, not emphasizing pricey equipment, but using what you have or can come up with (for some things) -- oh, and shows how to make some of it for yourself, such as different types of smokers.
The recipes are the second half of the book, each complete with photos, ingredients, directions, and explanations about the items.
Throughout the book is great narrative, stories, and encouragement. It is VERY well-written, interesting, entertaining. It's readable for even a novice. Honestly, I read this whole book through! Not just like looking through it, but reading it for interest. The author of this book is very talented, both in curing/smoking meats as well as in encouraging the reader to do it for him/herself as well. It actually makes you think that you can do this!
(Okay, I will admit that the thought of the raw meat, curing, etc. maybe grossed me out a little bit, but it's the realization of what it really is, and the cured, smoked. . .and its safety. It's not like you're just chomping into a plain old raw meat! It seemed a little scary, but as the book progressed, the idea grew on me!)
All in all, it's a great book. Well-written, easy to read, inspiring and encouraging. The author did a GREAT job, and the book is just FILLED with gorgeous photographs that illustrate nicely the written word. My husband wants to read it next. We're definitely going to try some of these methods/recipes!
I very much recommend this book if you are at all interested in homes preservation.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review. I was not required to write a positive review.
Posted by Sheila at 6:49 PM