James Peterson – Meat: A Kitchen Education

James Peterson‘s aptly named Meat: A Kitchen Education (Ten Speed 2010) is a tutorial on cooking meat, that is birds, beef, pork, veal, lamb and goat, with a few extra “meaty” chapters on sausages, pates, terrines, and foie gras.

He is a superb teacher both for the novice cook and the more advanced. Any book by James Peterson is worth spending time devouring. His Sauces (see Super Chef‘s review of Sauces) is a must have for any serious cook. Meat is a serious course on how to prepare most cuts. It will teach you techniques, valuable recipes, and allow you to build on sound fundamentals with your own imagination.

Turn to the Turkey section starts with a short essay on preventing dry meat with three simple rules: correct temperature, covering the breast with foil for part of the cooking time, and no stuffing.

Many of us only cook turkey for holiday dinners. But these big birds are a great value–a single roast provides leftovers for days¬–making them well worth cooking the rest of the year. (p. 63)

There are only two recipes in the book: Roast Turkey with Giblet Gravy (pp. 64-6) with two pages of clear step by step photographs by James Patterson himself, and Sautéed Turkey Cutlets (p. 67). This is not 1,000 Ways to Cook Meat. Rather he has written roasting and sautéing recipes that should form the foundation for more recipes using those two techniques. Meat will build confidence without dumbing down the information.

Lamb is a larger animal that is usually butchered into parts and these cooked using various techniques. James starts with breaking down a whole lamb. In a series of photographs, he shows how to cut a young lamb into a rack. In each of the following sections on shank, shoulder, breast, and saddle, and chops, he breaks down the lamb further before launching into recipes. This could be handy if you were traveling in areas of the world where you have to buy your meat whole, but it also is essential knowledge for any cook – to understand how cuts of meat are related to each other and how best to cook them.

Meat is a great guide for carnivores and omnivores. It will get you out of a rut of burgers and chicken, and encourage you to try other cuts of meat.

Photo Gallery:

James Peterson creations:

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3 comments on “James Peterson – Meat: A Kitchen Education
  1. David Cormier says:

    Would be a good book but …

    1. Cooking temperature are in Farenheit only.

    2. Beef Cuts … only US way. No British or French cuts, which are different.

    Beside that, feels this is one of a good “Meat lovers” book.

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