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The River Cottage Meat Book Hardcover – 24 May 2004

115 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (24 May 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340826355
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340826355
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 3.8 x 27 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 12,733 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is a writer, broadcaster and campaigner. His series for Channel 4 have earned him a huge popular following, while his River Cottage books have collected multiple awards including the Glenfiddich Trophy (twice), the Andre Simon Food Book of the Year (three times), the Michael Smith Award for Work on British Food award at the Guild of Food Writers and, in the US, the James Beard Cookbook of the Year. Hugh lives in Devon with his family, where you can also find the River Cottage HQ, which is home to an award-winning Cookery School, unique dining experiences and memorable events.

Product Description

Amazon Review

As you would expect from the quirky and strong-minded Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, The River Cottage Meat Book is a quirky and strong-minded book. This arm-straining volume (weighing in at an impressive and well illustrated 543 pages) is quite the most ambitious volume yet by an author who absolutely refuses to be categorised. Is he a cookery writer? An expert on the sociology and history of food? An eccentric TV personality? Actually, of course, he's all three (and more); and all of his various skills find expression in this, his magnum opus.

The first intriguing question that The River Cottage Meat Book inspires is: what is the author's agenda? The book has so many aims it's difficult to know where to begin. First of all, this is a definitive guide to the preparation and cooking of meat, in all its various forms. Fearnley-Whittingstall deals (in assiduous detail) with such topics as roasting, grilling and preserving everything from turkey to trotters, in a variety of recipes that he obviously knows and loves. But there is far more to the book than this--fascinating sections on the many different types of meat (lamb, pork and so on) are crammed with information on the different cuts of meat and what they should be used for.

But as someone who raises and utilises his own livestock at the River Cottage, Fearnley-Whittingstall is clearly passionate about the welfare of animals bred for food, and provides some unpalatable information on widespread misdemeanours in these areas. If nothing else, this book will persuade you that it's a good idea to buy your meat from butchers who are equally passionate about these issues, or even direct from reputable farms. The concept makes sound ideological sense, but also ensures that your meat dishes will have an unrivalled depth of flavour. --Barry Forshaw


Unflinching respect for the animal and commitment to the truth sets Fearnley-Whittingstall apart from the rest of the food-writing mob. This is the most honest cookbook I have found, reeking with helpful, hands-on wisdom. It is everything it should be and more ... deliciously funny, well written and neither macho nor sanctimonious. If you eat meat, you will buy, prepare and cook it better having read this book. (Jill Dupleix, The Times)

Thumpingly enormous, extremely good, and manages to be at once a recipe collection, a series of tutorials on the principles of cooking, a directory of organic suppliers, a philosophical essay, a timely report on the state of intensive farming and a forceful polemic (Sam Leith, Daily Telegraph)

The sheer wealth of information is amazing and it is truly one of the most informative and passionate books you will ever read on the subject. It should be bought by every meat-eating household, as well as every butcher and supermarket manager throughout the land (Martin Koerner, Waterstones Books Quarterly)

I have been unable to put it down ... I urge all meat lovers to go and buy it. It is excellent (Mervyn Hancock, Western Daily Press)

Carefully researched, revelatory and powerful... The technical bits of the book are especially good and equip you with an understanding that is all too often absent from celebrity chef offerings ... delivered with lively writing and endearingly corny puns (Felicity Lawrence, Guardian)

A tome as heavy as a newborn piglet ... brave and deeply challenging stuff... a refreshing and triumphant antidote to dumbed-down recipe writing... positively incendiary (Joanna Blythman, Sunday Herald)

The solitary TV regular who can write a decent cookbook ... the enthusiastic carnivore will relish all 550 pages (Christopher Hirst, The Independent)

The best new book of the year without a shadow of a doubt, a serious treatise, a meat cookery bible and a supremely appetising recipe collection. Fearnley-Whittingstall is our most important and eloquent food writer today. His finger is always on the pulse. He tells it as it is without pulling punches and without wagging a moralising finger. This is the work of a thoughtful and caring omnivore. Everyone who eats meat should have a copy, and some who have stopped eating meat may find reasons in it to reconsider meat-eating in a fresh light (Philippa Davenport, Financial Times)

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

102 of 103 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 6 July 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is not just a cookbook, but an almost poetic expression of a passionately-held philosophy about food.
First the bit you would expect: tons of great recipes, covering both the more familiar cuts of meat (roasts, pies, casseroles) and weirder ones (innovative ways with liver, sweetbreads, brains and more). So far so good: a really solid meat cook-books
But now comes the good bit: the book is also a sensitive and educational exploration of why we should eat meat, how farm animals should be treated, and how to select meat so that it tastes good. The author argues passionately that it is both our moral and our culinary duty to buy good meat: animals that have been well treated taste better. He also includes a very well thought-out section on the ethics of meat-eating, which far from being the standard diatribe against vegetarians is subtle, educated and immensely convincing.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A. Woodley on 12 Jan. 2007
Format: Hardcover
I have always had a huge respect for Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. His cookery programmes have been amazing as they are more than just programmes. They are all about understanding food and its nature. He has effortlessly translated this into a beautiful and highly readable book.

I was engrossed in it from the start. His introduction about meat is amazing. By understanding the nature of meat, its production, slaughter, hanging and packaging, you can go a long way to understanding the nature of meat itself and how best to buy and raise it.

In fact, it is all about really basic details in preparation - from how to make hams to how to buy the best kidneys and why. Hugh seems to be on a mission to make popular old favourites such as tripe and liver - I don't knwo how much success he will have in that area, but his explanation on why it doesn't necessarily taste too good now is definitely indisputable.

I really enjoy his easy readable style, his disucssion on best raising techniques of pigs for instance was fascinating. He has practised what he writes about, he raises his own meat, slaughters it and then prepares it himself. It is a bit disconcerting having a dead pig head starting a chapter, but then Hugh talks about using all thebits of a beast in his chapter entitled 'thrifty'.

Fro those who don't want to raise and slaughter their own beasts, you will gain much from his other chapters - which meats make the best to fast cook (and why) and which are the best to slow cook. Both have why and how. There are chapters on slow cooking, cooking in wood fired ovens, and much more.

The recipes are delicious and the stories about them interesting reading and all provide depth of background to the recipes themselves. This is one book which will be remaining on my shelf for years to come, It is easy to use, interesting, and provides fundamental knowledge. It has my highest recommendation!
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67 of 68 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 24 May 2004
Format: Hardcover
It seems a little ironic that a pilgrimage to Manchester to see arch-vegetarian Morrissey's home-coming show should give me the opportunity to notice this book but a cursory flick through the pages confirmed my hope that it would take me to the next rung on the hobbyist cook ladder.
Most cookery books answer the "how?" questions with varying degrees of success but I suspect that after the third or fourth Recipe Collection Christmas Stocking-Filler, many people would like to have a few basic "why?" questions answered to satisfy the need to be able to improvise when ingredients (or even equipment) aren't available or simply to satisfy their creative urges.
The book is therefore split into two so that Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall can first deal with what you should know about meat before he deals with how you can best cook it. HF-W's combination of concise facts about the meat industry and cutting - sometimes very comedic - observations will give any reader the armoury and terminology to be more intelligent about what they buy (how many people really have more than a rudimentary knowledge about which part of an animal provides which kind of meat and what it's good for?) but as he appears to agree himself, this book is only a starting point and you'll have to establish a good relationship with a good butcher to really get the best ingredients and the best use of what you do buy.
Once you do all this, the rewards are the recipes in the second half of the book. HF-W runs through a number of well-known meat dishes and as usual, some are more adventurous than others. His easy going style and his refreshing honesty about when "the right way" is simply his own opinion makes you realise how accessible good cooking and good ingredients actually are.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 24 Aug. 2005
Format: Hardcover
I have never been so impressed by a food book before; it's so good, I gave a copy of it to my butcher. The writing is lucid, humorous and informative. A wide range of realistic recipes as well as thought-provoking chapters on sourcing the best meat and the principles of cooking make "Meat" ridiculously good value at its reduced price. You finish each chapter inspired to cook according to some simple tenets relevant to the particular type of meat under discussion. The book is also beautifully designed and produced.
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104 of 107 people found the following review helpful By Booksthatmatter on 21 Jun. 2004
Format: Hardcover
The man with the most appealing sounding lifestyle in Britain, carries on his real-food campaign with panache in this immensely usable and useful volume. I often scour stacks of cook-books looking for a recipe or instructions for a particular cut and type of meat, now there's a single volume to answer that need. He's always going to make enemies in the Vegan sector, but who could fail to be moved by his passion for quality and standards in food and especially meat. It's also a clarion call to us as consumers to think before we buy and to act on our ethics. He makes you believe you can contribute to ending the stranglehold of intensive chicken rearing for instance.
To top it all, the book is well written, beautifully designed and lvishly illustrated. What more could you ask from a cook book - oh, yes recipes! Well, those are excellent, reliable and oh-so tasty. He make's me re-think my hostility to TV-based food programmes. Hugh, you are a good thing indeed.
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