Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Book 24: The Butcher and The Vegetarian

TITLE: The Butcher and the Vegetarian: One Woman's Romp Through a World of Men, Meat, and Moral Crisis
AUTHOR: Tara Austen Weaver
STARTED: September 22, 2015
FINISHED: October 14, 2015
PAGES: 228
GENRE: Food / Memoir

FIRST SENTENCE: My friend Christine says that butchers make the best flirts, and on this I will have to trust her.

SUMMARY: [From BN]  Growing up in a family that kept jars of bean sprouts on its windowsill before such things were desirable or hip, Tara Austen Weaver never thought she'd stray from vegetarianism. But as an adult, she found herself in poor health, and, having tried cures of every kind, a doctor finally ordered her to eat meat. Warily, she ventured into the butcher shop, and as the man behind the counter wrapped up her first-ever chicken, she found herself charmed. Eventually, he dared her to cook her way through his meat counter. As Tara navigates through this new world--grass-fed beef vs. grain-fed beef; finding chickens that are truly free-range--she's tempted to give up and go back to eating tempeh. The more she learns about meat and how it's produced, and the effects eating it has on the human body and the planet, the less she feels she knows. She embarks upon a sometimes hilarious, sometimes frightening whirlwind tour that takes her from slaughterhouse to chef's table, from urban farm to the hearthside of cow wranglers. Along the way, she meets an unforgettable cast of characters who all seem to take a vested interest in whether she opts for turnips or T-bones. The Butcher and the Vegetarian is the rollicking and relevant story of one woman's quest to reconcile a nontraditional upbringing with carnal desires.

THOUGHTS: I adore Tara Austen Weaver's blog, Tea and Cookies. When she posted about releasing a book, I immediately put the title on my TBR list. It took her second book coming out to remind me to read the first. I'm glad I did - this book holds the same magic and gorgeous writing of her blog, with the added dose of meeeeaaaaaat.

I enjoy Weaver's recounting of her romp through the world of meat and how meat impacts our diets and lives. She gives every sort of meat (and non-meat) diet a go - but not in a bloggy-look-at-me way. She is trying to reclaim her health by finding the diet that works for me.  

If I had one criticism of this book it's that it tries to hard not to make waves. Weaver goes out of her way to not judge or criticize (which I do appreciate), but she writes around the politics of food in such a way that it comes across as awkward and timid.

Other than that, this is a delightful book.

RATING: 7/10 [Very Good]

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