In the same tradition that saw Coca-Cola being associated with Christmas through their popularised image of Santa Claus, Meat and Livestock Australia have been featuring their spokesperson, outspoken sports commentator Sam Kekovich, in a series of advertisements that promote Lamb as the meat of choice on Australia Day. It started off in 2005 with a series of ads showing Kekovich irreverently imploring Australians to eat lamb on Australia Day.
Subsequently, butchers around the country took this to heart, aggressively marketing the BBQ as an Australia Day tradition, and the national holiday is under threat of becoming a national day of animal slaughter.
Not that I’m complaining. I love my dead animal as much as the next guy, which brings me to the point of this post – GeekReads is supposed to be a book review blog after all (the fact that the vast majority of posts are about everything other than books notwithstanding). I’m talking about Meat. by Adrian Richardson, owner of “La Luna Bistro” in Melbourne. It’s a book that aims to educate Australians on the art of “how to choose, cook & eat [meat]”, and is divided into a couple of introductory chapters explaining the basics, chapters for each of the main animals (beef, veal, lamb, etc.), and a few chapters around meat-related types of cooking such as pies, charcuterie (preserving meat), and stocks and sauces.
Each of the chapters about meat starts off with a few pages detailing the various types and cuts available, what to look for, how and where to buy and tips on cooking, followed by a good variety of recipes that cover a wide range of styles and cultures. I haven’t had a chance to try any yet, but I definitely like the look of them – they mostly use common ingredients and have clear, easy-to-follow instructions.
The book is written in a personal and amiable style. Richardson coyly mentions in his opening sentence that he was a vegetarian as a child, but thereafter launches straight into his passion and love for cooking and eating meat, including a section dedicated to mapping out the journey that meat takes “from the farm to the fork”, and not glossing over the fact that it is, after all, a bunch of dead animals. For example:
There is nothing pretty about abattoirs, or about the slaughtermen (and they are mainly men) who work there, but they are an essential part of the journey. […] I’m not denying it’s a confronting and even a brutal experience, but slaughtermen are skilled professionals and I’ve always been impressed by the pains that they take to give the animal as stress-free and comfortable a death as possible. It certainly seems no worse a way to go than any other more ‘natural’ end.
This is unlikely to appease animal activists, but Richardson is nothing if not respectful:
I’ve also discovered that the more one thinks about and understands the way animals live – and die – to feed us, the more it’s natural to want to give them back some sort of dignity. For me, this is not just about ethical farming practices and ensuring that animals have happy lives, but it’s also about valuing the animal by using its meat to the fullest extent you can.
I came across this book in the library, but will definitely get my own copy (the reason why I haven’t bought it already is because I’m waiting for a voucher or something, being the cheapskate that I am).
Happy meat-eating festiv… er, I mean Australia Day, readers!