MEAT by Susan Bourette


A Love Story
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Canadian journalist and conflicted carnivore Bourette tours the meat industry, looking to justify her choice.

Like many people, the author has grappled for years with the moral, environmental and nutritional conflicts associated with her decision to eat meat. But Bourette took her internal battle one step further, taking a job at the Maple Leaf Pork slaughterhouse in Brandon, Manitoba. The descriptions of days slicing out pig cheeks are appropriately horrifying, but the experience didn’t turn her into a Morgan Spurlock or Eric Schlosser. Rather, after a requisite post-slaughterhouse vegetarian stint, Bourette set out to find more natural, moral ways to enjoy meat. She saddled up with a multigenerational family of Texas ranchers and was shocked to find that, among other things, the steaks there were tough and the ranchers jaded, with little hope for their future. She went truly rustic on a whale hunt with the Alaskan Inuits and a moose hunt in her native Canada, contemplating the history of the human hunter, the thrill of stalking and killing in order to eat and the unrivaled taste of truly wild nutrition. She experienced firsthand the greenmarket revolution sweeping the New York food world, visiting the organic Blue Hill farm north of the city that supplies many major New York restaurants, and she apprenticed for a week in an expensive Greenwich Village butcher shop. At the end, Bourette tried to neatly tie up all her experiences with kitchen string by serving a rib roast to friends. But ultimately all she offers readers are a few interesting slices of life.

Without a thesis or strong conclusion, this journey seems frivolous and self-indulgent.

Pub Date: May 15th, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-399-15486-7
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2008


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