Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
especially welcome to extensive readers

Monday, May 23, 2011

Mark Schatzker's Steak has more than sizzle on the page

For many people,steak is just another piece of beef. To folks like magazine contributor and author Mark Schatzker,finding that special cut which packs all of the tender juiciness and rich flavor you remember from the first time you tasted it is a meaty mission worthy of being undertaken.

That savory journey lead to this tasty tome entitled Steak:One Man's Search for the World's Tastiest Piece of Beef. As a food and travel writer,Mark was able to take a world tour of sorts to check out the best in steak,which is seen as a very All American meal but is appreciated in very different ways overseas and even in certain part of the U.S.A.

Mark's love of steak began early on,as his father shared his love of sirloin with his family based on his first great steak eaten at a restaurant in Ontario. Beef happens to be one of those foods that bring people together and creates some strong ties that bind them in mutual meat lover's appreciation, a bond that's hard to break:

Mark's first stop was in Texas,a state as connected to steak as Maine is to lobster. He visited several cattle ranches,most of which have seen changes in the taste and quality of their meat over the years due to modern feeding and maintenance techniques that produce a large number of bigger cows. The offset to that,however, is a distinct loss in flavor.

Nevertheless,Texas is still considered Big Steak country,especially at the famous Big Texan restaurant where you can get a free steak dinner known as the Texas King,if all of 72 ounces of it can be finished in one sitting. It's a challenge many have taken but few have succeeded at:

He then went on to places such as France,where an extinct breed of cow was brought back during WWII that makes for an intriguing slice of steak,Scotland, to find a truly authentic sample of Angus beef and Italy ,where the best in steak can be found in remote parts of the country and celebrated in festivals called Sagra della Bistecca.

On every leg of his trip,Mark finds people to guide him to the best steak in the area and they're just as fascinating as the food.

Japan is,of course,a key stop where Mark's guide is also a "Kobe virgin" and in Argentina,where he was introduced to the customary barbecue feast known as asado at a local parrilla grill house,Mark was quickly yet quietly informed by his host that the very idea of gas being used to cook the meat was considered an "abomination". Having local folks to show him the edible ropes really helped Mark to savor the regional flavor profiles all the more:

Steak is an engaging read,particularly if you're a meat eater. While the prose can tilt towards the technical at times,it's swiftly shifted back to the delights of discovering the nuances of the people that Mark encounters as well as the cultural quirks and unexpected taste sensations.

He blends all of that with a sense of humor and sincere interest in such debates as corn vs. grass fed beef,which tastes better,along with preferred cooking methods. While Steak is not a cook book,it can give you something to think about when prepping for your summer barbecues this season.

The book is now available in paperback and is an edible education at it's best. Think of it as a golden ticket for the greatest steak showcase on earth,as well as a nifty Father's Day gift. Steak offers a savory glimpse into a realm of taste that only a few could bite into outside of a culinary class and is just as satisfying as a nice juicy porterhouse in print:

No comments: