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Published December 20, 2011, 11:30 PM

Book review: Clever, loving tribute to brisket

You know you’re in for fun when a book about meat opens with a full-color photograph of celebrity beefcake – a brisket belonging to Joan Nathan, the Washington-based doyenne of Jewish cooking in North America – and the words: “In a world of Rachel Zoe makeovers, brisket is completely comfortable with what it isn’t.” Who’s Rachel Zoe? Who cares! This book will put you passionately over the moon for a meat cut that is often taken for granted.

By: Bill Daley, McClatchy Newspapers, INFORUM

You know you’re in for fun when a book about meat opens with a full-color photograph of celebrity beefcake – a brisket belonging to Joan Nathan, the Washington-based doyenne of Jewish cooking in North America – and the words: “In a world of Rachel Zoe makeovers, brisket is completely comfortable with what it isn’t.” Who’s Rachel Zoe? Who cares! This book will put you passionately over the moon for a meat cut that is often taken for granted.

Praise and quibbles:

Brisket is “the ultimate comfort food” for so many people, so many cultures. Brisket is also versatile, what Nathan calls the “Zelig of meats.” So, expect a little brisket history, a couple of interviews with famous brisket fans and a number of brisket recipes here, all clearly delivered. But this book takes the idea of brisket beyond the usual (and essential) cooking how-tos into such unexpected areas as vegetarianism (seitan brisket), mixology (clove’n hoof cocktail), poetry (“Pot Roast” by Mark Strand) and unsolicited advice (“What’s not so good? Brisket wrapped in shrimp”).

Why you’ll like it:

Stephanie Pierson is a New York City author and social historian who works brisket from every angle so that you get to know everything knowable about the cut while producing some delicious food in your kitchen. As the eye-catching red cover emblazoned with a drawing of a wary steer suggests, this book is full of colorful, lively and sometimes surprising images; the pages are a joy to leaf through for their energetic mix of images, photos and text.

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