Leith's Meat Bible by Max Clark and Susan Spaull
|Leith's Meat Bible by Max Clark and Susan Spaull|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: Unless you're vegetarian or vegan you need this book. You might not know it, but you do.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 560||Date: July 2010|
|Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing plc|
I've been cooking beef for almost half a century and I thought that I was making a pretty good job of it, but last weekend I cooked the best beef I have ever done and it was down to 'Leith's Meat Bible'. It wasn't because I had suddenly found a recipe to top all the others – it was because this book doesn't just tell you what to do; it tells you why. Because of this I made some fairly minor adjustments to how I cooked the beef – and the results were amazing. It's the ultimate meat cookbook and unless you're vegetarian or vegan you should have one.
Don't think of it as a recipe book – although there are more than four hundred and fifty of them from all over the world – think of it as an instruction book. You'll learn about all the different cuts of meat, how they're best prepared and how they're best cooked. There's also a trouble-shooting section which will tell you why something might have gone wrong – and you'll know how to put it right next time. You might think that this is the sort of book which you'd find in a professional kitchen (and you probably would) but it's also going to be invaluable to the amateur cook too.
There are instructions on preparing and cooking expensive cuts of meat but there's equal emphasis given to the cheaper cuts of meat too. You'll have more confidence to buy the cheaper cuts because you'll understand how they're best prepared and cooked, rather than just having read a recipe. I was particularly grateful for a recipe for a rack of lamb (our weekend treat) which can be dry if you remove the fat, but too fatty if you don't. There's an excellent recipe for a breadcrumb, herb and butter crust which is delicious and keeps the meat beautifully moist.
There are some good colour photographs which direct you to the appropriate recipe – but nothing on the individual recipe to tell you that there is a picture available (and sometimes it is good to know that there's a picture available) but that's really my only (minor) gripe about the book. You'll get wine recommendations, explanations of cookery terms and illustrated techniques tips. It's one of those gems which you don't know how much you need it until you have it. Highly recommended.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag. After last week's beef my husband sent his thanks too.
For another invaluable guide to techniques we can recommend Knife Skills Illustrated: A User's Manual by Peter Hertzmann.
Leith's Meat Bible by Max Clark and Susan Spaull is in the Bookbag's Christmas Gift Recommendations 2010.
You can read more book reviews and buy Leith's Meat Bible by Max Clark and Susan Spaull at Amazon and Waterstones.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.