Beef: The Untold Story of How Milk, Meat, and Muscle Shaped the World
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Beef: The Untold Story of How Milk, Meat, and Muscle Shaped the World

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3.25 of 5 stars 3.25  ·  rating details  ·  69 ratings  ·  16 reviews
The cow. The most industrious animal in the world. A beast central to human existence since time began, it has played a vital role in our history not only as a source of food, but also as a means of labor, an economic resource, an inspiration for art, and even as a religious icon. Prehistoric people painted it on cave walls; explorers, merchants, and landowners traded it a...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published September 30th 2008 by William Morrow (first published January 2008)
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Evan Fraser
Mar 16, 2010 Evan Fraser rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  (Review from the author)
I confess, I'm slow to learn about GoodReads and have just created an account. As the author of this book, I'd be thrilled to engage in the ideas and respond to criticism. If anyone is interested, feel free to join my facebook group (Evan D.G. Fraser and Andrew Rimas: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid...). Also, Andrew (the co-author) and I have a new book coming out this summer called Empires of Food: Feast, Famine and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations

Empires of Food: Why Civilization Rev...more
Terri
"Imagine our world without cattle, and you're not imagining our world." Great start to a book about beef!

Throughout the ages the cow has been an incredible bargain for the bit of grass it consumes, "They pulled loads, they made milk, and when they could do no more, they gave up their bones to the stew pot."

This book is a great history of beef and the cow/bull it came from. Andrew Rimas and Evan D.G.Fraser take you on an historical trip including Spain and their love of the bullfights, the Masai...more
Nathan
Great history, great facts, but no continuity. It reads like a blog archive, not like a book.
Matt
Mar 01, 2009 Matt rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who eats beef
Meh. That's the best I can come up with. Though, to be fair, I don't exactly know what I was expecting. I typically do not like novels written by journalists, and this was no exception. While well written, much of the anecdotes and armchair anthropology seemed to be largely filler. The whole thing could have been a nice National Geographic piece. And even given the 200+ pages, I feel like the reader only gets hints at very intriguing topics each worthy of its own book. Like being allowed to smel...more
Steven
I'm a total sucker for how-(fill in any element from the periodic table, groundbreaking invention, animal)-changed-the-world-as-we-know-it books. This wasn't one of the better ones, but I liked some things about it.

One of the authors (I'm not sure which), could be quite lyrical in describing cattle and the people who work with them -- quite amusing, sometimes. But the book seemed to jump all over the place, not really alighting and delving into any on aspect of cattle. It almost looks like someo...more
Allison
Oct 28, 2013 Allison rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: own
Disappointment is really all I have to say. I thought it was going to be more than it was. The first 100 pages are hard to get through as it was the early years of cows history. I think it spent too much time on that. It was the last 100 pages that were more interesting to me as it was closer to this century. I thought it would have gone more into what is happening today with shifts of organic and more sustainable practices are being looked at or the problems with these feed pen practices.

The b...more
David
Take a rambling long ride from the times of our stone-age ancestors who domesticated wild cattle, to the modern Masai tribesmen who struggle to keep their stone-age culture alive. Along the way you can run with the bulls in Spain, make cheese with medieval monks, and import cattle into the New World with conquistadors. Be sure to rest a spell and try a new recipe or two, from the basic Rib Eye Steak to Homeric Roast Beef, Cheddar, Steak Tartar, and of course: Beef Jerky.
Claudia Yahany
Demasiada poesía y romance.
Petar
The cow is truly an interesting and at times quite fascinating animal. The rise of beef consumption has had a direct impact on our planet and it is interesting to read just how much the humble bovine has shaped our fair planet. Unfortunately, I found the culinary interludes slightly irritating. I think I understand what the author was trying to do with these interludes, but for me, it broke up the flow of the book and made me gag slightly.
Dale
The book is a bit rambling. Has several good sections on the history of beef domestication, but never really pulled together. The chapter on the bull industry supporting the Spanish bull fights was interesting. My standard for this sort of book is still, Pig Perfect : Encounters with Remarkable Swine and Some Great Ways to Cook Them.
Sesana
The truth of the matter is that I skimmed the last half of the book. This isn't really anything to do with the book. I just realized after about a hundred pages that I didn't really care that much about beef to read a hundred more. The book seemed fairly well-written, it just didn't have the spark that would keep me reading further.
Noel M.
There's a couple of chuckles to be had in here. It's a light, afternoon read but not much beyond that.
Cissa
Very informative and readable account of the domestication of cattle through the ages. I really enjoyed it.
Scotty
3.5 is more like it. Entertaining overview, but topic could use more depth.
Scott
Extremely interesting. Rimas and Fraser walk through history with the cow!
Michael S.
Mar 11, 2009 Michael S. rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Cooks, Foodies, Historians
Recommended to Michael S. by: Borders Bookstore Find
Among (lots of) other things, I learned how to make cheddar cheese.
Mithun Gangopadhyay
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