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Meat: A Love Story
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Meat: A Love Story

2.76  ·  Rating details ·  112 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
The amusingly enlightening adventure of a woman hunting for the truth about meat— and why it’s still good enough to eat.

After spending a week working undercover at a slaughterhouse and being tormented by blood, the stink, and the squeals of animals being herded to their death, author Susan Bourette decided to go vegetarian. She lasted five weeks and thirty-seven hours.

Hardcover, 288 pages
Published May 15th 2008 by G.P. Putnam's Sons (first published 2008)
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Mar 16, 2009 rated it it was ok
I’ve finished these books that I’ve had about food. I also had this book so I figured, why not? Out of all the books on food, this was my least favorite. In fact, I’m thinking of selling this book if I can. The book isn’t about ethics, nor about philosophy. It’s a study of culture. The book starts with Susan working undercover in a slaughterhouse to see the working conditions of the people that work there. It’s brutal, no one wants to work there and Bourette quits and states that she can’t eat m ...more
Mike Moskos
Nov 27, 2010 rated it it was ok
I have to agree with the other reviewers: what was missing from this book was a real passion for food. For a book with "A Love Story" is the title, the vignettes on her travels to wide variety of meat producers were reported in a detached, journalistic way. I think the book could have had a completely different tone had she lovingly prepared the prime rib (detailed in the epilogue) before she started her research.

I do agree with her that the future of meat is likely to be a return to the past:
Jun 20, 2011 rated it it was ok
Meh! Not such a great book or such a likable author. Susan Bourette is a Canadian reporter who writes a story showing the horrendous conditions of working in a meat packing plant. She tries being a vegetarian but likes meat too much and doesn't feel well as a vegetarian. So she wanders about looking at different cultures and meat-eating but it doesn't feel like a cohesive whole or even much of a labour of love. She goes to Alaska to eat whale with the Inuit, to a farm with happy animals, to a st ...more
Jul 18, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
After going undercover at a slaughterhouse for an expose on meat processing, the author resolves to go completely vegetarian. She lasts approximately five weeks, her body simply unable to subsist on lentils and tofu. She embarks on a journey for the perfect meat that she could enjoy without guilt. This book celebrates the pleasure of eating meat, as well as the lives of those who hunt, raise and cook it. She discusses the rewards of being a compassionate carnivore.

The author embarks on a search
Oct 12, 2011 rated it did not like it
A mere 12 hours ago I wrote "I hate this book but I can't stop reading it!" Then I went to work. Having already finished the gross slaughterhouse part of Meat, I thought I'd spend my lunch break reading the rest of it. I spent my lunch break scowling at it. Susan Bourette is a horrendous writer, a stereotyper of vegetarians, and someone who has basically nothing to say whatsoever.

As a quasi-vegetarian (I cringe at the term "flexitarian" though I guess you could say it applies to me, somewhat, ma
Aug 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Journalist Susan Bourette begins the journey with an undercover assignment at a slaughterhouse and then she takes us along on her search for the perfect meat. She spends time with a celebrity chef, on a ranch in Texas, in the Arctic and others. I cringed at some of the stories especially those of eating raw meat, but I enjoyed the history of our love affairs with meat as well as vegetarianism. I was surprised to learn of the number of vegetarians in the past.
"Truly man is the king of beasts, for
Aug 27, 2010 rated it it was ok

It's odd that a book a "love story" would be so lacking in love. Susan flies around the world diving into different cultures on how and why people enjoy eating meat. It has the making and potential for quite a story.

She travels north to dine with Eskimos, dines in Louisiana to eat boudin, tries raw meat and happy meat (the pigs were raised in an organic and happy environment) ... but I want to say the book lacks warmth. Maybe she's too cerebral. I could see the jokes and mentally make a courtesy
Jun 17, 2013 rated it it was ok
I thought this book would be the meat-lovers response to vegetarians (and the book-flap and back of the book also leave that impression). Unfortunately, it was one women's perspective on different facets of the meat industry. This would've been fine if it was an engaging personal story, but it was pretty dull accounts of a meat packing plant, butchering, whale hunting and other various areas. Every time an interesting point was made or something mentioned about North America's history with meat, ...more
Jan 16, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dontrec

This is not at all what I expected from this book, which was an insightful look at eating meat and possibly an interesting defense of the practice. Maybe even how to do it responsibly.

What I got was a list of how some people do it without considering the implications and have done so for a long time (and therefore it is a good thing?)

I'm not anti-meat, I just want to do it responsibly whenever possible... This book is not only written HORRIBLY (e.g. my favorite phrase: "his drawl was as slow as
Sep 07, 2010 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Anyone not interested in a sincere dialogue on the subject
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book combines a few of my favorite genres: foodie books, books where the author travels around researching a specific subject, and books where the author makes some sort of personal voyage. Susan Bourette explores our cultural attachment to eating meat from the point of view of a lapsed sometimes vegetarian. She brings a balanced, real-world point of view to the subject, and writes thoughtfully in chapters ranging from Cajun sausage to whale blubber.
Aug 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my kind of book - informative, funny, and well-written. Meat, and meat consumption, is so polarizing. My meat-loving friends joke that "vegetarian" is an old Native American way of saying "bad hunter." My vegetarian and vegan friends loathe meat production processes. This book is a good discussion starter for both sides of that fence. No, I am not a vegetarian; I was for 6 years. But now I like to align myself with the informed omnivore side of the food world.
Nov 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
this book chronicles an investigative reporter's journey into the land of meat...for one year she works at various meat outlets...the first chapter has her working at a pork products processing plant...she lasts a week...then she goes whale hunting in alaska and eats blubber...there is also a raw meat eating adventure...and tries her hand as a was eye opening, and though i'm not giving up meat, it does give me food for thought...
Sarah Jane
The title of this book is misleading. It really should be called Meat: A Tentative Pat on the Head because that was about the level of enthusiasm the author shows. She throws herself into all these different cultures revolving around the eating of the flesh but she manages to seem rather apathetic and cold about all of it. If you are unwilling to try the foods of different cultures then why are you writing this book in the first place?
Canadian journalist who worked undercover as an employee for a hog packing plant. She had planned to work for at least two weeks, she couldn't make it. I had to put this book down for awhile, its a little gruesome and definitely makes you lose your appetite for meat. This is written in the style of a memoir which I appreciate, although she throws in a lot of factual information for sure. 8/11 Didn't finish, and probably won't, so much else to read!
Sandra Kohler
Mar 05, 2012 rated it it was ok
I found both Susan Bourette and her writing style to be utterly boring. Her resistance to trying new things was annoying as well. How does one plan to write a successful book about food--about a supposed romance with food--and be squeamish about many of the subjects of her writing? However, I did thoroughly enjoy the insight into the culture and business of her various research sites.
Dec 29, 2008 rated it liked it
Her adventures and explorations of meat production and people's relationships with animals and meat are very interesting, but her writing is frustrating... Fresh-out-of-journalism-school excessive use of adjectives and flumpy language. Better editting and/or cleaner, more crisp/concise language would have carried the book.
May 09, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: memoir, abandoned
I thought this book would help me reconcile my love of meat (mmm...bacon) with the moral responsibility of living and eating green. Instead, it's all about bits and parts of the dead animal. I was too disgusted to finish.
Considering Bourette's talent as a writer and the really amazing experiences she seeks out in order to write the book (e.g. the amount of reporting she did), it should be much better, more entertaining, more detailed and more illuminating book.
Dec 07, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: food
The author takes us across the US into meat-processing plants, boutique farms, and sausage festivals. Some topics (chapters) were really interesting; others just ok. Her writing style is light and funny but I've read some really excellent food writing lately and this pales in comparison.
Oct 25, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: cooking-food
Pretty entertaining, quick read. Follow the author on her journey: working in the bowels of a processing plant, with a hunting party in Canada, making bodin sausage in new orleans, and other memorable experiences.
Apr 09, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting and an Ok book. I kept waiting for the author to embrace the lifestyles that she was investigating and instead I felt like she sat on the sidelines and observed.
Sep 12, 2009 rated it it was ok
i found both her reporting and writing skills severely lacking.
May 28, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As unlikely as it is, I was worried that this book would put me off meat in some way. Of course, it didn't, but it did make me think about where my steak was coming from.
Mar 08, 2012 rated it liked it
I returned this one to the library before I finished it. It was pretty good, I may check it out again...
Teri Bryant
Dec 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
Pretty well written! Like a kinder, more culturally sensitive, and funnier Michael Pollan. Who'd a thunk - I found the hard cover for $3 at Big Lots.
Jun 26, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: biography, food
A pallid version of _Fast Food Nation_ and _The Omnivore's Dilemma_. Less angst, more superficial exploration, could use a good fistful of salt.
Jul 01, 2011 rated it liked it
An interesting, self-indulgent read; author takes us along on her exploration of meat without really coming to real answer to her quest for "the perfect meal."
Sep 02, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting walk through one person's food adventures. I liked the author's humor and her focus on the cultural aspects of food.
May 17, 2009 added it
Shelves: politics
i finished it, but couldnt help but be annoyed with her throughout.
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