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

3.29  ·  Rating details ·  97 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
Andrew Rimas and Evan D.G. Fraser have joined together to tell the remarkable story of the noble cow in Beef: The Untold Story of How Milk, Meat, and Muscle Shaped the World. In the bestselling tradition of Cod and Salt comes a lively history of our ongoing relationship with an animal that we have worked alongside, consumed, and even worshipped for thousands of years. The ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published September 30th 2008 by William Morrow (first published January 2008)
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Evan Fraser
Mar 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  (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: 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
Aug 28, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: history, abandoned
Great history, great facts, but no continuity. It reads like a blog archive, not like a book.
Jun 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
The historical part of the book is well researched and amusing to read. It is too bad the authors are not familiar with either the beef industry or the dairy industry in its current form and make many errors that are obvious to cattle people but not likely to the layperson. It also show cases their biases against modern farming as they seem to think farms should all look like 1950s calendar versions of Pennsylvania dairy farms. Also they throw around words like GMOs, antibiotics, pesticides etc ...more
Nov 19, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Feb 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
"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
Kitten Kisser
Sep 10, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: cooking
Considering my job as an Eco-Farmers, I am rather obsessed with the food industry. What it was, is, & should be. Usually I find these types of nonfiction books fascinating. Not so with this book. This was a mind-numbingly boring read that I couldn't wait to get over with so I could move onto something else.
This book reminded me of the dull history books in High School, informative, useful, & mind numbing. Don't purchase this if you are looking for an entertaining read. If you need someth
Jan 20, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: natural-history
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
Jul 27, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Jul 29, 2011 rated it liked it
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.
Nov 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Mar 24, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: history, nonfiction, food
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.
Apr 20, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: cooking-food
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.
Noel M.
Dec 23, 2011 rated it liked it
There's a couple of chuckles to be had in here. It's a light, afternoon read but not much beyond that.
Sep 30, 2012 rated it liked it
3.5 is more like it. Entertaining overview, but topic could use more depth.
Mar 29, 2016 rated it liked it
Moo. Mooooooo
Mar 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Very informative and readable account of the domestication of cattle through the ages. I really enjoyed it.
Nov 09, 2016 rated it it was ok
Where's the beef?
Michael S.
Mar 11, 2009 rated it liked it
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.
Claudia Yahany
Mar 17, 2014 rated it did not like it
Demasiada poesía y romance.
Jan 31, 2010 rated it really liked it
Extremely interesting. Rimas and Fraser walk through history with the cow!
rated it liked it
Jul 16, 2014
Erika Salan
rated it liked it
Sep 17, 2009
rated it did not like it
Jun 19, 2009
rated it really liked it
Dec 03, 2011
Tracy Miller
rated it really liked it
Apr 21, 2014
rated it it was ok
Jan 07, 2012
rated it liked it
Apr 17, 2011
rated it it was ok
Apr 20, 2013
rated it liked it
Feb 15, 2009
Tim Mcanany
rated it it was ok
Aug 11, 2011
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