Meat cookbooks are all the rage this holiday season. As I perused the latest cookbooks in the Kitchen Arts & Letters newsletter, I saw Falling Off the Bone; Primal Cuts; The Complete Book of Butchering, Smoking, Curing and Sausage Making; and Cured.
Also included two books with almost identical cover themes. Yep, art directors at Ten Speed (Meat) and Stewart, Tabori & Chang (Good Meat) had the same idea: Raw T-bone steaks. While Good Meat is about sourcing and enjoying sustainable meat (hence the “Good” in the title), they still look similar, coming out within a month of each other.
I called Kitchen Arts & Letters to discuss more, but got a busy signal. So I called Omnivore Books, where I left a voicemail that owner Celia Sacks returned promptly (KA&L, take note). She said the covers reminded her of the hugely successful River Cottage Meat Book, now three years old. It was her best-selling book when she opened the bookstore two years ago.
Her California cookbook store isn’t selling many of these meat-centric books, though. “I kind of think this the last gasp for those books,” she said. “I’m noticing a really big drop-off in sales of nose-to-tail and meat books.”
So what are people buying? “Vegetables are where people are going. The vegetable shelves are so picked over.” Sacks has advance orders for the forthcoming American version of Nigel Slater’s vegetable book Tender, due in the spring from Ten Speed. She’s already sold 30 copies of the British version at $60 each.
“Michael Pollan and Mark Bittman are saying to eat less meat, and I think their words are finally having an impact,” she concluded.
What do you think? Is the meat craze (including bacon) ending anytime soon?