Foreword Review — Sept / Oct 2010
The “do it yourself” trend of self-reliance is transforming the way Americans think about food. New resources for gardening, canning, preserving, and large-batch cooking have revived the lost skills of our grandparents’ generation. Home Production of Quality Meats and Sausages is the ideal book for anyone interested in self-sufficiency, meat science, and food preservation techniques. More than a cookbook, Home Production aims to educate the reader about the reasons for the rules of a recipe: why meat behaves the way it does when subjected to heat or salinity, why ingredients are combined in a certain order, and how to make safe-to-eat, professional-quality sausage.
Stanley and Adam Marianski, also the authors of The Art of Making Fermented Sausages and Meat Smoking and Smokehouse Design, are no strangers to sausage-making territory. The Home Production book is an exhaustive reference, addressing every conceivable question the reader might have about meat. “Making quality sausages has little to do with recipes, it is all about the meat science and the rules that govern it,” Marianski and Marianski explain. “All sausage making steps, especially temperature control, are like little building blocks that would erect a house.” From ham press design and the best types of grinders to meat selection criteria—it’s all here. Cost efficient materials and good, high-quality meat are emphasized: it’s clear that the authors don’t want to waste your time. Home Production is easy to read and features more than 200 charts, illustrations, and photographs. Such accessible content makes it a great starting point for the newcomer or the sausage-maker looking to learn more. There are lists of resources for ordering preserving and meat supplies, and a comprehensive index. Furthermore, it has an excellent chapter titled “Creating Your Own Recipes” which is invaluable to the reader interested in real cooking, or experimenting with recipe variations.
However, Home Production is not for the faint of heart (or vegetarian). At nearly 700 pages, it’s a meaty tome. The vast amount of information, though wonderfully laid out and clearly explained, may scare off someone who is looking for something more lightweight. Home Production will probably interest the more serious amateur—a reader looking for “just a recipe” should probably go elsewhere.
One of the most clearly written and serious cooking science books available to home cooks, Home Production of Quality Meats and Sausages is the ideal reference for the reader interested in self-sufficiency. Armed with the information in Home Production and the willingness to experiment, nearly anyone could become a confident sausage-maker.