Started as a small family endeavor, today Niman Ranch is a respected national model for sustainable farming - one that is supported by more than 500 independent family farmers raising cattle, sheep and pigs according to strict animal husbandry protocols.
Anyone interested in slow foods and sustainable agriculture will surely want this book in their library. But even if you have no interest whatsoever in the politics of food, this is arguably the best reference and cookbook on meats we've ever seen. Acquaint yourself with these pages and you'll know as much about (probably more) meats as your butcher.
Ten Speed Press generally produces beautiful books complemented by full color photos, and this is no exception. The text and photos here are so fascinating, you'll almost use it as a coffee table book. But be sure to give the book some kitchen time too. You can put your newfound knowledge of meat to good use by preparing some of the 40 fail safe recipes contributed by some of the more renown chefs who regularly cook with Niman Ranch meats (Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Ming Tsai, Mario Batali, Dan Berber and Craig Stoll to name but a few).
As much as an instructional book as it is a cookbook, you'll become an expert about the intricacies of this back to basics approach to ranching which produces an exceptional quality of meat, humanely and without hormones and drugs, as well as an authority on how to shop for and prepare quality meats anywhere.
Chapters include: Rethinking Meat -- Toward a Future That Looks Like the Past; Beef Our Way -- Grass Grown, Grain Finished; Pork Our Way -- Pigs Outdoors on Family Farms; Lamb Our Way -- Pasture Raised in the Golden West; Mastering Meat -- Essential Tips for Shopping and Cooking, A Shopper's Guide to Selecting Meat, A Cook's Guide to Preparing Meat; Recipes; Glossary.
See the Related Recipes section below for sample recipes from this book from Chef Michael Reardon and Chef Paul Canales.