Year of the Cow

On any given Saturday morning in the early 90’s, you could find most kids watching cartoons. Not me.

I'd be curled up in chair with some book in my hands.

Yep, I was one of those anomalies known as a “young reader.” Don’t get me wrong, I did watch TV, but it was mostly the History Channel (an obvious foreshadowing of my college degree).

Not a whole lot has changed. I still love to read and seeing as I have so much time on public transportation here in Brooklyn, I’ve gotten the opportunity to dive into other people stories.

When I first decided to pursue craft butchery, I knew I needed to build my knowledge on the topic. What better way to learn than to start collecting books? My mother contributed an awesome stack on butchery basics and my grandmother has stashed her life’s collection of cookbooks away for me. There are so many books I’m positive my soon-to-be-accountant brother couldn’t keep track.

I’ve read a few here and there, but between working all summer and moving across the country, I haven’t had a huge opportunity to pick through them.

There is one, however, that has made quite an impact on me.

Year of the Cow, by Jared Stone.  It was given to me on my birthday by my good friend Mamie B. At the time, I was in the middle of another read, so I packed it for my Brooklyn journey to flick through on my morning commutes to the processing facility.  Year of the Cow is the documentary of a television producer in LA who bought an entire butchered, grass-fed steer. He proceeded to feed it to his family over the course of two years.

You might ask, why? The answer is simple.

He was curious.

He wanted to know more about where his food was coming from and what he was actually feeding his family every evening for dinner. The book documents his experiences as he feeds his family the entire steer. Nose to tail. No skipsies. What makes the book even more awesome? He includes recipes at the end of every chapter. So if you’re wondering how to cook a cow tongue, look no further.

Year of the Cow was obviously relevant to me, but it also appeals to a mainstream audience as well.  Everyone who consumes food and is curious about their food origins would find this book both entertaining and insightful. The diet Stone adopted in his two year exploit hit me as odd; however after he explained the true origins of basic kitchen staples, I found myself starting to question and shift my diet for the better.

So here's the deal: I’m going to take it slowly and be conscious of what I am consuming.  I want to try to cut out all sugar. The key word here is "try",  because honestly, this  Texas boy loves sweet iced-tea and his mama’s three-berry cobbler. But I am going to cut back. 

Overall, Jared Stone's carnivorous tale of a family bond created over a steer is a good read for foodies.  It is a must read for the food-sourced conscious coterie.

Not a bad read to start my year of the cow.