Book Review: Meat, A Love Story by Susan Bourette

I’ve finished these books that I’ve had about food.  I also had this book so I figured, why not?  Out of all the books on food, this was my least favorite.  In fact, I’m thinking of selling this book if I can. The book isn’t about ethics, nor about philosophy. It’s a study of culture. The book starts with Susan working undercover in a slaughterhouse to see the working conditions of the people that work there.  It’s brutal, no one wants to work there and Bourette quits and states that she can’t eat meat.  However, that doesn’t last long.  She wants to go back to eating meat but she wants to figure out where is the best place to get it.  It’s odd that she only goes through Canada and the United States for this search.

  • She goes to Alaska to eat whale.  No good, she spits it out.
  • A Greenwich village butcher shop to see the cutlery.
  • A ranch in Texas.
  • Moose hunting in Newfoundland.  The meat tastes gamy.
  • A farm in upstate New York where the animals are happy.  She tastes the meat but can’t tell the difference, but she convinces herself that she doesn’t have a good palate to tell the difference.  However, she later enjoys the meal.
  • A steakhouse in Texas.  And based on the reading, this was probably the best meat she’s had.  (Although it’s odd that the meat could possibly have come from a similar slaughterhouse where she worked at.)
  • A new fad where eating raw meat is considered healthy.  She doesn’t try it.
  • And Louisiana for some Cajun food and boudin.

Although there is something to say about these different cultures, I didn’t find it satisfying for my tastes.  Maybe I don’t have a good palate to distinguish it.  The ending was offputting.  Bourette mentions that eating meat is part of our community and culture and without it, we wouldn’t have some connection to the earth or our history.  I don’t understand that argument.  Pollan makes the same argument in The Omnivore’s Dilemma and I don’t get it.  Whenever I hear that, that’s just a fancy way of saying, “It’s been part of our culture, so it must be ok.”  Nope, sorry.  That argument doesn’t fly for me.  For a cultural view of eating meat, with some added references to pop culture, this might be for you.  However, I don’t find it a serious read.

About shaunmiller

I have just completed a visiting position as an assistant professor at Dalhousie University. My ideas are not associated with my employer; they are expressions of my own thoughts and ideas. Some of them are just musings while others could be serious discussions that could turn into a bigger project. Besides philosophy, I enjoy martial arts (Kuk Sool Won), playing my violin, enjoying coffee around town, and experimenting with new food.
This entry was posted in Book Review, Culture, Vegetarianism. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Book Review: Meat, A Love Story by Susan Bourette

  1. bibliochef says:

    OI am about to post a review of this same book; the book was a wrirdly negative take, don’t you think?

    • shaunmiller says:

      In a way, it was. I don’t remember her having a good experience in all of these towns that she was in, so the upshot form what I got was, “I like meat, but I’m glad I don’t have to kill or hunt for it.” Typical. 😦

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