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Susan outside the slaughterhouse where this book began
Library Journal

"Americans eat an average of 260 pounds of meat each year and have developed what investigative journalist Bourette calls "a culture of meat." Fascinated by this, she was determined to share experiences with a variety of meat-eating groups. The Inupiat north of the Arctic Circle, those affiliated with a slaughterhouse and a pasture-based farm, and (the most bizarre) devotees of the Primal Diet, who believe that meat should only be eaten raw—these are a few of the groups sharing their carnivorous attitudes. Bourette also proposes that each American generation seems to reject the foods of its preceding generation, an idea to ponder. We can't ignore the conflict between our treatment of animals—factory farms, growth hormones, etc.—and the pleasure we take in the consumption of meat. Both a personal story and a study of human behavior, Bourette's book is something like a cross between Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma and Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love. Love of meat is not required to enjoy this; it will be satisfying for members of most food cultures. Recommended for all libraries."

- Elizabeth Rogers, CEF Lib. Syst., Plattsburgh, NY

From the Reviews Section - Science and Technology, Library Journal / June 1, 2008:

Bourette's book is something like a cross between Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma and Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love.

Library Journal |

New York Magazine

"Susan Bourette's Meat: A Love Story, the latest New Carnivore tome justifying the ways of man to meat."

From the Article:

Coffee and Meat Obsessives Need to Get to Bookstores Soon

New York Magazine |

New York Observer

"Ms. Bourette explained some of her research methods. At the beginning of her journey, she said, she worked in a slaughterhouse chopping the cheeks off the heads of hogs as they came down an assembly line. ("I had to pick them up by the esophagus," she explained.) By the time she started writing the book, she had tried alligator meat, whale meat, polar bear meat and many other kinds of meat."

From the Article:

Of Fish, Meat and Men

New York Observer |

Orion magazine

"CAN YOU EAT MEAT with a clear conscience? It’s one of those gasoline-on-the-fire questions bound to ignite hot emotions, not only among old-school omnivores but also with the yoga-calm vegans. Both camps have unequivocal answers. But what of the recent ecogastronomes, who, like me, might be wondering if the local, slow, and artisanal movements are merely justifying the unnecessary consumption of animals, albeit ones that are pastured, free-ranging, and sung to sleep each night. For conscious eaters with meat angst, Meat: A Love Story is the right read at the right time. And it is a love story, because what else but hot, blind, irrational love could explain our species’ continued consumption of flesh, which imperils the Earth, our health, and perhaps our souls?

If anyone should have turned away from meat-eating, it should have been the author. As a reporter she worked undercover at a pork processing plant where she spent a traumatic week slicing the cheeks out of hogs’ heads. Even so, she was unable to stick to a diet of plant protein. Although amusing at times, the book’s subtitle, “My Year in Search of the Perfect Meal,“ is somewhat misleading. This is no delightful culinary romp. Although funny (Bourette’s culinary failings are met with requisite self-deprecation), the backstory of meat—the blood and viscera of the dead and furry reality of the living—isn’t pretty. Adding to the overall unease is Bourette’s discomfort with maneuvering in a largely male meat world: testy butchers, defensive cowboys, egotistical steakhouse cooks, burly hunters, raw-meat-diet gurus. I hadn’t encountered that much machismo since Pam Houston’s Cowboys Are My Weakness, and the testosterone alone made me want to reach for a veggie burger and cup of herbal tea.

Without spoiling it all, I’ll let on that Bourette finds her most satisfying meals and conclusions where machismo is abandoned and where food, culture, and community intersect. Her experience making boudin, a pork sausage traditional to the Acadians of the Deep South, exemplifies profound appreciation for the animal that provided good simple food and whose flavor is as intensified by tradition and warm fellow-feeling as it is by spices.

As much as it is the right book at the right time, the biggest trouble with Meat is the timing. If you are already inclined toward investigative eating-books, you might feel Michael Pollan-ed to tears by now. (You might want to eat a cupcake—preferably one baked by Nigella Lawson—while emptying your head in front of Dancing with the Stars.) But the subject of meat eating deserves singular devotion, and because most of us can’t, or won’t, go to the lengths Bourette did to explore the complexities of the carnivorous urge, we should at least get bloody vicariously before we so easily reach for our next grass-fed burger."

From the Magazine Article Review Published:

November/December 2008

Orion magazine |

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