I've been wanting to get around to writing a little bit about Shannon Hayes for a while now. I own all of her books and firmly believe they are necessary readings for anyone interested in grassfed cooking and foods/homestead type living.
I forget exactly when I first bought Grassfed Gourmet (I'm just seeing now, while linking this, that there is a second edition coming out - yes!) It was last summer or the summer before.
I had been eying the copies that Wendy from Sweetgrass Farms had out at her stand each week. I was still transitioning to grassfed eating, and admittedly had some trouble preparing the meats just right (still do, honestly). Every week I put off buying a copy of the book, because the price (maybe 18 dollars?) was way out of the range I normally spend on books (I'm a used book kinda gal, and when I need something new or specific - I amazon.com it). One week, I happened to have some extra money and decided I'd buy it. Lucky for me, it was the last copy, and the edges were slightly dirty - so I got it at the discount price of $11.00. It has really been an indispensable guide in my transition to local, grassfed cooking.
I worked at Wegmans (a fantastic grocery chain, based locally for me) for 5 years and so USDA temperatures for foods and meats has been drilled into my brain for food safety. Plus, for a long time raw meat made me very squeamish. I handled it often, even at home, with gloves on.
I am just now (like, in the last couple of months) getting used to eating steaks a little pink. And I have to admit I do like them better cooked that way, once I get past the fact it's not well done browned/charred.
Several weeks ago, while browsing amazon.com I came across a new book that had just been released, Radical Homemakers . That caught my eye, because of the premise of the book, but I also recognized the author, Shannon Hayes. While adding that to my cart, I saw yet another new Shannon Hayes book, The Farmer and the Grill. I ordered Radical Homemakers, and waited until the grilling season to order The Farmer and the Grill.
Radical Homemakers had me nodding my head and saying yes! out loud the whole time I was reading it. It's what I've been thinking and saying for years - only in a much more through, yet concise sort of way. Shannon interviewed several "Radical Homemakers" for the book, and it was neat to get the different levels and perspectives of them all.
Side note: While visiting an organic farm a few weeks ago just 6 or so miles down the road from me, I met the farmer. She had all of Shannon Hayes's books for sale and we got talking about them. Come to find out - she was featured as one of the Radical Homemakers! Imagine that, a radical homemaker as my neighbor!
One thing about the book, that of course put me on the defensive and had me grumbling just the slightest bit - were the comments like "we decided we wanted to raise our own children". You all know how I feel about things like that.
But, I also understand where those comments come from, and aside from that I loved every single thing about this book. Loved it.
The Farmer and the Grill came into our house a few weeks ago, and I've already tested a couple of the recipes. The steak I made came out very, very rare following the method outlined. I mean 140 degrees rare. It's so hard for me. The Husband said it was perfect. The kids loved it. I put mine in a frying pan for just a minute - still pink, but eased those instinctive food safety worries! I'll get there, because the truth is - that steak was delicious. And I bet it would have been that much better if I had left mine as it was. I'm learning.
I read the Farmer and the Grill cover to cover (as I do many cookbooks) but this one was wonderful. A lot of side notes on cooking techniques and their histories - on why grassfed is more expensive - or is it?!
I've decided to do my first give-away with one of Shannons books, because I really think they are wonderful. I would love to do a package give away, and do all 3, but I can't. It took me a little while to decide which one to do. In the spirit of the approaching Summer, I've decided to do The Farmer and the Grill.
All you have to do to enter is comment on this post and I'll pick a winner one week from today, Tuesday the 2nd. Yay!