“Revelatory . . . With every chapter, you get a history lesson, a hunting lesson, a nature lesson and a cooking lesson. . . . Meat Eater offers an overabundance to savor.”—The New York Times Book Review
Steven Rinella grew up in Twin Lake, Michigan, the son of a hunter who taught his three sons to love the natural world the way he did. As a child, Rinella devoured stories of the American wilderness, especially the exploits of his hero, Daniel Boone. He began fishing at the age of three and shot his first squirrel at eight and his first deer at thirteen. He chose the colleges he went to by their proximity to good hunting ground, and he experimented with living solely off wild meat. As an adult, he feeds his family from the food he hunts.
Meat Eater chronicles Rinella’s lifelong relationship with nature and hunting through the lens of ten hunts, beginning when he was an aspiring mountain man at age ten and ending as a thirty-seven-year-old Brooklyn father who hunts in the remotest corners of North America. He tells of having a struggling career as a fur trapper just as fur prices were falling; of a dalliance with catch-and-release steelhead fishing; of canoeing in the Missouri Breaks in search of mule deer just as the Missouri River was freezing up one November; and of hunting the elusive Dall sheep in the glaciated mountains of Alaska.
Through each story, Rinella grapples with themes such as the role of the hunter in shaping America, the vanishing frontier, the ethics of killing, the allure of hunting trophies, the responsibilities that human predators have to their prey, and the disappearance of the hunter himself as Americans lose their connection with the way their food finds its way to their tables. Hunting, he argues, is intimately connected with our humanity; assuming responsibility for acquiring the meat that we eat, rather than entrusting it to proxy executioners, processors, packagers, and distributors, is one of the most respectful and exhilarating things a meat eater can do.
A thrilling storyteller with boundless interesting facts and historical information about the land, the natural world, and the history of hunting, Rinella also includes after each chapter a section of “Tasting Notes” that draws from his thirty-plus years of eating and cooking wild game, both at home and over a campfire. In Meat Eater he paints a loving portrait of a way of life that is part of who we are as humans and as Americans.
Rinella (American Buffalo: In Search of a Lost Icon) chronicles his evolution as a hunter (and trapper and fisherman) from shooting squirrels with a BB gun during his Michigan childhood to hunting deer in "the wildest corner of the Wild West" or tracking Dall sheep in the mountains of Alaska, while his wife and son are home in the civilized environs of New York City. Woven into Rinella's thoughtful prose detailing his outdoor adventures (or misadventures, in some cases) are historical, ecological, or technical observations dealing with the landscape, the animals, or the manner in which the game is harvested. Also, almost every chapter is finished with short "Tasting Notes" that outline the culinary dos and don'ts for meat from game like squirrel, black bear, and mountain lion. Rinella has a passion for hunting and wilderness that comes across in his writing, and even if you don't agree with his ideas on hunting lions with dogs or catch-and-release fishing you can't help pondering the arguments he makes. And that seems to be the point of the book, to make you think about your relationship with nature, about what you eat and why you eat it and if that's Rinella's motivation, this book succeeds. B&w photos.
I read it twice in a row.
This book is exactly what you want I’m a hunting story. Steven Rinella’s writing is generational, & something I will share with my grandchildren one day.
I’m from the western part of Colorado and I’ve been around hunting all my life and never thought much of the activity. Since watching Meat Eater on Netflix I have been absolutely fascinated with the history and the question and answers that come with hunting. Steve Rinella is amazing at fueling my understanding and desire to know more. This book is nothing less and even more than what I expected from him. A fantastic guy and a fantastic book. Even if you don’t enjoy the concept of hunting of have some kind of distain for the sport and those who partake, read this book. Not to change you mind but to grow in knowledge and understanding of the hunters mind and the reason conservationist like Steve Rinella do what they do. And if you’re a hunter and haven’t bought this book yet, what are you doing?! It’s Fantastic!
Invaluable information, stories that make you feel like you’re there, and a true outdoorsman.
I wish it were longer. Onto the next book!