“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.
Praise for Meat Eater
“Full of empathy and intelligence . . . In some sections of the book, the author’s prose is so engrossing, so riveting, that it matches, punch for punch, the best sports writing.”—The Wall Street Journal
“Steven Rinella is one of the best nature writers of the last decade. . . . This book was a page-turner.”—Tim Ferris
“Rinella’s writing is unerringly smart, direct, and sharply detailed.”—The Boston Globe
“A unique and valuable alternate view of where our food comes from.”—Anthony Bourdain
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.
Customer ReviewsSee All
An intelligent argument supporting the time honored tradition/lifestyle of hunting and how that can hone personal relationships and growth. A refreshing, unapologetic message from Rinnella that would be effective at causing most anti hunters to pause and reassess their position, given they would simply read it.
This was a great book to read. Steven did a great job painting a story. It felt as if I was with him on every hunt. I learned, laughed, and was entertained. Looking to read the next book I can find by Steven Rinella.
Insightful and well done.
I keep up with Steven Rinella in his podcasts and Meateater shows, but this was the first book of his that I’ve read aside from the cookbook. His gift for story telling and ability to convey the philosophical struggles of the modern hunter make this a fun and rewarding read.