Ask a Chef: What Would You Eat for Your Last Meal on Earth?

"Spaghetti with sea urchin and limpets, but only if I could gather them from the shores of Sicily. Otherwise, because it's my last day on earth and I don't care about cholesterol and blood pressure, I would want a four-pound aged steak with a large side of pommes soufflé." –Fortunato Nicotra, Felidia, NYC

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The Bookshelf: Betty Fussell Wants You to Eat Your Steak Rare

Raising SteaksThe unflappable Betty Fussell graced us with her presence yesterday at Beard on Books for a rousing discussion of her book Raising Steaks and all things beef. After discussing the history of the beef industry, from small-scale butcher shops to industrialized slaughterhouses to the grass-fed future, Betty moved on to how Americans eat and think about beef. What has been the effect of industrializing the beef industry? A dulled and “timid” American palate, Betty claims. She believes we need to be re-tasting all kinds of beef from Wagyu to grass-fed, declaring that it’s time to “train ourselves to not just eat rib-eyes.” Where should we be doing this training? These days, restaurants and chefs have the best access to the choicest cuts and kinds of meat, because they can demand it. And they also can produce the best tasting meat because they have the heat sources to cook it properly. Betty implores us to order our steaks and other red meats “Rare! Rare!

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The Bookshelf: Betty Fussell

Raising SteaksTomorrow’s Beard on Books brings us Betty Fussell, a passionate carnivore who will discuss her new book, Raising Steaks: The Life and Times of American Beef. Fussell approaches this tough and proud American industry with an open mind, profiling the many men and women who help bring steaks from the ranch to our plates. She knows her cuts of beef, and that’s why we asked her to tell us her five favorites and how to prepare them. Rib-eye: Why? Because of all that marbling, otherwise known as fat. And because you can get it cut thick and on the bone. Thick means you can cook it crusty on the outside and rare within, and bone means flavor. Put on lots of salt and pepper, throw it on that hot grill or grill

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Recipe: James Beard's Steak Pizzaiola

SteakThis saucy, savory steak is sure to impress your friends at your next weekend barbecue. In James Beard's Treasury of Outdoor Cooking, Beard suggests serving this grilled steak (which is then quickly simmered in a garlicky tomato sauce) with a side of buttered noodles (to soak up the sauce), a mixed salad with garlic croutons, and a bottle of Valpolicella.

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Recipe: James Beard's Steak Pizzaiola

SteakThis saucy, savory steak is sure to impress your friends at your next weekend barbecue. In James Beard's Treasury of Outdoor Cooking, Beard suggests serving this grilled steak (which is then quickly simmered in a garlicky tomato sauce) with a side of buttered noodles (to soak up the sauce), a mixed salad with garlic croutons, and a bottle of Valpolicella.

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