This book is great storytelling as we follow an inquisitive writer on his quest for great steak. He travels the world learning about the history of bovine culture and breeds, then he unearths a small herd of animals in France that are the closest relatives of the ancient ancestors of today’s cattle: Aurochs.
“The herd numbered at least sixty, with a big bull, maybe 1,200 pounds, standing out front. By the looks of things, they were all competing in a who-can-grow-the- biggest-horns contest, and the big bull was in the lead, his own set being thicker and curving out wider than any of the others.
“A blond eelstripe ran down his ample back, and he had more muscle hanging from one shoulder than could be harvested off my entire physique. The bull was walking heft. The bull was confidence wrapped in black leather.
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“Convinced that we represented the same threat level as the flies buzzing around his head, the bull sauntered off to join three smaller cows. Safe, I thought, but not for long, because a younger male with smaller horns (a male with something to prove?) caught sight of me and set off my way. His pace was brisk, and as he approached he lowered his head and picked up speed. Horns pointed forward, he thrashed his head from side to side in the manner of a puppy destroying a slipper.”
He survives and goes on to discuss how the Nazi geneticists preserved the breed and how it tasted. Fascinating stuff.
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