Winter is when we get a lot of our reading done. Here’s another round of book recommendations from the MeatEater crew and contributors. If you’re stuck inside the house with winter bearing down, this reading list should get you through the snowy months. Make sure you check out Part 1, as well.
Annals of the Former World by John McPhee
“McPhee is one of the greatest non-fiction writers of all time, and Annals of the Former World is his masterpiece. If you can remember even a fraction of the material in this book, you’ll know ten times more about the geology of America than any of your hunting and fishing buddies.” –Steven Rinella.
All the Wild That Remains by David Gessner
“This book is part biography, part travel memoir, and part environmental history. Gessner examines the lives of two of America’s most influential environmental writers, Wallace Stegner and Edward Abbey, while traveling the American West in search of wilderness and what these wild places might mean to modern Americans.” –Mark Kenyon.
Afield: A Chef’s Guide to Preparing and Cooking Wild Game and Fish by Jesse Griffiths
“Chef Jesse Griffiths is a self described down-home Texan that does things his way. He’s also the owner of Dai Due Supper Club in Austin, and all-around educator on the art of butchering. The recipes and images offered by Griffiths in his book Afield are undeniably creative and easily followed. From doves to deer to rabbits to flounder, Griffiths shows you how cut, prepare, cook and serve it all. The red-bearded chef has gained fame as of late for his everyman, localized approach to wild game. One read through his literary handiwork, and it’s not hard to see why.” –Ben O’Brien.
Knowing Bass: The Scientific Approach to Catching More Fish by Dr. Keith A. Jones
“As the most sought after game fish in North America, largemouth bass have had plenty written about them. However, nothing goes as in-depth as this book, which leans on science to help you catch more bass. It’s not your average ‘how-to,’ but instead reads more like a college textbook at times. It’ll truly make you a better fisherman, even if bass aren’t your thing.”–Spencer Neuharth.
In the Land of the Red Goat by Bob Henderson
“This is a fascinating look into the life of one of British Columbia’s true backwoodsmen. With tales of bears, bush pilots, fly-out lodges, and pioneers, Bob brings the reader into some of the world’s most dangerous terrain.” –April Vokey.
McLane’s Standard Fishing Encyclopedia and International Fishing Guide and The New Hunter’s Encyclopedia
“Both McLane’s Fishing Encyclopedia and The New Hunter’s Encyclopedia have remained some of the most well-used resources on my bookshelf for decades. My father passed them on to me, worn and full of highlighted passages, when I was young and eager to learn as much as I could about hunting and fishing. They were both published in the 60s, but the sheer volume of relevant information these tomes contain make them worth owning. They don’t make them like this anymore.” –Brody Henderson.
“McLagan not only demystifies the unfamiliar cuts that are often discarded, but celebrates the odd bits of various animals with delicious recipes. This book is a great resource for hunters who are looking to experiment with eating nose to tail as she explains the nature of the meat, where it comes from and how to cook it. I often look to knowledgeable chefs and butchers who have become extremely proficient with domestic animals for advice on wild game. Even though there are some differences between the two, the nuts and bolts are still the same and it challenges me to understand wild game in the same regard.” –Danielle Prewitt.
Path of the Puma: The Remarkable Resilience of the Mountain Lion by Jim Williams
“You’re guaranteed to discover things about mountain lions that you didn’t know. It’s a book about science written by a biologist, but it’s not even remotely boring. I’d even call it a page-turner.” –Janis Putelis.
Shots at Whitetails: A Deer Hunting Classic by Lawrence Koller
“First published in 1948 and updated in 2000, this is the book that sparked my lifelong love for deer hunting, and why I persuaded a former employer to republish it 18 years ago. It was written long before we devoted entire books and magazines to “whitetail strategies” like calling, rattling, scent usage, mock scrapes, rub lines, food plots or even bait piles. Koller was a still-hunter, gunsmith and taxidermist. Besides telling great hunting stories originating from his deer camp in New York’s Catskills, Koller also discusses the so-called “brush gun,” and teaches readers how to mount their own trophies and sporterize old bolt-actions from World War I. Plus, I’m still a sucker for stories of boys shooting their first deer.” – Patrick Durkin.
A River Never Sleeps by Roderick Haig-Brown
“Originally published in 1946, this memoir follows the legendary angler and conservationist as he traveled as a young man from the chalk streams of England to the massive glacial rivers of the Pacific Northwest in the height of the timber boom. This book reads as a calendar, discussing the concurrent biological happenings and environmental challenges on his home waters month by month, from adult Chinook salmon returning to the river to juvenile chum salmon emerging from the gravel. A River Never Sleeps is the baseline for all fisheries conservation and fishing literature to follow.” –Sam Lungren.
Dersu the Trapper: A True Account by V.K. Arseniev
“I mentally reference this book at least once a month. It’s a fantastic account of a well-funded, well-healed expedition heading into the taiga. Although armed, educated and well manned, the expedition ultimately comes to rely on one man: Dersu Uzala. Dersu the Trapper is a reminder to both leave preconceived notions behind and spend a bit more time on technique instead of technology.” –Ryan Callaghan.
Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child
“French cooking has always held my attention as a culinary genre to explore. The techniques are thoroughly explained here. Someone like myself, lacking formal culinary training, can take a list of ingredients, follow the detailed instructions, and set down a plate of food with rich and dynamic flavor profiles. I place venison cuts in all beef recipes and explore the waterfowl recipes that are famous in French cuisine. I hope you like butter.” –Morgan Mason.