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The Art of Living According to Joe Beef: A Cookbook of Sorts

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Located in a working-class neighborhood of Montreal, Joe Beef is at the center of Montreal’s growing reputation as a culinary destination. Often referred to as the Paris of North America, Montreal is the second-largest French-speaking city in the world, and like France, food is at the heart of its identity.   In The Art of Living According to Joe Beef, co-owners/chefs Fréd Located in a working-class neighborhood of Montreal, Joe Beef is at the center of Montreal’s growing reputation as a culinary destination. Often referred to as the Paris of North America, Montreal is the second-largest French-speaking city in the world, and like France, food is at the heart of its identity.   In The Art of Living According to Joe Beef, co-owners/chefs Frédéric Morin and David McMillan, along with writer and former Joe Beef staff member Meredith Erickson, present 135 unforgettable recipes showcasing Joe Beef’s unconventional approach to French market cuisine. Advocating the use of ingredients from local or family-owned producers whenever possible, this collection of hearty dishes delivers. The Strip Loin Steak comes complete with ten variations, Kale for a Hangover wisely advises the cook to eat and then go to bed, and the Marjolaine includes tips for welding your own cake mold. Joe Beef’s most popular dishes are also represented, such as Spaghetti Homard-Lobster, Foie Gras Breakfast Sandwich, Pork Fish Sticks, and Pojarsky de Veau (a big, moist meatball served on a bone). The coup de grâce is the Smorgasbord—Joe Beef’s version of a Scandinavian open-faced sandwich—with thirty different toppings.   This cookbook (of sorts) is packed with personal stories, Fred’s favorite train trips, Dave’s ode to French Burgundy, instructions for building a backyard smoker and making absinthe, a Montreal travel guide, and beaucoup plus. With nearly every recipe photographed in exquisite detail, this nostalgic yet utterly modern cookbook is a groundbreaking guide to living an outstanding culinary life.


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Located in a working-class neighborhood of Montreal, Joe Beef is at the center of Montreal’s growing reputation as a culinary destination. Often referred to as the Paris of North America, Montreal is the second-largest French-speaking city in the world, and like France, food is at the heart of its identity.   In The Art of Living According to Joe Beef, co-owners/chefs Fréd Located in a working-class neighborhood of Montreal, Joe Beef is at the center of Montreal’s growing reputation as a culinary destination. Often referred to as the Paris of North America, Montreal is the second-largest French-speaking city in the world, and like France, food is at the heart of its identity.   In The Art of Living According to Joe Beef, co-owners/chefs Frédéric Morin and David McMillan, along with writer and former Joe Beef staff member Meredith Erickson, present 135 unforgettable recipes showcasing Joe Beef’s unconventional approach to French market cuisine. Advocating the use of ingredients from local or family-owned producers whenever possible, this collection of hearty dishes delivers. The Strip Loin Steak comes complete with ten variations, Kale for a Hangover wisely advises the cook to eat and then go to bed, and the Marjolaine includes tips for welding your own cake mold. Joe Beef’s most popular dishes are also represented, such as Spaghetti Homard-Lobster, Foie Gras Breakfast Sandwich, Pork Fish Sticks, and Pojarsky de Veau (a big, moist meatball served on a bone). The coup de grâce is the Smorgasbord—Joe Beef’s version of a Scandinavian open-faced sandwich—with thirty different toppings.   This cookbook (of sorts) is packed with personal stories, Fred’s favorite train trips, Dave’s ode to French Burgundy, instructions for building a backyard smoker and making absinthe, a Montreal travel guide, and beaucoup plus. With nearly every recipe photographed in exquisite detail, this nostalgic yet utterly modern cookbook is a groundbreaking guide to living an outstanding culinary life.

30 review for The Art of Living According to Joe Beef: A Cookbook of Sorts

  1. 5 out of 5

    Foxthyme

    Hello beautiful, gorgeous, droolfest of a cookbook 'of sorts,' I love you. This book is not just recipes to you, it's a about a philosophy and lifelong adoration of food. If you eat, you will love this book even if you don't cook. I dare you not to salivate while reading.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Richard Canale

    Cookbook. Memoir. Treatise. Its overriding theme of 'I'd rather wake up proud than rich,' will resonate with any artisan or small business owner.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    An eccentric mix of Montreal history, autobiography and cookbook, "Joe Beef" is a testament to the love of food and the characters who gather in the kitchen to cook. The recipes are not for the faint of heart--35% whipping cream, butter, lard, suet, multiple eggs, pork--but so delicious. We prepared one, a traditional cake called Financier, and munched them with homemade chocolate mousse and Quebec strawberries. Paradise. Scattered among the traditional recipes are essays about the three restaur An eccentric mix of Montreal history, autobiography and cookbook, "Joe Beef" is a testament to the love of food and the characters who gather in the kitchen to cook. The recipes are not for the faint of heart--35% whipping cream, butter, lard, suet, multiple eggs, pork--but so delicious. We prepared one, a traditional cake called Financier, and munched them with homemade chocolate mousse and Quebec strawberries. Paradise. Scattered among the traditional recipes are essays about the three restaurants in the Joe Beef family, clustered in a rapidly gentrifying part of working class Montreal as well as descriptions of old-fashioned railway dining and other culinary pursuits. The next step is dinner at "Joe Beef."

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lena

    This is an amazing book, cookbook of sorts, including stories about train travel, Montreal, the good and the bad, east and west coast of Canada and food, glorious food. The recipes include classic Franch reductions, lots of meat, evaporated milk and Velveeta. Come on! How great is that? I know I won't be making everything in this book, because there are some thing as a home cook that are just too much work for me (read: I am too damn lazy). But that is reason enough to visit the restaurant in Mon This is an amazing book, cookbook of sorts, including stories about train travel, Montreal, the good and the bad, east and west coast of Canada and food, glorious food. The recipes include classic Franch reductions, lots of meat, evaporated milk and Velveeta. Come on! How great is that? I know I won't be making everything in this book, because there are some thing as a home cook that are just too much work for me (read: I am too damn lazy). But that is reason enough to visit the restaurant in Montreal.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Asta

    Joe Beef and Liverpool House are two of my favourite restaurants in Montreal so when I heard that Fred and David were putting out a cookbook I was excited. This isn't really a cookbook, although there are plenty of fine recipes. This a food manifesto. This is a history of the making of a friendship a business partnership, the restaurants, and the neighbourhood. It's also a collection of thoughts about what makes a good meal, why Fred loves trains and why they, along with Martin Picard of Pied de Joe Beef and Liverpool House are two of my favourite restaurants in Montreal so when I heard that Fred and David were putting out a cookbook I was excited. This isn't really a cookbook, although there are plenty of fine recipes. This a food manifesto. This is a history of the making of a friendship a business partnership, the restaurants, and the neighbourhood. It's also a collection of thoughts about what makes a good meal, why Fred loves trains and why they, along with Martin Picard of Pied de Cochon, are the hard-core carnivores of North American cuisine.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    What makes this books amazing is the stories that go along with the recipes. McMillan and Morin have a very unique sense of humour, and Erickson does a great job of making their stories come alive. Some of the recipes seem a little too much for a home cook (like the foie gras double down), but the instructions for all recipes are clear and concise. So far I've made the pulled pork, bbq sauce, and the banana bread. All three turned out great.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mario MJ Perron

    Forget any notion of healthy eating and embrace the culinary adventures contained in this collection. It is a tale of passion that will make you drool on every page! My advice is to have some tissues handy. If you ever wanted to be a foodie, this book is for you! Ps: make your reservation now and order the foie gras sandwich. It's so much more mouthwateringly delicious than you could possibly imagine. Good luck and good reading. M.

  8. 4 out of 5

    George Bieber

    Great book for the professional chef. Might not interest the casual cook. Interesting insight into a very unique restaurant group. I did skim the train chapter, not too interested in that section. Good photos and inspiring dishes!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    Very fun book that even has the authors guide to Montreal. A generous book with lots of recipes I would love to make, but probably never will.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Less_cunning

    EVERYONE SHOULD OWN THIS GREAT COOKBOOK !!!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Zach Lorber

    Amazing cookbook with lots of culinary commentary. Laughed out loud a lot!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Robb Coulter

    Great christmas present. Lots of insight into the owners and development of what is now a restaurant empire in Montreal. Mixed in with great pictures, tantalizing recipes and a history of Montreal.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tanya

    Gorgeous book with great information! Love these guys!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Dawn

    I'm sure the food of Joe Beef is AMAZING if you go there and eat it. From a cookbook perspective - these are not dishes I would ever make at home. Even the ones I thought - Oh, I love duck, I've made duck, let's see what this is....nope, nope and nope. From a book perspective it was a fun read. There's a lot of information and background on the chefs, their staff, the place(s) where they have decided to set up shop. I just wish it were something I'd actually want to play around with.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Valerie Sherman

    I love Montreal cuisine, and this book lived up to its expectation. I made lentils like baked beans, plum jam, cider turnips, and kale for a hangover. All delicious. Looking forward to trying some of the desserts and the charcuterie. Probably will not cook horse or rabbit at home, but no judgment.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Eric Rietveld

    This is the first cookbook I've read cover to cover, not just recipe perusing. It's more of a manifesto on life--the good life especially, and how to live. It helps that there are amazing recipes as well. Highly recommend!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Brad Theado

    Nicely done cookbook featuring food I would never cook. Not that the food looks bad, Id eat it given a chance and I am certain that I would love it. Im jut never going to have these ingredients on hand to make it myself.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nikki

    I really wanted to like this cookbook but I just don't get it. Maybe I have to be Canadian. Maybe I have to be interested more in cuts of meat like rabbit and horse and other pets. Why not dog? Cat? Hey if it's meat these cheffie types think it's some kind of cool thing to eat it. There was not one recipe in this cookbook that interested me. They said it was French food but I don't know French people who will batter and deep fry foie gras and serve it like the KFC monstrosity the "double-down" an I really wanted to like this cookbook but I just don't get it. Maybe I have to be Canadian. Maybe I have to be interested more in cuts of meat like rabbit and horse and other pets. Why not dog? Cat? Hey if it's meat these cheffie types think it's some kind of cool thing to eat it. There was not one recipe in this cookbook that interested me. They said it was French food but I don't know French people who will batter and deep fry foie gras and serve it like the KFC monstrosity the "double-down" and then pour maple syrup on it. Yes, it's as gross as that sounds but not nearly as bad as the horse steak. No one in this country (unless they are sickos) is going to be eating a freaking horse and to be fair they say so in the book but I guess they think it makes them hipper than everyone in the US who loves their horses and other pets and won't eat them. Horses are not raised to be food (not even in Canada)so yes that does mean when they get horse meat they are eating a poor creature that met a terrible and undignified end. As a horse owner and lover of horses, when I came upon this recipe I just went - ok - that's it for me. They lost me. As I continued to read the book I found the chefs David and Fred even more insufferable with every page. I don't think people who drink excessively are cool (especially anyone over the age of 23). I don't think people who have no regard for health and don't respect their customers are groovy and fun. I'm just not into having some dude who is big as a grizzly bear swearing at me or having some waitress tell me that the restaurant may not be right for me because they don't have printed menus and I have to read the menu off the chalkboard. I find all of that pretentious. And comments from David Chang from momofuku only reinforced this opinion in the Forward of the book. I guess he likes to eat and drink excessively (and from looking at these fat guys that's easy to pick up on) but that's not how I enjoy my life or my food. It's all trying to hard. The fact that David Chang says its NOT trying too hard means it is. Saying the guys (David & Fred) don't want to work (they make a point of saying they only want to work three or four days a week, I guess so they can be drunk the rest of the time - hell all the time, they drink at work)is a way of being all so above it all. They disisn't have a have a decorator for the restaurant (and it looks it), they have a bison head in the bathroom with a remote control fart machine that they use when people go in there. Yeah, ok, that sounds like forty year old frat boys. But the food is what really turned me off. It's ugly and cooked to death if it's cooked at all. It's meat, meat, meat with a side of meat. It's foie gras and maple syrup. Foie gras and everything practically. Bone marrow and foie gras and horse and the Easter Bunny and everything that you ever thought was charming and gentle and sweet and cute ending up dead and bloody on your plate. And when your stomach is turning they offer you a "sausage martini" with a Vienna sausage in it. Excuse me while I hurl. I don't want to drink meat. I cannot imagine eating at Joe Beef and their so called "Art of Living" sounds like nothing more than being drunk, fat, rude, liking trains and eating anything that can be thrown on a plate. I'm no hippie vegetarian (though I was once so let that color the pot-shots fans of this book and place will take at me)but this is not the way I am ever going to cook (building my own smoker? for real? why I can't I buy one? does it make me cooler and more hip to build one? let me get out my welder - I so want to be like them - will I have to be drunk too?) and I do not want to join the meat club that includes eating pets. I'm returning this to Amazon, I disliked it that much. I was really interested because I like some of the food that David Chang has at momofuku and he said this was his favorite restaurant. Obviously he's into this hip-chef-rude-guy thing (like mentioning in his Forward how "hot" all the servers at Joe Beef are - excuse me, grow the hell up - you don't have servers in NYC that are hot? You don't surf internet porn like every guy in the world? What exactly does this have to do with the food and restaurant? That some porky married guys (fathers in fact) hired some hotties like all places in urban areas do, duh.) You know the funny thing is I think there are only five or six recipes for beef in the whole freaking cookbook at a place called "Joe Beef" (it is named after a real person who had a tavern in Montreal in the 19th century). I mean WTF? Where's the beef? I found some of the stories somewhat interesting but don't need them in a cookbook. I don't care about the chefs interests. So they like trains. They like to drink. The Irish fattie wants to pour wine into his eyeballs. They like flea markets. (I know they are married to women but they sound like a couple - antiquing and wine-tasting weekend anyone?) Whatever. The food is ugly, gross and ridiculous. The entire experience made me want to eat salad and to curl up with my cat. Not to eat her.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Robin Barron

    One of the most accessible cookbooks for extraordinary food, fabulous essays, essential travel guide to Montreal. Just inspiring.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Will

    A great book of stories and food from those crazy French Canadians

  21. 5 out of 5

    Margery Osborne

    another restaurant i would like to go to. good read

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lynne Faubert

    I love cookbooks that go beyond recipes, that invite you into the chef's universe and sensibilities. This one set a standard of sorts for me (disclaimer, lol, I know these guys).

  23. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    I have very rarely added cookbooks to my G.R. list, this however is so good, so in my fantasy world that I know I can't be objective. I just know this is one of my top five favorite non-fiction of all time! An instant classic.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Cinnamon

    This book is gorgeous and it provides a great insight to the folks behind the restaurant. If I were headed to Montreal, had been to this restaurant, or was friends with the staff, I think I would have rated it higher. But as a cookbook, while the photographs are delicious, the instructions are clear, and the dishes sound amazing, I'm just not going to cook much of anything in this book, sadly. Which makes it great food porn, but not a great cookbook for me. I'm not squeamish, cooking meat is som This book is gorgeous and it provides a great insight to the folks behind the restaurant. If I were headed to Montreal, had been to this restaurant, or was friends with the staff, I think I would have rated it higher. But as a cookbook, while the photographs are delicious, the instructions are clear, and the dishes sound amazing, I'm just not going to cook much of anything in this book, sadly. Which makes it great food porn, but not a great cookbook for me. I'm not squeamish, cooking meat is something I do frequently and feel like I do well, but the dishes sound like things I'd be happier to eat than to make. So when I go to Montreal and eat here, I'll likely refer to the travel suggestions in the back and may come back and change my mind about whether I would cook these dishes myself.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jo

    I read an article by a chef that mentioned this was his favorite cookbook from the last 10 years. While there are a variety of recipes that stand out in my mind as high in technical difficulty (cornflake eel nuggets anyone?), there are others (The Hot Delicieux Sandwich, Good Fries, eclairs) which I would attempt in my own home kitchen. He gives some other instructions other than recipes such as building your own smoker and making your own absinthe that seem interesting. If you are one to sit do I read an article by a chef that mentioned this was his favorite cookbook from the last 10 years. While there are a variety of recipes that stand out in my mind as high in technical difficulty (cornflake eel nuggets anyone?), there are others (The Hot Delicieux Sandwich, Good Fries, eclairs) which I would attempt in my own home kitchen. He gives some other instructions other than recipes such as building your own smoker and making your own absinthe that seem interesting. If you are one to sit down and read a cookbook as I am, this may be one for you. I did borrow it from the library which I decided was a good thing. The pictures are lush and there is even a guide to visiting Montreal (Montreal in Two Days). I can see why a chef would mention this book as one of his favorites.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas Aune

    This book really is a "cookbook of sorts". Now it's full of recipes for simple delicious French Canadian fare, but it's also contains the best wine and liquor guide I've ever read, a travel guide for traveling Canada exclusively by train, really enthusiastic Canadian history, humor, restaurant voodoo, gardening tips, eating and drinking tips, how to build your own smoker in an abandoned field, how to turn a crack den into a fine dining restaurant in 8 days using free labor, how to make the perfe This book really is a "cookbook of sorts". Now it's full of recipes for simple delicious French Canadian fare, but it's also contains the best wine and liquor guide I've ever read, a travel guide for traveling Canada exclusively by train, really enthusiastic Canadian history, humor, restaurant voodoo, gardening tips, eating and drinking tips, how to build your own smoker in an abandoned field, how to turn a crack den into a fine dining restaurant in 8 days using free labor, how to make the perfect dish using the "Big Mac "formula of success, and a 3 day itinerary of where to eat in Quebec, all told by two of the most curious French Canadians.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    I didn't check this out for the recipes, so perhaps I am not this book's ideal reader - I was more interested in the writers' anecdotes about Montreal and building their dream restaurant(s) there. I found their style of writing too affected and self-consciously wacky to really enjoy (and intentionally or not, very reminiscent of David Chang) - so while they're probably nice enough people to talk to (and to have cook for you), they're a bit too irritating to spend much time with in print. The pict I didn't check this out for the recipes, so perhaps I am not this book's ideal reader - I was more interested in the writers' anecdotes about Montreal and building their dream restaurant(s) there. I found their style of writing too affected and self-consciously wacky to really enjoy (and intentionally or not, very reminiscent of David Chang) - so while they're probably nice enough people to talk to (and to have cook for you), they're a bit too irritating to spend much time with in print. The pictures are beautiful, though.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Grant

    More fun to read than to imagine cooking from. Lots and lots of meat mains, not much in the way of sides, soups, salads, veggies. The wine section was very informative. The cocktail menu seems to be a mean joke, with the theme "We hate cocktails and the people who order them. Go suck a wienie." I mean really, a Vienna sausage garnished martini? A master cleanse cocktail?

  29. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    3.5 stars. You have got to love meat to love this book and I have to say that I think that while the sausage martini makes my stomach lurch...I still really want to try it. I also might try my hand at making my own absinthe!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Chris Logan

    Very enjoyable book about the genesis of the Montreal restaurant "Joe Beef". Including recipes from the restaurant, itineraries in Montreal, and the importance of getting the best products for the restaurant.

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