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September 14, 2011

Joe Beef Is No Ordinary Joe

By Nick Fauchald | Food

Beef: It's What's for Dinner. Photo courtesy of Random House.

If one judges a cookbook by its idiosyncrasies, this fall's best comes from Canada. The Art of Living According to Joe Beef, by Frédéric Morin and David McMillan, will teach you how to cook a horse steak, make absinthe, tour Canada by train and cure a hangover (kale with bacon and fried egg). For whatever reason, the authors' Montreal restaurant, Joe Beef, is less hyped in America than the city's other meat palace, Au Pied du Cochon, but The Art of Living should help to change that. To be clear: This isn't a book you'll cook from cover to cover—unless you can envision a dinner party wherein pork fish sticks, dining car calf liver and éclair Velveeta share a table. However, many of the book's bourgeoisie recipes have made their way through our kitchen with great success (chicken-skin tacos and beef tartare, particularly). But what makes this cookbook so great—and Momofuku Ko chef David Chang's "favorite restaurant in the world," according to his foreword—is the confidence, humor and lack of pretense that allows Morin and McMillan to serve a mound of caviar next to a martini garnished with a Vienna sausage. Oh, those Canadians. $40; randomhouse.com

Plus! From the latest issue: Exploring Montreal's coolest neighborhood