The Grub Street bookshelf continues to fill up this season with focused nonfiction books about our favorite subjects. The two latest, both out this month, are Michaele Weissman's God in a Cup, the story of a coffee bean that has taken the world of specialty-coffee dealers by storm, and Susan Bourette's Meat: A Love Story, the latest New Carnivore tome justifying the ways of man to meat. (The Shameless Carnivore and The Compassionate Carnivore were the last two.) Both books are fascinating in the way they focus on coffee and meat, respectively; by the time you’re done, you feel ready to tramp around Panama seeking the rare Hacienda La Esmeralda Special or going to Alaska or Texas for whale hunts and cattle drives. Despite our predilection for meat, we enjoyed God in a Cup a little more. You can eat meat anywhere, but the legendary coffee the latter book describes is unavailable in New York and therefore belongs to the world of aspirational, or rather devotional, appreciation. And that's the plane on which the best food books excel. On the other hand, we've never gnawed on whale blubber.
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