It is arguably an understatement to say that Joe Beef, Surviving the Apocalypse, was highly-anticipated. The second book from Fréderic Morin, David McMillan, and writer Meredith Erickson (The Claridges Cookbook, Olympia Provisions, and more), was the subject of an buzz that electrically hummed to the corners of discussions across the country — both online and in restaurants and, considering the survivalist leanings of the title, surely Canadian Tires as well. After the impact of their first book, nobody knew what to expect.
For the Globe and Mail, I was able to talk to these three, and a sliver of those conversations was published this week. Their thoughts ranged far more expansively than column inches would allow: the wastefulness inherent, almost required in the standards of fine dining; arguing essential life skills; the race factor in many restaurant reviews; the constraints and perspective-changing realities of parenting; the qualities of a good host; not being an asshole in a social-media and food-obsessed culture; Martha Stewart’s badassery; thoughts of retirement, and finding personal utopia.
What is remarkable, is that all those subjects are in the book as well. It is encompassing, and far reaching. It is the start of a conversation and a plotted action towards what lies ahead — for our families, and for our society. It looks in a million directions yet at the same time, it’s an amazingly cohesive thing unto itself. With details considered with the eye of makers. It is convivial, intimate, and wildly sentimental.
Start at the endpapers. They’re a wallpaper of fleur-de-lis designed by Patrick Theibault (aka Pat the Gardener, the restaurant’s master jack-of-all-trades, depicted in the book making soap). Look closely. The flower is made up of two chef’s knives, back-to-back; a seashell; and twin meat hooks. Against that blooming field are a set paintings. On the left, a canoe painted by McMillan. To its right, from Morin, a Rousseau-esque reclining man on a green couch, with stereo speakers, a houseplant, and with a framed tiger above. The pantry section has a map-like foldout of recipes, even though, as Morin laughed “it fucked with the binding.”
To read more of the conversation, please see The Globe and Mail.
(As part of the article, I also made the Burnt-End Bourguignon from the book, and their All-Dressed Chip compound butter seen above. Cheers.)