Alicia Kennedy at The Baffler:
Impossible Foods seems to have created heme out of a belief that it’s the visual stimulation of blood oozing from a burger that gives it an addictive taste. What Specht’s book reveals about beef, though, is that its extraordinary success has always had little to do with its taste and everything to do with its ubiquity, increasing cheapness, and cultural status. Red Meat Republic doesn’t bring the reader up to date with innovations in plant-based beef, but it doesn’t have to. By laying down the political and economic history of beef production and culture in the United States, he demonstrates why the tech-meat industry isn’t spending time, money, or marketing dollars on chicken and goat.
Beef is more American than fried chicken, apple pie, and turkey on Thanksgiving. And it has always been political, as Specht chronicles.