Killing It: An Education

Killing It: An Education

A wayward young woman abandons her magazine career to learn the old ways of butchery and discover what it means to take life into her own hands

Camas Davis was at an unhappy crossroads. A longtime magazine writer and editor in the food world, she'd returned to her home state of Oregon with her boyfriend from New York City to take an appealing job at a Portland lifestyle magazine. But neither job nor boyfriend delivered on her dreams, and in the span of a year, Davis was unemployed, on her own, with nothing to fall back on. Disillusioned by the years she'd spent mediating the lives of others for a living, she had no idea what to do next. She did know one thing: She no longer wanted to write about the real thing; she wanted to be the real thing.

So when a friend told her about Kate Hill, an American woman living in Gascony, France who ran a cooking school and took in strays in exchange for painting fences and making beds, it sounded like just what she needed. She discovered a forgotten credit card that had just enough credit on it to buy a plane ticket and took it as kismet. Upon her arrival, Kate introduced her to the Chapolard brothers, a family of Gascon pig farmers and butchers, who were willing to take Camas under their wing, inviting her to work alongside them in their slaughterhouse and cutting room. In the process, the Chapolards inducted her into their way of life, which prizes pleasure, compassion, community, and authenticity above all else.

So begins Camas Davis's funny, heartfelt, searching memoir of her unexpected journey to become a successful and enlightened butcher. It's a story that takes her from an eye-opening stint in rural France where deep artisanal craft and whole animal gastronomy thrives despite the rise of mass scale agribusiness, back to a Portland in the throes of a food revolution, where it suddenly seems possible to translate much of this old-world craft into a new world setting. Camas faces hardships and heartaches along the way, but in the end, Killing It is about what it means to pursue the real thing and to dedicate your life to it.

Title:Killing It: An Education
Edition Language:English
Format Type:

About Camas Davis

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    Killing It: An Education Reviews

  • Stephanie

    EAT, PRAY, LOVE, only this time 1) in France 2) with meat, and (3) an extra helping of self-absorption....

  • Rae DelBianco

    A transparent, honest, selfless evaluation of an issue most every modern American faces— what have we lost by making life easier? And in particular, what have we lost by releasing ourselves from res...

  • Kate Olson

    THIS BOOK. I LOVED IT. A memoir about life, love and butchery - be prepared for this to be a true memoir, not a narrative nonfiction account of the meat industry. Davis examines her entire life as she...

  • Andrienne

    I was both aghast and tantalized with how the author pulled off describing her experience in butchery and sharing her views about meat processing and meat consumption. This book transformed me - I’m...

  • Hayli

    '"I also believe if every slaughterhouse and farm and butcher shop were made of glass, we'd have a very different system of meat production.'"3 stars. This book was ok, nothing wrong or problematic, b...

  • Hope

    In the world of food I often feel like there is very little compromise. There is a big divide, which is social, cultural, and moral that forces people to make ultimatums between vegetarianism/veganism...

  • Amy Morgan

    Thank you Edelweiss for my review copy of this book. Camas Davis is a magazine writer who just got fired from her job, left her long time boyfriend and then moved in with a new boyfriend who she immed...

  • Kelsey

    Absolutely fantastic. I highly, highly recommend this book to anyone on the fence about eating meat. As someone who does, I have learned so much about the process and where our food comes from from Ca...

  • Jill

    I devoured this book very quickly, mostly because I often said I wanted to quite my job, work with my hands, and become a butcher. Obviously that hasn't happened yet so this book was the next best thi...

  • Danielle

    This nonfiction book was pretty interesting. The author left a food writing job to spend some time in France training as a butcher but it ends up coming across as more of a dabble than a career commit...