While this is perhaps not the be-all, end-all sausage and curing cookbook, it's a great place to start. I've made four different kinds of sausage from this cookbook and all of them have been fantastic. The attention to detail is very important in this process and having everything measured by weight is especially helpful. But lest you think it's only about making sausage and curing meat, think twice. I made the onion confit recipe and was blown away by how delicious a simple onion could be. Recipes for mustards, grilled vegetable rillette, and preserved lemons round out all the various meat treatments. Truly, the aim of the authors is to be a cog in reviving foods and techniques that have been lost in our low-fat, low-carb, convenience-food driven world. "Slow food" indeed. I will say, in doing outside research, I've learned that it is IS possible to make these things without nitrates (which the authors use liberally when appropriate), but the possibility isn't really even broached, aside from saying your bacon won't be pink without it. Collagen casings aren't even mentioned. But these are very small criticisms in what is otherwise one of the best cookbooks I've read in years. Truly, your friends will be amazed when they see the first batch and when you tell them you made it yourself. Not only that, it tastes great, too!