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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2018 Camas Davis (P)2018 Penguin Audio

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Transparent, authentic, connecting

How can this is all be so remarkable, yet so obvious and common place? Here is a beautifully written memoir and account of a movement basically started in Portland (not the only or first), amidst swirling taboos, prejudices, moral panic, and spectacle. Camas and her colleagues confront ignorance and dogma formed of shallow food awareness and a nearly culture wide denial of our most common food systems. It's disheartening to see how easily and predictably people misunderstand each other; how seemingly easy it could be to bridge the entrenched. In pursuit of authenticity, she shows readers how critical it can be to hold conflicting ideas together; how limiting it can be to seek binary, tidy narratives. Here are some very dark social/economic shadows, disillusionment...then a potential for rebirth, empowerment, and healing. I so hope that people read this book!

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Camas' Gascony is beautiful and evocative

I always enjoy when a story is told by the writer- Camas Davis does a stunning job of conveying the difficulties of learning a new trade during a major life change and combines it with whit and beautiful language.

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Great Book and a Pleasure to listen to the author

This book was such an interesting story to follow, and so beautifully written. As a culinary enthusiastic, I found it inspiring. I often cringe when the book is read by the author, but Camas has a lovely reading voice to match her fabulous writing.