What's on your summer reading list? This week,Chow Bella contributors will answer that question with reviews of the food-related books we've read lately. If you have a recommendation for us, please leave it in the comment section. Today's selection: Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook by Anthony Bourdain.
Anthony Bourdain's latest food memoir, Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People who Cook, is a collection of essays -- a non-fiction pu-pu platter of assorted delights and skewered bits.
A lot has happened in the ten years since Bourdain published his bestselling, back-of-the-kitchen, grungy, gristly memoir, Kitchen Confidential. For one, Bourdain is no longer a working journeyman cook. He has spent the last several years travelling the world as a successful host and writer of the travel/food-eating/personal documentary mélange of a TV show, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations. He is still plenty caustic and sharp, but dare I say he's mellowed a bit?
Bourdain seems genuinely humbled by the experiences that have been brought forth in his life through his opportunity to see the world. How people eat and cook and commune in parts flung far and wide.
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That, and his introduction to fatherhood. Some of the best material is Bourdain's take on parenting his young daughter. Speaking about trying to counteract the shrewd marketing techniques of McDonald's on kids and how he might spare his daughter, Bourdain writes, "'Ronald has cooties," I say - every time he shows up on television or out of the window of the car. "And you know," I add lowering my voice, "he smells bad, too. Kind of like . . .poo!"'
Bourdain is in his element when he riffs on what the fuck has happened to the great American hamburger, or when he takes the piss out of his new persona as "celebrity chef." He still disdains vegetarians and talks dirty.
For entertainment, check out his list of "heroes" and "villains", and the chapter, "I Lost on Top Chef". Fans of the popular competitive cooking show will take pleasure in the behind the scenes morsels.
Despite changes in his personal life, and perhaps even his own maturity, Bourdain is still more than willing to peel back the curtain and expose the great and powerful OZ; to turn a little heat on the chicanery, egos and foibles that are all part of the world of television chefs, fine dining, and food media. But most importantly Bourdain still has a love for people who cook.
Want more book reviews? Check back on Chow Bella tomorrow for another review. And all week, our sister blog, Jackalope Ranch, will have reviews as well.