Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.
Love him or hate him, few people are neutral when it comes to Anthony Bourdain. It seems only fitting, though, because Bourdain himself is rarely neutral in his opinions.
In the years after he wrote his first memoir (Kitchen Confidential), Bourdain found himself in the rather awkward situation of being a member of the gang of celebrity chefs that he once raked over the coals. Although this has made him somewhat more generous in his assessment of some food stars, he has not--thank god-- lost his bite. Bourdain still calls a spade a spade.
In Medium Raw Bourdain reflects on food trends, the Food Network, friends and enemies, fatherhood, and memorable meals. Bourdain may have mellowed a bit, but he doesn't back down from naming his villains and heroes. You may be surprised by who fits in which column; for example, Alice Waters = evil but Jamie Oliver = good. Bourdain isn't flippant in his name-calling, though, devoting a whole chapter to the likes of Alice and a couple of pages to Jamie.
Some of the more interesting parts of the book are his insider assessments of meals, restaurants, and industry leaders. Bourdain takes us from the streets of Vietnam to the poshest establishments in New York City, describing dishes, tastes, and drinks in such detail that you have to stop reading every once in a while to try to imagine what you're missing. Throughout, he addresses current food trends and American sensibilities, makes predictions, and offers advice (his "grandma rule" is one I've always believed in too).
Bourdain is as hard on himself as he is on his peers. The stories he tells about his past are not always pretty, but what we learn of his current family life is reassuring, showing just how smart he has been about his unexpected success. Just in case you think he's gotten sappy, have no fear: The memoir is pure Bourdain, still upset about a lot of what he sees, but no longer just plain angry.
Give it me quickly: Although somewhat mellowed, Anthony Bourdain has lost none of his trademark wit and bite in his latest look at food, restaurants, celebrity chefs, and American tastes.
Source: review (see review policy).
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)