When I reviewed Anthony Bourdain's second memoir, Medium Raw, I noted that the well-known chef seemed have mellowed a bit over the years, though he still had his cutting wit.
In Appetites Cookbook, Bourdain shows yet another side of his personality and his life. He presents a well-calculated (and still guarded) glimpse at his home life, his thoughts on being a later-in-life dad, and--more important perhaps--what he cooks in his home kitchen.
As he says in the introduction to the book, the vast majority of the recipes in this collection are down-to-earth, everyday fare. The man shown in Appetites is not the Anthony Bourdain of restaurant fame or of dare-to-eat-anything TV.
Of course, Bourdain's family recipes aren't quite what my family recipes are, and that's because he has traveled the world, is professionally trained and skilled, and lives in a city where all things culinary can be bought. So while I can make his roast leg of lamb and meatloaf as instructed, I'll have to substitute something like Rock Cornish game hens (?) for his roast quail with polenta.
The recipes run the full scope from omelets, chicken salad, and black bean soup to Kuching-style laksa (spicy shrimp and noodles) and from lobster rolls and simple pastas to mutant quesadillas (with sausages and duck). There is a whole chapter devoted to American Thanksgiving, and the short dessert chapter made me laugh (I won't spoil things by telling you why).
Besides the recipes, I love the fun fonts and playful photographs that make Appetites Cookbook a pleasure to read and look through. Plus Bourdain puts his writing skills to good use, providing an entertaining introduction to the book and great stories to go with the recipes. You'll find out such things as his thoughts on the club sandwich and his strong feelings about hamburger buns. Warning: he uses adult language (so do I). I liked getting to know this other side of Anthony Bourdain, and I look forward to serving some of his family's favorite meals in my own kitchen.
Recommendation: Anthony Bourdain's Appetites Cookbook is not just for Bourdain fans, though it's a must-read for them. The recipe collection is for anyone who likes to cook for friends and family. I love the warmth and care that many of the recipes bring with them: whether a simple bodega sandwich or a fancier veal chop with wild mushrooms. From the heart-felt side of bad-boy Bourdain to perfectly cooked bacon and eggs, there's a lot to love in Appetites Cookbook.
Note: the scans and recipe are used in the context of this review; all rights remain with the original copyright holder: Anthony Bourdain.
The Grill Bitch's Bar Nuts
Makes 8 cups
- 4 large egg whites
- 5 pounds of mixed nuts
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1½ tablespoons ground cayenne pepper
- 1½ tablespoons salt
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites until they are foamy and nearly stiff.
In another mixing bowl, combine the nuts, sugars, cinnamon, cayenne, and salt and toss to coat. Fold in the egg whites, tossing gently to make sure that all the nuts have been coated in egg white.
Divide the mixture evenly between the two prepared sheet pans. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, rotating the pans and stirring the nuts at the 15-minute mark. The nuts should be dry and crisp after 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let cool before serving.
Published by Ecco Books, 2016
Source: review (see review policy)
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