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AlexForbes

Anthony Bourdain's Medium Raw

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TIME: In Medium Raw, Bourdain Is the Last Honest Man by Josh Ozersky, James Beard Award—winning food writer.


This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

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who really cares ?? he has an opinion so do i, so does everyone else. I love his books. its nice reading a book or seeing a chef in the media admiting that shyt isnt perfect or that so and so pisses him off ...

not many other chefs in the spotlight do it .... and come on guys hes just plain funny


"None, but people of strong passion are capable of rising to greatness."

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How ironic is this: They just HAD to stick a link for "Lo-Cal cooking With Rocco" (or some such crap) into a story about Tony, who has avowed his intense dislike for said 'chef' repeatedly! Hmmm, trying to stir the pot?


"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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How is Bourdain any different from those he criticizes?

Apparently, Bourdain himself seems to be able to summarize my feelings towards him perfectly:

"You may agree with everything [he has to] say, but you wish [he]’d just shut the fuck up"

But, knowing Bourdain, I'm positive that will never happen.

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I've not read any of his books, seen more then 10 mins of his TV show, nor read an article by him. My curiosity is piqued; what book should I start with? I'd like one that is both entertaining and relevant today.

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I've not read any of his books, seen more then 10 mins of his TV show, nor read an article by him. My curiosity is piqued; what book should I start with? I'd like one that is both entertaining and relevant today.

Why not start with this one?

Then you can give us an opinion that is based on the actual book rather than its reviews.


Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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Good point! Purchased and next in the queue (currently reading some trash I'm enjoying to much to give up).

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But definitely do read Kitchen Confidential.


Edited by Special K (log)

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I highly recommend getting any of his books in Audiobook format. He reads quite well. And you'll get some more snarkiness and sarcasm that way.


Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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just finished it.

quick read. enjoyable way (for me) to spend most of a day off.

my take--far from a review: anybody who uses the word "pantagruelian" in his book is all right by me. (even if that same writer, or more likely his copy editor, mistakenly refers to goujons as "tiny, cheese filled pillows", when i must believe gougeres are being referenced. if i thought for a moment that that was a bourdain mistake, i might take all the pantagruelian points away!)

other than that, i think he's a happy man. and that might be the end of his nervy-junkie-kitchen badass writing career. which i suspect would be fine by him. he's done that, and made a fine life for himself with it--finer than it seems he ever would have imagined, or perhaps thought he deserved.

while bourdain says he's still angry, i think he doth protest too much. even when labeling culinary luminaries as heroes or villains, he nearly always throws the villains a bone of one sort or another, and talks a little trash about the heroes. too neutral for the old bourdain. but he's a self-professed happy daddy now, and older, and farther removed from the flame and smack days. and i liked that just fine, too.

it's a fun read, if you won't be too pissed off that he's mellowed. if you are still all about whose knife is sharper, or who has the most impressive kitchen scars, go read "kitchen confidential" again. it will still make you happy.


"Laughter is brightest where food is best."

www.chezcherie.com

Author of The I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook ,The I Love Trader Joe's Party Cookbook and The I Love Trader Joe's Around the World Cookbook

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I finished it yesterday and enjoyed it as well. he does seem happy w/ his lot in life and has toned down his bad boy ways since becoming a father. he still is outspoken and opinionated and not afraid to say what he thinks and why he thinks it. he also seems quite comfortable poking fun at his own personae. nevertheless he still pulls no punches and is more than willing to call a turd a turd. he didn't exactly bash alinea or achatz, just didn't enjoy his meal there. he gives waters her due before calling her on her utter nonsense. finally he truly does let james beard and alan rickman have it and makes a damn good case why.

fine read and easily digested.

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I've not read any of his books, seen more then 10 mins of his TV show, nor read an article by him. My curiosity is piqued; what book should I start with? I'd like one that is both entertaining and relevant today.

His first book - Kitchen Confidential - offers a different perspective on professional cooking than you get from cooking shows on TV. TV cooking shows are so "nice" and celebrity chefs exude so much bonhomie that they generally portray professional cooking as a few clever tips, some witty banter and lots hugs and kisses to famous guests.

Kitchen Confidential is a reminder that restaurants are businesses that need to make money, kitchens are tough environments to work in, the hours are long, the work is hard, kitchen staff are more likely to be macho males discussing tattoos than intellectual gastronomers discussing new flavours, most restaurants fail, and basically being a cook/chef is not an easy life.

It's definitely entertaining and I'm sure it's still relevant.

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I find it amusing that any contributor to a food website that has well-love threads on pizza, Tater tots and hamburgers would trash Tony Bourdain for being a one-trick pony. Yeah, he's no MFK Fischer -- wildly overrated in her own right -- but he's a fun read and knows his shit. And, having dined with him once and been on the fringes as he held court on another occasion, he's a lot like a lot of contributors on this and any other websight (aka Miami Danny and, arguably, me) probably a very decent guy, but with a profitable gift for articulate assholery. Credit that prep-school education he got before he went wrong, and the delight one takes in making the rent.

And, if Wolfgang Puck can get rich off his atrocious chain restaurants, why can't Tony make a few bucks peddling books?


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Today, I ordered the book from Books & Books.

He will be speaking on June 30th

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I'm reading it now and love it so far! My favorite chapter is the literary food porn tour of his favorite meals around the world. Sit in a bookstore and read THAT even if you hate the man. Amazing.

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Some of his new book was in The Guardian last Saturday. He seems funny, but also talks a lot of crap. For instance,

I am still genuinely angry at vegetarians. A shocking number of vegetarians and even vegans have surprised me with an occasional sense of humour, refrained from hurling animal blood at me, even befriended me. I have even knowingly had sex with one. But what I've seen of the world since my first book was published has, if anything, made me angrier at anyone not a Hindu who turns up their nose at a friendly offer of meat.

So what is he saying, it's ok to be vegetarian if you have religious belief behind it (incidentally, many hindus are not vegetarian)? So in other words, he's ok with vegetarians if they really really believe in it. Which sums up a lot of vegetarians, regardless of religion. Seems to me like he's had a few bad experiences with militant veggies/ vegans before, but so what? I've met some real morons who happened to eat meat who were rude, had no taste in good food and generally looked down on everyone who didn't have the same view as them. The difference is, I'm not stupid enough to make big generalisations about all meat eaters because of it.

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Jenni, my late step father was a 'holier-than-thou' vegitarian, by choice not by religion. He used to harrass me at the dinner table by threatening my pet cat with being dinner the next night, just because he knew it would upset me. He felt no qualms about wearing leather or fur when it suited his purposes. I LIKE Tony's rants!


"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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As part of the book tour, Bourdain did an hour interview/call-in show today on NPR's "On Point." Listen here.

There are the expected gushing phone calls but also some bits from the new book and reflections from his travels over the past decade. Whatever you think of the media personna, he does sound genuinely appreciative of the opportunities he's had to travel, meet people, and share their food.



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Jenni, my late step father was a 'holier-than-thou' vegitarian, by choice not by religion. He used to harrass me at the dinner table by threatening my pet cat with being dinner the next night, just because he knew it would upset me. He felt no qualms about wearing leather or fur when it suited his purposes. I LIKE Tony's rants!

Of course there are people like that, both meat eating and veggie - they want to foist their opinion on you and they'll use any horrible tactic to do so. That's not really my main point.

I even understand what Tony is saying - if you travel and you meet someone who has worked hard and lovingly to make a good (meaty) meal, isn't it incredibly rude to turn it down? However, I don't understand why he then tacks on to that, "unless you're Hindu". Since (a) not all hindus are vegetarian and (b) why does being of a religion that mentions being kind to all living beings make it different than just thinking that way on your own? What about buddhism - again, plenty of buddhists are not vegetarian, but some are and the philosophy of buddhism certainly mentions not harming living beings. Some christians also believe in vegetarianism because they believe that God asked them to look after all animals, and that Jesus was vegetarian. And what about non-religious people who just feel strongly about the subject?

I don't mind if Tony doesn't think vegetarianism is right or good, I just don't get what point he is trying to make here.

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I don't mind if Tony doesn't think vegetarianism is right or good, I just don't get what point he is trying to make here.

Much like Alice Waters, whom Bourdain regularly likes to criticize, Bourdain is simply a sanctimonious asshole. And like Sam Kinnison before him or Lewis Black today, there are going to be people who find him entertaining. In regards to Bourdain's view on vegetarianism, having a cognizant point is ultimately unnecessary.

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Obtained and read.

First off, it made me damn hungry (except the opening scene) and made me desperately want to travel. Especially to Vietnam, since I seem to be horribly addicted to pho.

I was surprised at how entertaining it was. I've seen a total of one segment of his (Romania, at a place I visited, so I was curious) and read one article, so wasn't sure what to expect. I couldn't put it down, it was a very good read. I quite enjoyed his rants, even if they were perhaps over the top; that was part of the charm.

If I had to pick on a flaw, I think he returns to his 'street cred' drug usage too often. It doesn't really add to the story in most cases. In the same vein, I find the book perhaps a little too inward facing, and too self analytical; I don't really want to participate in his therapy. But really these are not bad enough to get in the way of what I found to be very enjoyable. Sure it is bound to wind some people up, but he is quite entertaining even while winding you up, at least if you have a sense of humour about yourself as well. I've gotten a big urge to read kitchen confidential now, though I object to $12 for a back catalogue e-book, so I am hesitating right now. We'll see.

Oh, now now the list for my next NY trip is even longer. I am gonna be soooo broke.

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I read the book and liked it. I think the thrashings voiced here are for the most part innacurate. Calling him a windbag or asshole is one thing ... that's just opinion. But saying the book is just the same old crap leads me to think the critic didn't read it closely, if at all.

The book is a collection of essays, some covering old ground, some not. The ones covering old ground in most cases offer a revision of his previous views. He mentions a lot of factors, including expanded experience and diminished crankiness, behind his newer feelings. He also respects that he now has a broad audience, while he wrote Kitchen Confidential under the assumption that it would interest only a handful of derelect insiders like himself.

His criticisms of topics like vegetarianism and Alice Waters are nuanced. And I agree with them, for the most part. And if you haven't read the essays in question, you don't know what those opinions are.

My biggest criticism is that quality of writing seems uneven. There's evidence of the old Tony, and some sections where he betters his old self, but others where the prose falls flat. Some essays, like the very interesting one on David Chang, would benefit from some serious editing.


Notes from the underbelly

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First off, it made me damn hungry (except the opening scene)

I found that opening scene to be the most interesting in the book.

Otherwise, I found the book a tad boring. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the book, but it's rather repetitive, and Bourdain's schtick is very obviously Bourdain's schtick. Once you've read a few of his essays, you've basically read that book...

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The book gets a mixed review in the most recent New York Times Sunday book review: here. Summary: good observer and writer, great opportunities, inconsistent book. Not unlike what's been said in this topic.

the most interesting OT tidbit: the review starts off by noting that Bourdain had authored some novels before writing "Kitchen Confidential." One can only wonder.



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