Friday, June 25, 2010

Medium Raw: Anthony Bourdain's New Book

Posted By on Fri, Jun 25, 2010 at 11:51 AM

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Anthony Bourdain has gone and written another book. If his name sounds familiar, it's probably because of his Travel Chanel show No Reservations or his bestselling book Kitchen Confidential. In both cases, Bourdain is sarcastic, foul mouthed and expresses a pull-no-punches attitude toward the food industry.

In his new book, Medium Raw, Bourdain tells the story of his life after Kitchen Confidential. Or as he puts it in the book, his life after “selling out." In the first few chapters, he laments the loss of his credibility in the food underground and no longer being a chef. Now he travels, eats and makes TV. He describes himself as the guy that he hated before he knew enough about the TV industry.

His familiar writing style is on the pages but is a bit toned down from his earlier work. The lessening of the machismo is a good thing for the most part, but he can sometimes verge on the sentimental.

One chapter that is not at all sentimental is on Alice Waters. This is sensitive ground for me. She is the mother of the local food movement in the United States and he bashes her with abandon, which is entertaining in a “I-feel-kinda-dirty-now” sort of way. Bourdain stirs the pot for the sake of stirring the pot.

Bourdain does have some moments of great food writing, describing things in the way only he can. For example, when he's talking about classic dishes:

"Your enthusiasm may wax and wane ever so slightly, but you always come back. Whether it’s the Rolling Stones’ ‘Let it Bleed’ or doing it doggie-style, good is simply… good.”

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