Monday, July 16, 2018

Food, Foodie Gossip, and a Generous Helping of Snark #FoodieReads

After having just re-read Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain*, I decided to read one of his books that I hadn't read before - Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook by Anthony Bourdain*. I've had it on my shelf for years, but never picked it up till now.


And I'll preface this post with a comment: this book did not inspire me into the kitchen. So, I won't be sharing a recipe here. He did, however, serve up a generous helping of snark. 

I found this book much angrier and filled with contempt. In fact, he has a chapter entitled "Heroes and Villains"...and one called "Alan Richman is a Douchebag." I found some of it interesting, but it doesn't follow a storyline at all. It's just a series of musings on food, foodie gossip, and what he loves and hates in the food industry. Honestly, it felt like disjointed rants that he just wanted to get out of his brain and on to paper. And it's rife with name-dropping punctuated with mud-slinging. So...

Heroes: "Fergus Henderson is a hero. In the best heroic tradition, he'd be mortified to hear this. He's English, for one - and painfully modest about all the adulation. ...I've shamelessly baked in his reflected glory at every opportunity. I am a supporter, an acolyte, a devotee, an advocate for all things Henderson. I am a True Believer" (pp. 143-44). Wylie Dufresne and Grant Achatz rate as heroes in his book, too.

Villains: "Brooke Johnson, the head honcho at Food Network, is a villain. That's an easy one. But she's a villain for being right - not for the cynical, fake-ass, soul-destroying, lowest-common-denominator shit-shows she's nurtured and supported since taking the helm. ...On her watch, the network's audience has exploded. ...And for that, and the fact that she couldn't and probably shouldn't give a shit whether she's a villain or not - she's a villain" (pp. 150-51). Alain Ducasse and the James Beard House rank as villains.

He details what he labels as Alice Waters' hypocrisy and he says, "What  makes Alice Waters such a compelling character is her infectious enthusiasm for pleasure. She's made lust, greed, hunger, self-gratification, and fetishism look good. When Alice shows you a bunch of radishes, you fucking want them. Where have those radishes been all my life? I need them!" (pg. 140).

Despite what I would consider excessive and unnecessary profanity in this Bourdain book, he certainly has a way with words. So, I'll keep reading his books...and regretting that the man who wrote the words is no more because I have a sense he had more to say.

*This blog currently has a partnership with Amazon.com in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to Amazon.com and search for the item of your choice.

Here's what everyone else read in July 2018: here.

2 comments:

  1. Oh, Bourdain. He was so inspiring to so many people, and suicide is such a terrible way to go. Have you read his cookbook "Appetites" yet? I finished it just a couple of days before he passed, and definitely recommend it -- less snarky than "Medium Raw" for sure but still that unmistakable voice. He writes a little bit about his daughter in it, too, and it's easy to tell how much he loved her.

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  2. I haven't read any of his books but they are on my list.

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