Before I picked up Anthony Bourdain’s highly entertaining (and addicting!) book Kitchen Confidential I would never have believed that a book essentially about cooking could hold my attention more than even the juciest potboiler.
So when I ripped through Kitchen Confidential in a matter of days like it was glued to my hands, I was quite impressed with Anthony Bourdain’s witty and gripping writing syle, which is a bit like (as A.A. Gill puts it) “Elizabeth David written by Quentin Tarantino.”
This lively book chronicles Bourdain’s many exotic experiences from his time at the CIA (Culinary Institute of America), to working at a Mob run restaurant alongside drug dealers assembling machine guns in the washrooms, to learning to truly appreciate Italian cooking and becoming an executive chef at Brasserie Les Halles in NYC. Bourdain passionately captures the buzz and life of a kitchen as only a true seasoned chef could.
And if you really want to learn about cooking and eating out there’s plenty to satisfy you in this book. From what NOT to eat in a restaurant to what kind of knives to buy to impress your friends, this book is packed with useful tidbits of practical tips and information.
“I don’t eat mussels in restaurants… More often than not, mussels are allowed to wallow in their own foul-smelling piss… I have had the misfortune to eat a single bad mussel… sent me crawling to the bathroom shitting like a mink, clutching my stomach and projectile vomiting.”
Here’s a tip about Sunday Brunch. It’s quite often “an attempt to offload aging stuff… a dumping ground for the odd bits left over from Friday and Saturday nights or for the scraps generated in the normal course of business.” Oh, and “Hollandaise is a veritable petri-dish of biohazards.”
And the best part is that when you finish this book you can wipe away the tears of laughter I know you’ll be crying and pick up the DVD set of his show “No Reservations” or pick up one of Bourdain’s four other books! That ought to satisfy your new addiction for a few more days anyway.