A Cook’s Tour

by Anthony Bourdain

This is my first Bourdain book and I enjoyed it tremedously.  (I gave him lots of bonus points for professing his love for durian, but had them all deducted for his rabbit killing spree and vegetarian bashing…) 

Like an excellent dish, the book is craftily prepared: colorful, flavorful, authentic, with complex layers of tastes, slightly exotic, teasing you to indulge in forkful after forkful. I wonder if Bourdain has a ghost writer.  Otherwise, his talent with pen certainly matches the one with pan!

Bourdain is not shy about exposing his intimate thoughts and feelings, which makes this travelogue and food guide that much more entertaining.  Very often, he would start talking about a dish, a cuisine, and then it will delve deeper.  Like when he visited France, in the end he realized that he didn’t go there to look for the perfect meal.  He didn’t go there to look for his childhood home. He went to look for his father, who was no longer there, or anywhere.   Similarly, his visit to Cambodia unleashed some very strong comments about US foreign policy.

Something I find weird about the book though – it looks like the editor hit a shuffle play button on his computer.  The chapters hop around, from Portugal to Vietnam to Spain to Japan then to Vietnam and Japan again… Not that it matters much as each chapter pretty much stands along, just kind of weird.

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Published in: on February 5, 2007 at 10:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

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