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The Nasty Bits: Collected Varietal Cuts, Usable Trim, Scraps, and Bones

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  7,858 ratings  ·  664 reviews
The good, the bad, and the ugly, served up Bourdain-style.

Bestselling chef and No Reservations host Anthony Bourdain has never been one to pull punches. In The Nasty Bits, he serves up a well-seasoned hellbroth of candid, often outrageous stories from his worldwide misadventures. Whether scrounging for eel in the backstreets of Hanoi, revealing what you didn't want to kno
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Hardcover, 288 pages
Published May 16th 2006 by Bloomsbury USA (first published 2005)
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Community Reviews

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Mike
Sitting home on a Saturday night reading a book has become a rather preferable way for me to spend my time lately. Perhaps I’m just getting old. So this Saturday it has come to pass that I finished the book I was reading. I just closed the back cover on “The Nasty Bits” by Anthony Bourdain. You all know who Bourdain is from his show “No Reservations” on the Travel Channel or his autobiographical “Kitchen Confidential” that I reviewed in an earlier blog. Bourdain is kind of like the punk rocker ...more
Books Ring Mah Bell
Bourdain. Cranky, cynical, sexy, sarcastic, lover of pork. I love the way the man uses words, I really do.
The Nasty Bits treats the reader to a delectable collection of Bourdain's non-fiction.

The book is broken down into flavors: Salty, Sweet, Bitter, Sour... each story under those headings manages to leave you with that taste in your mouth. At least, I think that's from the story.
*spits*

No one does bitter and sour better than Bourdain, which is why I love his show. In the "Bitter" part of the
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Tom Franklin
I'm a big fan of Bourdain's KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL and A COOK'S TOUR. In those books, Bourdain mixed his signature egomaniac writing with knife-sharp insights into his flaws as a human being, chef and foodie, not to mention humor. There was a sense of purpose to those books. He was telling a story that gave his writing a much-needed structure.

THE NASTY BITS is a collection of articles and various writings that have been taken out of context and thrown together into a book. Anecdotes and/or observa
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Jae
Jun 24, 2007 Jae rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: NO ONE
Oh, ugh. At least I got this for free. A series of "essays" by Bourdain, many recycled from various magazines where he'd published them. Actually, I started to be grateful for those, because some of those were at least readable. I liked his previous book Kitchen Confidential a lot, although I thought that his portrayal of chefs as heroes engaged in a noble war perhaps only slightly less difficult and dangerous than being in Iraq was perhaps slightly overblown. I liked the way he wrote about food ...more
Lil' Grogan
Collection of articles written through the years: mainly opinion pieces and travelogues, with one fiction short story. Should say I've only seen his show once and stumbled across Bobby Gold years ago, so didn't really know much about Bourdain before this. Found his writing an interesting mix of the arrogant and self-deprecating, posturing and honest. It was also better than I remembered it being. Found the commentaries at the back of the book funny since they offer a more balanced view as he ref ...more
Craig
Jul 09, 2008 Craig rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: food
If you’ve ever seen him on TV, read one of his seven books, or eaten at his restaurant, you know that he really loves food. At least as much as me. Maybe even more?

In fact, the guy is a little bit nuts. And probably not particularly nice. But, he is clearly in touch with his passion and I love him for that.

I just finished his latest book, “The Nasty Bits: Collected Varietal Cuts, Usable Trim, Scraps, and Bones,” which is a collection of short stories, published and unpublished essays, diatribe
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Allison
Bourdain is at his best when he's writing about food, travel, or any combination of the two. Most of the essays in this book covered these topics, but I wasn't all that into the ones that strayed from them. Some of them were also so over the top as to induce eye-rolling at how superior and/or cool he thinks he is. I enjoyed the commentary in the back of the book, though, where he makes a note about each essay and how he feels about it in hindsight. Even he admitted to rolling his eyes at some of ...more
Judith
Like a beloved grandfather, this book tells the same stories/anecdotes over and over.
Steve
I've recently been on a Bourdain binge; devouring hour after hour of his show on dvd, reading his works, both fiction and non-fiction, and coming to realize that, like so many craftsmen, it gets a bit repetitive after a while. That's not a bad thing, but it's a truism just the same. My favorite band of all time is The Rolling Stones, after all, and if anything is somewhat predictable, it is my beloved Stones. And so it is with The Nasty Bits, a heaping plate of older writings from magazines, etc ...more
Laura
A misc hodge-podge of pieces that were published elsewhere, or not published at all. The range here is pretty broad - some of the pieces just evoke an experience, or a taste - they seem a little incomplete. But some are brilliant, funny travelogues, filled with restaurant recos and behind-the-scenes info for people who love food. If you're a fan of his non-fiction, it's definitely worth checking out - not as well-edited as Kitchen Confidential and not as Dishy as 'Medium Raw' (or as cohesive as ...more
K2 -----
I was in a used bookshop looking to buy "Kitchen Confidential" for a friend's son who wants to be a chef and I stumbled upon this and bought it mistaking it for his newest book. Indeed it is a collection of useable trim, scraps and bones like the title states.

I have several middle-aged women friends who are just ga-ga over Bourdain---it makes me laugh. I have rarely seen his show as I'd rather read than watch TV, but I find him to be a good if gritty writer. He is a hard living egotistical sexi
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Bookworm Smith
Bits. That is what this book is made of - Bits. Not entrails or chicken toes. Not those kind of bits. Just bits of writing. A short account of eating a seal. A page or two on where Chefs and other kitchen staff drink after hours. A few paragraphs about other books by cooks. A rather short travel log about cooking on a cruise ship. Just bits like that.

I did not find this collection much different than Kitchen Confidential or Medium Raw. Yes, Kitchen Confidential had a storyline, but, it was mostl
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okyrhoe
Anthony Bourdain is always a pleasant read. Even though this book is, by his own admission, a haphazard collection of "varietal cuts, usable trim, scraps and bones" it's his force of character which comes through in the end - a man passionate about the pleasures of life - besides the culinary arts - & always willing to express his gut responses and his opinions in a brash, yet oftentimes sensitive, manner.
Because Bourdain does sincerely believe in a strong work ethic, in a dedication to doi
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PurplyCookie
Bourdain, like the fine chef he is, pulls together an entertaining feast from the detritus of his years of cooking and traveling. Arranged around the basic tastes: salty, sweet, sour, bitter and umami (a Japanese term for a taste the defies description), this scattershot collection of anecdotes puts Bourdain's brave palate, notorious sense of adventure and fine writing on display.

From the horrifying opening passages, where he joins an Arctic family in devouring a freshly slaughtered seal, to a
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Anne
This is a collection of essays directly and tangentially related to Bourdain's exploits as the chef of a fabulous restaurant in New York, and his travels around the world eating at Michelin rated venues and off-the-beaten path jewels. Bourdain's relentless rantings are often hilarious, sometimes exhausting, but always (in my opinion) entertaining. I loved his first book Kitchen Confidential, though I've never seen his television show on the Travel Network called No Reservations. I can see people ...more
Ensiform
Just what it says on the cover, a collection of previously published pieces of food, chefs, travel, and cultural commentary (plus one fiction piece). I’m a Bourdain fan, but most of these essays are simply too short to have any real impact. That’s not to say they’re not bad; they have his trademark snide remarks, the New York swagger tempered by open-minded desire to learn more about others. In a magazine I’m sure they’re fine. But, for example, a mere three printed pages on Bourdain’s first tas ...more
Fayette
This book is a collection of essays and articles which Bourdain has written over a period of time. This means each chapter more or less stands on it's own and you can put it down and pick it up without losing any momentum. I preferred my first exposure to Bourdain, which was Kitchen Confidential. After that I faithfully watched his TV shows whenever I could find them on Netflix. His snarky bad boy image is entertaining, once I get past the fact that he is often making fun of people like me. Hey, ...more
Michael
I picked this up on my last book run because I enjoyed Kitchen Confidential quite a bit. I realized that it was a blatant cash-grab by the publishing company the old "collected writings" gambit, but thought I would give it a shot.

The verdict. Meh. I chuckled a few times ("The Dive" is cute, as is his impassioned plea for latino kitchen workers, and his review of the Residensea yacht/condo) but the rest of it is thinly veiled KC rehash or boring 1-2 page magazine articles that don't do well out
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Jenny (Reading Envy)
The latest from my favorite sarcastic chef/travel show host/writer, this is a bunch of essays and one short story about food, chefs, murder, and travel. Much of it was slightly redundant since I watch his show Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations but I enjoyed the essays about Manhattan and Las Vegas, why he doesn't actually hate Emeril, and the relationship between food and music. It's books like these that really make me feel like even though I left the life of the cook, I still feel like I have ...more
Rob
If you've ever heard the rat-tat-tat of a semi-automatic machine gun then you get a good sense of Anthony Bourdain's book The Nast Bits. Bourdain's style is unapologetically in your face. The Nast Bits comes at you with guns blazing, opening with Bourdain's meal of raw seal with an Inuit family from the Hudson's Bay region of Canada. He goes into detail how Grandma sucked the eyeball from the seal with the same fervor of an island castaway taking his first drink of freshwater in god only knows h ...more
Terri
"'Does the product taste good?' should probably be the chef's primary concern. To insist, to demand, that all food be regional, seasonal,, directly connected to time and place can- in the case of some of the more fervent advocates- invite the kind of return-to-the-soil thinking evocative of the Khmer Rouge."

That is Anthony Bourdain. Sure he'd like all the organic, seasonal, local stuff- so long as the food tastes good. Otherwise ship it to him from across the world.

"The organics mob, so fervent
...more
Syndi
An entertaining read, although I feel like I've learned less about food than I'd hoped, and more about Anthony Bourdain. There have been a few laugh out loud points, and his descriptions of his travels are, in my opinion, the best essays. Quite a few of the names he refers to are of other chefs that I've never heard of, and so have lose some meaning for me in the context of the story. Overall, entertaining and a fun read.
Henryk715
This curated collection of his writing was well thought out and actually made a lot of sense by how it was organized (Salty, Sweet, Sour, Bitter and Umami). I am a big fan of Bourdain. I like his writing style, which is highly descriptive of the feelings and sensations when he's eating. I would recommend this book to anyone who's a fan of Bourdain's writing or his various tv shows, although you may have already come across some of these in magazines or newspapers throughout the years.
One word o
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Smokinjbc
Aug 08, 2008 Smokinjbc rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of Bourdain
Recommended to Smokinjbc by: Goodreads
I really enjoyed most of this book, especially the opener "System D" article. The short story at the end never hooked me in very well but everything else was a witty, interesting exchange between cynicism and a strong passion for food and life.
Diane
I love Anthony Bourdain. He's acerbic, smart, unafraid of exotic foods and customs, plus he loves to diss celebrity chefs and vegans. (though he'll retract his disdain when face-to-face with the attacked...)
Ryan Kendrick
A collection of some of Bourdain's best writing pieces. This book is standard Bourdain: foul-mouthed, exaggerated, and cruel. In other words: perfect. Bourdain is one of my favorite writers.
Ashland Mystery Oregon
It's almost impossible for me not to enjoy anything Bourdain writes, and The Nasty Bits is no exception. It's a collection of previously published and new, unpublished short non-fiction. The wonderful subtitle, "Collected Varietal Cuts, Usable Trim, Scraps and Bones" is clever and tempts the reader with the taste of what's to come. When I browsed the table of contents, organized by flavors (Salty, Sweet, Sour, Bitter, Umami), my salivary glands activated, I started drooling, and my reading radar ...more
Johnathan Weston
I found this collection of short works to be interesting and entertaining if not as engaging as Kitchen Confidential. The pieces are organized according to the basic tastes (bitter, salty, sweet, sour, umami) and for the most part, the feeling of each matches the taste grouping. The subject matter is not limited to things culinary and in that respect, the book is more like the show “No Reservations.”

The flow between the various writings is at times smooth and other times choppy. This may be attr
...more
Kathryn
I’d say that this book was quite surprising after reading is last few. It seems like this book is a mixture of old articles, new stories of passion for food and clarifications on things he’s said in other books or on his shows. All in all while entertaining, it seemed like it was his written catharsis and is probably more interesting to those who have read his other books and watched his shows like me. I wouldn’t recommend reading this if you’ve only watched his show. Many of the articles won’t ...more
Arjun Mishra
Bourdain wins with me on this one. A grand slam home run, really. His first memoir/food book/diatribe/anthology, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly drew my ire in many regards. Here, he changes the focus by actually concentrating and dividing the book into essays. This helps with organization and it also provides him with real structure. It permits him to tackle - okay, Bourdain does not tackle, he confronts head on - various topics and challenges to his lifestyle and ph ...more
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Anthony Bourdain is the author of the novels Bone in the Throat and Gone Bamboo, in addition to the megabestsellers Kitchen Confidential and A Cook’s Tour.
His work has appeared in the New York Times and the New Yorker, and he is a contributing authority for Food Arts magazine. He is the host of the popular television show No Reservations.
More about Anthony Bourdain...
Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook A Cook's Tour: Global Adventures in Extreme Cuisines Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook: Strategies, Recipes, and Techniques of Classic Bistro Cooking No Reservations: Around the World on an Empty Stomach

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“Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life - and travel - leaves marks on you. Most of the time, those marks - on your body or on your heart - are beautiful. Often, though, they hurt.” 192 likes
“It’s an irritating reality that many places and events defy description. Angkor Wat and Machu Picchu, for instance, seem to demand silence, like a love affair you can never talk about. For a while after,you fumble for words, trying vainly to assemble a private narrative, an explanation, a comfortable way to frame where you’ve been and whats happened. In the end, you’re just happy you were there- with your eyes open- and lived to see it.” 19 likes
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