D. B.'s Reviews > Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook

Medium Raw by Anthony Bourdain
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Sep 08, 11

bookshelves: food, biography-essay-memoir
Recommended for: foodie douchebags, Bourdain groupies, vegetarians
Read from September 04 to 08, 2011

Bourdain is always a pleasure to read, and he has no shortage of interesting stories to tell, but Medium Raw is less the cohesive whole that its indirect predecessor was. Admittedly, Kitchen Confidential was unlike anything else that had come before it, and Bourdain is not the same bad boy he was ten years ago; so while it's unfair to call Medium Raw a true follow-up, it still exhibits elements of the young Tony that made him such a firebrand superstar. At the same time, there is plenty of older Tony, the Tony who is no longer a chef and doesn't miss the grind, the world traveler, the husband and father. It's this "kinder and gentler" Tony that sounds like Bourdain's genuine voice.

Reading the two dozen or so chapters, you may get the suspicion that, like a lot of post-millennial authors, that large chunks were cut and pasted from a blog, and the rest filled in with newish material. It makes the whole come across as a collection of loosely-connected essays, instead of a singular treatise spread across three hundred pages. Only in the last half do the themes come together to a point, when Bourdain focuses his characteristic hyperbole on fellow cooks and writers, with equal shares of praise and vitriol for both.

Also: you are guaranteed to hear Bourdain's voice in your head as you read, because he writes like he talks, in fragments and run-on sentences.
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09/04/2011 page 95
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