Stacia (out of inspiration)'s Reviews > Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
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Jan 02, 13

bookshelves: non-fiction
Read in January, 2013

I almost feel the need to have to bring back my "3 stars is not a bad rating" disclaimer, since I've had a bizarrely rare couple of weeks with several 4 star rated books in my lineup. Well here we are again, settling back into the "3 star is the standard" normalcy of my world.

Kitchen Confidential was an entertaining read. The main reason why I couldn't swing a 4 is only because I think I'd expected there to be more "trade secrets" about the restaurant industry than there really were. I'd half expected to be terrorized into never wanting to eat in a restaurant ever again after finding out that 95% of restaurant employees either pee, spit, or masturbate into their food (I'm only half joking). I'd honestly thought that I was going to be reading the book like this :

Now, that's not to say that there weren't a few disgusting tidbits thrown out for me to contemplate. For example, I now know never to order fish specials on a Monday, or to eat Mussels just about anywhere. But...I think I wanted to know more about the "behind the scenes" dirt on what can really go wrong in restaurants than what we were given.

Something else that I'd expected to see more of was Anthony's hard-on for hating on the Food Network community. There were a couple of little digs in this book (the "you're halfway to making that fuzzy little Emeril your bitch" comment made me snort), but nothing even remotely at the level to which I would have expected (maybe that was a publisher reign-in, who knows?) I've followed some of his past interviews and blog posts and have to admit to being far more amused than I should be over his petty jabs at Rachael Ray, Emeril and others. Note : I have nothing against these people and have spent many hours watching the Food Network over the years.

I guess I wanted more of the "gritty" dirt that I thought AB could provide, so I found myself slightly disappointed. But again, the book itself was entertaining for a memoir of his experiences coming up in the foodie world.

This isn't to say that I wasn't amused over the fact that he walked around in his youth wearing nunchakus in a holster while carrying a samurai sword (and we're not talking the pre-teen years, we're talking college here), but I have to admit that I'm more fascinated by the sarcastic 50-plus-year-old man who has digestive issues, drinks like a fish, and got filmed eating an animal's poop chute on his television show.

We did get to see some of his irreverence in the book. This is not a politically correct read all of the time (and I don't agree with many of his opinions), but at least he's an equal-opportunity shit talker. He might be brash and crass, but he's definitely got a distinct point-of-view.
Your body is not a temple, it's an amusement park. Enjoy the ride. Sure, it's a 'play you pay' sort of an adventure, but you know that already, every time you ever ordered a taco or a dirty-water hot dog.

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Comments (showing 1-17 of 17) (17 new)

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Erika I love this book!

Stacia (out of inspiration) I just finished. It was amusing. Do you watch his show?

message 3: by Giedre (last edited Jan 02, 2013 12:46AM) (new)

Your body is not a temple, it's an amusement park.

Heh. I used to watch his show on the Travel Channel, but once I got to University, I put a ban on TV. I remember his show being rather entertaining.
Great review :)

Blacky *Romance Addict* Great review Stacia :D

Stacia (out of inspiration) Thanks. :)

Giedre wrote: "Your body is not a temple, it's an amusement park.
Heh. I used to watch his show on the Travel Channel, but once I got to University, I put a ban on TV. I remember his show being rather entertainin..."

I want his job!

message 6: by Rita (new) - added it

Rita Thanks for reviewing Stacia :)
Been having this one on my shelves for a while now, am planning to read it this year too!

Stacia (out of inspiration) Nice! You'll have to let me know what you think.

message 8: by Rita (new) - added it

Rita Will do Stacia :)

message 9: by SheLove2Read (new)

SheLove2Read I read his first book - much the same flair to it. He's a little abrasive for my tastes though.

Stacia (out of inspiration) He is definitely abrasive, I agree.

message 11: by Rita (new) - added it

Rita That is what I love about his style!

Stacia (out of inspiration) I actually don't mind his crassness for the most part. His hatred for all things trendy amuses me. The one big thing about him that I'm not a fan of have been some of his past comments toward obese people.

message 13: by Rita (new) - added it

Rita LOL why what has he said about fat people? I think I missed that. I guess that it must be something in the lines of what Ricky Gervais says, and if that's the case, then I agree: if someone chooses to eat fatty junk food then it's a lifestyle choice. It certainly can't be a surprise how they end up. Eating healthy is both easy and cheap. One just has to bother to do ones own cooking and bother to read the labels. My better half and I do it all the time. :)

Stacia (out of inspiration) I don't think that the message is bad but the way he says it is a bit over-the-top. There's a way to get the message out about eating healthier without picking on an entire group of people?

message 15: by Rita (last edited Jan 04, 2013 12:59AM) (new) - added it

Rita Thanks for that transcript, I never saw the show that was on. :)
I personally have no issues with what he says.

Why should we tip-toe and go out of our way to be politically correct about the poor choices that people knowingly make? If common sense doesn't make them snap out of it and make better choices for themselves and their children, then perhaps ridicule and embarrassment will make them realise that they need to change their ways. Note: I'm not saing that we should encourage bullying, far from it, but what I'm saying is that we should not be cotton-wrap facts and opinions. It is a fine line, but it's there and it's clear as crystal IMHO.

If I behave like an idoit and say idiotic things when I actually already know better than that and get ridiculed for it, then I'm intelligent enough to know that I brought it upon myself. Fat people already know that it's their choices that made them how they are, obesity certainly doesn't sneak up on you and then one day you wake up and realise that they can't fit your clothing any more. You have many alarm bells that will go on if you only bother to listen to them and do something about it.

Let's be clear on one thing: it's not like he's going after people who have other medical conditions that as a side effect and consequence end up being obese. It's a known fact that some medications and afflictions make people obese, but it's not those people that are being targeted by their comments (at least not judging by the material I've seen so far), and it's a tiny minority of the fat and obese people that fall into that category. If it were those people that he was after, then I would agree with you completely of course, but it's not.

I just found this, pretty interesting:

Stacia (out of inspiration) I just watched the video. Thanks for the find. :)

My feelings are mixed. While I completely understand that something needs to change in the way people view food, I think there's only so much the governments should be allowed to do.

I'd rather see healthy eating rewarded over unhealthy eating being penalized. For example, I oppose fat tax, but do think that there should be a reward for eating healthier, such as giving tax breaks to organic farms and whatnot, so people can afford to purchase healthier produce and meat. Schools should not be allowed to serve too many processed items with an overabundance of chemicals, salt and sugar. Things like that are areas which could be improved.

But I do have an extreme sensitivity to how obese people are treated. Food can be a serious addiction, so it's not just a fact of "stop eating it" for everyone. Especially not when people have been conditioned for years to eat a certain way and have no knowledge of how to change things.

We're slowly working on stamping out things like homophobia and sexism, but "fat-hating" is still an acceptable form of discrimination in many cases.

I have a very close family member who gets stared at every time we go out together. She's extremely obese and has to use a scooter to get around (which I hate, haha, because I'm the one stuck having to put it together and the damn thing is heavy!). It frustrates me to no end when I see people glaring at her and giving looks of judgement. They know nothing about how she got to the point she was at, and the attitudes are appalling.

Likewise, I have another family member who eats like shit and is as skinny as a twig. She always makes comments about fat people as if it's hideous to her, but if food actually had an effect on her, she'd be massive. She just got lucky that she can eat what she wants and not gain weight.

message 17: by Rita (last edited Jan 05, 2013 01:15AM) (new) - added it

Rita I definitely understand where you're coming from. Judging and unknowing looks from strangers are of course not nice - especially if your family member is without fault of her condition. But, and I think that you agree with me, you would understand why people would look at her (or someone else for that matter) like that if she was -for instance- in the process of eating something really nasty, like a bucket of deep-fried KFC wings? I don't know about the area where you live in, but compared to Denmark where I am from, here in Holland I see a lot of extremely fat people eating junk food while they are barely able to walk on their own. That's not something I could ever look approvingly at, ever.

I completely agree: healthy food choices should be rewarded (both in terms of promoting cruelty-free meats, organic produce, etc.), and not do what they tried to do in Denmark one or two years ago when they introduced the fat-tax. Biggest failure in Danish economic history. It was implemented without thinking about what food-items you were raising the tax on and what consequences it would have on people and without differentiating between the good fats and the unhealthy fats.

Let's take milk for instance. We can all agree that it's a very important food-item for any household and especially for households with growing infants/children. They should not be drinking skinny milk (that's what adults should be drinking), but full milk. Now suddenly, and out of the blue, families were no longer able to afford what was good for their children, while people living near the borders to either Germany or Sweden would cross the borders and buy their unhealthy snacks there instead. Completely idiotic idiotic law. No, healthy choices should be rewarded by being taxed les than their unhealthy alternatives.

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