Meika's Reviews > Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
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Sep 22, 09

Read in September, 2009

I've been reading this to and from work. It's true what others have said, that it's a lot of him ranting about how tough it was as he was earning his spurs in the worst of the gritty, nasty, sweaty kitchens on the East Coast. He is a bit self-aggrandizing in that self-deprecating "I'm so hard-core I eat punk rock for lunch" way. But.... I still loved it.
I also like the fact that he admits to eating McDonald's, and liking it. I actually believe him too.


OLD REVIEW:This review is tangential...
I noticed that Anthony Bourdain had a brief quote on the back of another book I read recently, "The End of Overeating" by Dr. Kessler, saying that the book was thought-provoking. It's funny because A.B. airs a lot of dirty laundry in this book about sex and cocaine, bread and butter.
He spends a lot of time talking about how food is powerful and he's unapologetic about the hedonistic value of good food, using his childhood experiences of vichyssoise and raw oysters as a launching point for this brutal memoir. He argues for an adventurous approach to eating (with the exception of fish on Mondays or eating brunch) at the same time he extols the virtues of his mother-in-law's pot roast and lumpy potatoes. At one point, he takes a dig at the chain restaurant fare, saying that there's no cooking - just assembly.
So the point is, I left Dr. Kessler's book in total frustration, thinking that omg I have to stop enjoying food because if I enjoy food then I re-inforce this addictive behavior and it'll never stop!!! This book, even though the point is to paint a caricature of kitchen slaves who have withered hands and coke habits, has restored my sense of entitlement to enjoy food. It's like, Kessler slapped in one direction, this one slaps in the other direction. The message is: Pay attention to the food you put in your mouth! Pay attention to what it tastes like. If it is so lacking in character and essence that you have to slather it in fat, smother it in sugar and kill it with salt, you're robbing yourself of the real experience.
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