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

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  9,816 Ratings  ·  762 Reviews
New York Times Bestseller

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 wha
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published May 16th 2006 by Bloomsbury USA (first published 2005)
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Jeffrey Keeten
Jun 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
***RIP Anthony Bourdain 1956-2018***

”Eating well, on the other hand, is about submission. It’s about giving up all vestiges of control, about entrusting your fate entirely to someone else. It’s about turning off the mean, manipulative, calculating, and shrewd person inside you, and slipping heedlessly into a new experience as if it were a warm bath. It’s about shutting down the radar and letting good things happen. When that happens to a professional chef, it’s a rare and beautiful thing.

Let it
Feb 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009
The thing that Bourdain taught me is that you can study a culture through its food. He wasn't just finding the best noodles, he was asking: how do they cook here? How did they used to cook? Who cooks? He was doing a sort of food archaeology, digging down to find the purest food that a culture has produced, or even that this one neighborhood has produced, and what does that say about everything. It's a special thing, to take the world as seriously as he did.
Jan 06, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Dec 28, 2009 rated it liked it
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.

No one does bitter and sour better than Bourdain, which is why I love his show. In the "Bitter" part of the
Tom Franklin
Dec 02, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Jun 24, 2007 rated it did not like it
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
Jul 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: food
A wide-ranging collection of essays previously published elsewhere made better by the inclusion of Bourdain’s comments on each of his own pieces. With the benefit of hindsight, he admits where his earlier writing was overzealous, where it still holds up, or where he was trading in high-level BS. Worth every last word.
Jun 19, 2018 rated it liked it
I was 2/3 through this book when the news broke of Bourdain’s suicide. I would have been devastated no matter what, but this made it feel close and even eerie. The night before he died I had read his essay on addiction, and the eternal struggle to stay clean. It was one of the few essays not focused on food, and it was one of the best in the book. His honesty, his appreciation for other cultures and traditions (culinary or otherwise) were part of what made him so engaging. Just an incredible los ...more
Jan 18, 2015 rated it liked it
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
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
Jul 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Apr 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read07, foodie
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
May 07, 2018 rated it liked it
If you're a fan of Bourdain's TV programs (as I am), then you'll enjoy this collection of musings. It reads exactly as you'd expect it, with Bourdain's unmistakable style.
Jun 14, 2008 rated it liked it
Like a beloved grandfather, this book tells the same stories/anecdotes over and over.
Feb 13, 2016 rated it it was ok
Anthony Bourdain: An Alternate History

If you can catch a dentist in a quiet, reflective moment over a drink, and ask what the worst aspects of the job are, you will probably get the following answer: “The pressure, the fast pace, the isolation from normal society, the long hours, the pain, the relentless, never ending demands of the profession.” If you wait awhile, maybe two more drinks, and ask again - this time inquiring about the best parts of being a dentist - more often than not, the dentis
K2 -----
Nov 27, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Bookworm Smith
Sep 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography-memoir
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
Sep 02, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 13, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Jul 27, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: bookcrossing, food
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
Feb 09, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Jan 18, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, food, travel
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
Michael Giuliano
Mar 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
My first real exposure to Bourdain (other than a few episodes of No Reservations and his Get Jiro! graphic novel) and it was better than expected. The Nasty Bits is an anthology of sorts, collecting articles Bourdain has written since the release of his first book, Kitchen Confidential (which I just grabbed). The book is cleverly split into five sections ("Sweet," "Sour," "Salty," "Bitter," and "Umami") which reflect the tone of the short stories collected within. Bourdain's writing is as no-h ...more
May 28, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was really in the mood to read a straight-forward, tell it like it is book and this was the perfect read. I have watched several documentary style shows with Anthony Bourdain as the host and I like his humor. This is a collection or articles that have been previously published in media sources. Some are a bit nasty...I guess that's another reason it is called The Nasty regards to the descriptions of people but if you know anything about this chef, you know he can be crude. I really e ...more
Jul 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
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.
Jan 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another Great Read From Bourdain

Written with passion and gust, Bourdain has written another equally enticing book about food and travel. Filled with witty anecdotes and wanderlust that you'd expect from his show, The Nasty Bits provokes the reader to explore the behind the scenes of tv, the restaurant business, and international travel.
Jul 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
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...)
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Anthony Bourdain was the author of the novels Bone in the Throat and Gone Bamboo, in addition to the mega-bestsellers Kitchen Confidential and A Cook’s Tour.

His work has appeared in The New York Times and The New Yorker, and he was a contributing authority for Food Arts magazine. He was the host of the popular Emmy and Peabody Award winning television show Parts Unknown.
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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.” 262 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.” 36 likes
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