Sunday, June 13, 2010

If you have any doubt which will dent -- the victim's head or your pan -- then throw that pan right in the trash.

I've actually followed the advice in the title quote when buying pans.  It certainly resulted in some odd looks from other shoppers when I made a comment about how a particular pan was no good because I clearly couldn't kill anyone with it. And so I begin re-reading Anthony Bourdain's book Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly.  

I first read this book 4 or so years ago, when a friend of mine kept giving me passages out of the book to read at as he was reading it himself.  I'd hear laughter and then "Come here, you have to read this part!" I borrowed the book from him as soon as he finished reading it and bought my own copy of it about a year later, when I no longer had direct access to his bookshelf.  I never really expected this book to become one of my go-to re-reads and yet this is at least the 4th time I'm reading it.  It's not the most challenging read but it's never failed to entertain me.

At this point in the re-reading I've gone through courses one and two.  I like the style the book is written in, jumping between memoir style chapters and general sections describing what it's like to work on the line.  Just as my friend used to have me read a paragraph here or there, I've found I can just pick up the book and read pieces here and there.  The tone of the book matches his TV show No Reservations especially in the chapter "From Our Kitchen to Your Table" chapter where he describes the food he avoids when he goes out to restaurants.  But as he says

"Do all these horrifying assertions frighten you?  Should you stop eating out? Wipe yourself down with antiseptic towelettes every time you pass a restaurant?  No way.  Like I said before, your body is not a temple, it's an amusement park.  Enjoy the ride." (73)

I've found it difficult to write these blog entries for a memoir type book like Kitchen Confidential is.  Since it's non-fiction, it doesn't make sense to examine the characters or plot points, in my mind anyway.  I suppose in this way the entry I have here can act as a general review of the book (I loved it, you should read it) and subsequent entries will probably focus on a single incident or line, because I've always written my papers off the tiniest scrap of a piece of work and it worked for me when I was at school.  May as well keep that theme going now.

Title quote from page 80

Bourdain, Anthony.  Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly.  Harper Perennial, New York. 2007