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A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook

eBook - 2010
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Tracking his own strange and unexpected voyage from journeyman cook to globe-traveling professional eater and drinker, and even to fatherhood, Bourdain takes no prisoners as he dissects what he's seen, pausing along the way for a series of confessions, rants, investigations, and interrogations of some of the most controversial figures in food.
Publisher: New York, NY : Ecco Press, 2010
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780061998065
Branch Call Number: 641.5/092 B 22
Characteristics: 1 online resource (xviii, 281 p.)


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May 08, 2020

If you're looking for a book about food, keep looking.

If, on the other hand, you're looking for the musings of a man with a middle-school mentality, obsessed with his own status compared to that of others and determined to shroud his insecurity, which far surpasses that of any 12-year-old I've met, with vitriol and scorn, this is the book for you. Bourdain seems to reserve his most heightened derision for women who fail to recognize his genius, or who achieve the prestige he feels entitled to. When a female producer seems unimpressed by him, "all possibility of joy was sucked into the vortex of this hunched and scowling apparition." Only when Rachael Ray, the woman who "symbolized everything [he] thought wrong" about celebrity chefs, shows proper deference by sending him a fruit basket, does he stop attacking her. Sandra Lee, on the other hand, who responds to his public insults of her with a subtle power move, has "icy, predatory claws... terrifying alien mandibles probing for a soft spot before plunging deep into the soft goo of my kidneys or liver." He feels personally attacked that such women, who threaten his ego so deeply, dare to exist: "It's Sandra Lee's world. It's Rachael's world. Me? You? We're just living in it."

Bourdain would later comment on his own contributions to the machismo culture of the culinary world. This book reveals how those contributions were so deeply rooted in fear of rejection. He describes his deep humiliation when an attractive former college classmate, who he lets us know allowed him "fondle her tit once," saw him working in a position he felt was beneath him. But that story only serves to contrast the soaring fame and worldwide recognition he later achieved.

Overall, this book just made me really sad. However, I would recommend this to any readers - particularly psych students - interested in a case study of stunted character development.

It starts out with a wonderful story about the most illegal meal he’s ever had.

A very angry cook wrote the iconoclastic Kitchen Confidential about the underbelly of the New York restaurant scene in the 1980s and 1990s, published in 2000. It made Anthony Bourdain a star. I loved that book. This is the follow-up. He’s older and wiser and less angry, or at least he’s more self-aware and philosophical about it. He writes the way he talks – which will be familiar if you’ve watched his TV show, No Reservations. This book is about how Kitchen Confidential utterly changed his life, opening up the world to him. He tells great stories, in a wry and humourous tone, and I was only sorry that the book ended – I would’ve been happy to keep reading.

Feb 22, 2017

I received two food-related books for Christmas. While the other one was more information-packed, this one was a much more entertaining read. Mostly, it feels like reading a well-written gossip rag or soap opera. Definitely a good choice for a quick light read. If you've ever watched Parts Unknown, Bourdain writes exactly as he speaks. Which means there is the occasional swear word. So, if that'll bother you, stay away. But I am not one who swears or particularly appreciates swearing, and it wasn't enough to bother me.

Aug 25, 2015

A very good book, if you can put up with all that swearing!

oldhag Jun 06, 2014

A little food, many sexual metaphors, and a lot of profanity. Amusing, but not worth buying.

Jun 04, 2014

I loved this book

KingKull2112 May 28, 2014

Bourdain does it again. Writing more about the food industry and his enemies at the Food Network, he shines light on places where the sun don't shine and gets paid doing it. And we love it the entire time.

Jul 26, 2012

This is classic Bourdain. If you loved Kitchen Confidential and can't get enough of his show No Reservations, this is the book for you. He's brutally honest about everything from his addiction to cocaine and heroin to what is and isn't wrong at the Food Network and even his former opinions. A fast read, perfect for summer and all foodies.

Jun 21, 2012

Classic Bourdain, and a follow-up (in a way) to "Kitchen Confidential".

roadshowrigoletto Nov 04, 2011

Worth the read. Entertaining. His critique of something so popular as the Food Network is spot-on. An enterprise less interested in food I can't imagine. They peddle celebrity. A sort-of 'low rent' celebrity, too.

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KingKull2112 May 28, 2014

KingKull2112 thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over


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debwalker Oct 03, 2011

"I come from a house filled with books. I had very good English teachers in high school. I was something of a reading prodigy when I was a little kid. When I was in kindergarten, I stole my parents' copy of Why Johnny Can't Read. It angered me that they would have such a book, and I read the whole thing. I was reading way ahead of my grade level for all of grammar school and beyond. I read very quickly. I read a lot. I read widely. It is a pleasure for me, a passion."

--Anthony Bourdain in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.


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