The Nasty Bits: Foodie Book Club Post

>> Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I was so excited when Ashley M. at (never home)maker decided to start up an online foodie book club. The two most enduring loves in my life are the love of food and the love of books. I need to start brainstorming on edible books...but I digress. The first selection for the book club was The Nasty Bits by Anthony Bourdain.  I voted for this one so I was pretty pleased that it would be the first book I got to read for the club. I love Anthony's show, No Reservations, my sous chef and I watch it religiously and we both read his first book, Kitchen Confidential. I dug in, eager for more kitchen exploits and travel tales. The book was separated into sections based on taste: sweet, salty, bitter, sour and umami. Unfortunately, I think most of these disjointed missives could fit mainly under the "bitter" banner. You know how moms say "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all"...? Well...I will keep this post brief. ;)
Anthony Bourdain is living the high life, as he sheepishly admits just about every other chapter. Despite this fact, he has repetitive vitriol to spew at pretty much every other chef in his position. His ego knows no bounds and his self-indulgent attitude comes at the expense of those who make dining choices he does not approve of (hello vegans, vegetarians!) My edition of the book even had a section at the end where he commented/reviewed each chapter. If you want to make changes, edit! People do it all the time! Maybe I am too sensitive but for me, this book read as alternating chapters of bragging and complaining. The bragging chapters were definitely preferable though still irritating. Yes, I DO want to eat at Sushi Masa, however I will probably not rob someone in order to be able to afford it, as he facetiously suggests.
As corny as this pun is, it's true. This book left a bad taste in my mouth. I really can't wait to move onto the next book, Molly Wizenberg's A Homemade Life. Just looking at the cover is breath of fresh air after slogging through The Nasty Bits.


Ashley M. [at] (never home)maker March 31, 2010 at 11:51:00 AM PDT  

Nice review. I'm almost done with it. And I agree. Bourdain can definitely be irritating. I'm looking forward to the next book!

Chantal March 31, 2010 at 1:51:00 PM PDT  

Of course I'm biased because I feel the same way, and the book left me cranky (for obvious reasons as a raw vegan :P ).. but despite his wit, I generally don't like to take up my time with people who complain and brag, not only because it causes me to do the same thing (aka. my rant in response to reading the book) but also because I just prefer to focus on positivity and happier thoughts!

Callie @ The Picky Gourmet March 31, 2010 at 6:17:00 PM PDT  

Amen! I felt like his attitude rubbed off on me while I was reading and it wasn't a pleasant experience. However, I met Molly Wizenberg last night at a reading and I am already LOVING her book so next month is gonna be much better.

Charlotte April 3, 2010 at 8:01:00 AM PDT  

Oh good! I'm glad someone felt the same way I did about his writing. There was little I enjoyed about it; I'm looking forward to Molly!

Stacy (Little Blue Hen) April 4, 2010 at 3:03:00 PM PDT  

My review was similar. I also like his show (despite disagreeing with some of his opinions), but it had a few too may "nasty bits" for me. It was hard to feel bad for him during chapters about long, back-breaking hours in his chosen profession when the next essay has him on a tropical island on his publisher's dime.

It's my first visit over here and now I am looking forward to checking out some recipes!

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