Saturday, November 27, 2010

Medium Raw by Anthony Bourdain

Chapters of this book were more titillating than a Harlequin romance novel. Especially the chapter about reading pho - the national dish of Vietnam. Myself, I eat pho (@ Lexington's Pho BC, prior post here) a couple times a month because I crave it. Bourdain admits that describing pho in a sexual way is one of the few times where such adjectives and descriptors are appropriate in the food context. I added tendon to my regular pho experience after reading chapter 8: "it should have just enough bite, just enough resistance, dissolving into fatty, marrow-like substance after just a few chews - a counterpoint to the wispy, all-too-brief pleasures of the beef." Yep... point on.  In fact, after the gluttony that was Thanksgiving a nice bowl of pho sounds pretty good!

Bourdain doesn't limit his language to the sexual - he curses like a sailor, but I knew that as an avid No Reservations fan. He eviscerates some of his fellow chefs, while lauding others - a reminder of his prior book (Kitchen Confidential).

The most important chapter - one which should be republished and sent to every parent, educator, lawmaker, and human in the country - is chapter 5: Virtue. There, Bourdain properly suggests that everyone should be able to perform the basics of the kitchen and have a few recipes so that they can properly prepare a meal. Doing so what combat both obesity and poverty. He noted that we lost so much when home-economics was removed from the classroom because it reminded the modern woman of their prior servitude. The problem wasn't home-economics being a requirement for girls, the problem was that it wasn't a required course for all students. Jamie Oliver had a similar mission in obesity-stricken Huntington, WV. Unfortunately, we aren't listening enough as a nation. To this mission, Bourdain ends with the command "Let us go forward. With vigor."

The book is great; read it.