Welcome to this month’s Reader’s Den! This month we’ll have a discussion co-led by Jenny Baum and Ursula Murphy about Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly. Please feel free to comment or bring up anything relevant to the book in the comment section. We'll try to address and facilitate discussion as it comes up.
“I’ve long believed that good food, good eating is all about risk. Whether we’re talking about unpasteurized Stilton, raw oysters or working for organized 'crime,' food, for me, has always been an adventure.” (Page 6)
This quote ends the opening remarks of Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain’s 2000 bestseller. Even now, years after its release, it is difficult to obtain from the library because of its longlasting popularity. The culinary memoir is told in a friendly and humorous manner, with sprinkling of bad language and off color remarks to keep things interesting. There are plenty of stories that will leave you afraid to eat out, order seafood of any kind on any day of the week, and a host of other tidbits and horror stories from the kitchens Bourdain has worked in. There are also remembrances of colleagues filled with respect and fondness and a good deal of interesting insight into the restaurant industry. Even though Bourdain might scorn me as a vegan, I enjoyed this book, mostly because Bourdain seems to love what he does and the enthusiasm is catchy.
The books contents are divided into parts of a meal: appetizer, first course, second course, third course, dessert, and coffee and a cigarette. For the First Course, we read about Bourdain’s awakening of his love for food during a childhood trip to Europe. He slurped down his first oyster as his brother and parents looked on with a hesitation and was immediately hooked on the thrill. He got his first job in the industry as a dishwasher at a touristy fish shack called the Dreadnaught in Provincetown and immediately became envious and admiring of the misfit and wildchild cooks there. This appetite for trying new and exciting cuisine has sustained and supported him for more than twenty five years in successful restaurants, books and television shows.
Stay tuned for info about the author as well as more discussion about the book.