Book Review: The Nasty Bits by Anthony Bourdain

Title: The Nasty Bits: Collected Varietal Cuts, Usable Trim, Scraps, and Bones

Author: Anthony Bourdain

Genre: Food and Drink, Nonfiction, Cooking, Memoir, Travel, Biography, Autobiography, Food Writing

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

Published: May 16, 2006

Page Amount: 288 pages

Goodreads Summary: Bestselling chef and No Reservations host Anthony Bourdain has never been one to pull punches. In The Nasty Bits, he serves up a well-seasoned hellbroth of candid, often outrageous stories from his worldwide misadventures. Whether scrounging for eel in the backstreets of Hanoi, revealing what you didn’t want to know about the more unglamorous aspects of making television, calling for the head of raw food activist Woody Harrelson, or confessing to lobster-killing guilt, Bourdain is as entertaining as ever. Bringing together the best of his previously uncollected nonfiction–and including new, never-before-published material–The Nasty Bits is a rude, funny, brutal and passionate stew for fans and the uninitiated alike.

Why Read: Even though he’s still a chef in my head, Anthony Bourdain’s writing style is something I enjoy on par with a new JK Rowling book or Dan Brown. He just has this particular style that really digs beyond food porn, and opens up a little peak into what lies behind the curtain. I adore him and I’ve had this book in the wings for quite some time.

Review: Anthony Bourdain does not mince words and he certainly doesn’t stop in the many assorted essays that are contained in The Nasty Bits. It was an honest-to-god pleasure to read his sass when it comes to how to film a cooking show and how the phenomena of “celebrity chefs” looks vs. how it is. He has a gift for writing how things are, and the style of his writing is terse, at times aggressive, but always truthful.

He doesn’t care if the reader has opinions; there are simply what Anthony Bourdain thinks and the highway. I have to say, it’s a tempting view. I absolutely love how bombastic he gets when talking about experiencing other cultures, and especially his thoughts on veganism and vegetarianism. It’s the things I would never think to say – but let’s be honest – I do think them sometimes when I see a really good cut of meat.

The writings themselves change drastically depending on what part of the book you’re in – but it’s good to have it switch. There’s partially a rhyme and reason for the order… but I’ll be honest, I didn’t really see it made a difference. Regardless, the stories and articles were fun. Who doesn’t enjoy a good passage about exotic Vietnamese foods, reminiscing about good old-fashioned seafood cooked at the shore and laughing at obnoxious high class cuisine. It’s undoubtedly a fun book, and I would read it again, gift it to a friend because I love Bourdain. His honesty and writing style have a flavour that I have yet to find elsewhere.

Favourite Quotes:

“The “slow food” lobby, arguing for sustainable sources of food, organic and free-range products, cruelty-free meat, and a return to a photogenic but never-to-be-realized agrarian wonderland, seem to overlook the fact that the stuff is expensive, and that much of the world goes to bed hungry at night—that most of us can’t hop in the SUV with Sting and drive down to the organic greenmarket to pay twice the going rate.”

“Restaurants are supposed to be about the food, aren’t they? They’re supposed to be . . . well . . . fun.”

“The stove, the oven, the open can of propane, the roadside grill, the barbecue pit, the hearth are where food is made. Right? The place of heat is where cooks and eaters congregate, will always congregate, to share food and stories. Thus it has always been. Thus it will always be.”

Rating: 5/5 Stars

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