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Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook (P.S.) Paperback – May 3, 2011
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Medium Raw marks the return of the inimitable Anthony Bourdain, author of the blockbuster bestseller Kitchen Confidential and three-time Emmy Award-nominated host of No Reservations on TV’s Travel Channel. Bourdain calls his book, “A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook,” and he is at his entertaining best as he takes aim at some of the biggest names in the foodie world, including David Chang, Alice Waters, the Top Chef winners and losers, and many more. If Hunter S. Thompson had written a book about the restaurant business, it could have been Medium Raw.
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“Like a stinky fish sauce from his beloved Vietnam, [Bourdain’s] appeal among the food die-hards has only grown stronger and more pungent over time, and this book will only solidify that adoration.” -- Austin American-Statesman
“This is Bourdain at his best. His food-porn vignettes are guaranteed to make your mouth water.” -- Miami Herald
“Compulsively readable.” -- New York Magazine's Grub Street
“The food orbit is [Bourdain’s] element, and chapters on today’s leading figures―from chef David Chang to critic Alan Richman―display his access, outspokenness and comedic gifts.” -- Wall Street Journal
“The KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL author is a father now, but he hasn’t cleaned up his language, lost his zesty appetite or his critical zing.” -- Time Magazine
“Bourdain is back with more intriguing food fights, moving further from the kitchen into the eating industry. [Bourdain’s] dissections...are still as hilarious, as scatological and as spot-on as ever....his fare―and his prose―is still quite spicy.” -- BookPage
“Full of things everybody in the food world thinks but nobody will say...If [Bourdain’s] sharp eye and his wicked tongue have brought him acclaim, what’s kept him in the spotlight is his heart. Like Oscar Wilde, he’s a moralist in the guise of a libertine. Long may he prosper.” -- Denver Post
“Mr. Bourdain is a vivid, bawdy and often foul-mouthed writer. He thrills in the attack, but he is also an enthusiast who writes well about things he holds dear.” -- Wall Street Journal
From the Back Cover
An instant New York Times bestseller and the follow-up to the mega-hit Kitchen Confidential
In the ten years since Anthony Bourdain's classic Kitchen Confidential first alerted us to the idiosyncrasies and lurking perils of eating out, much has changed for the subculture of chefs and cooks, for the restaurant business–and for Anthony Bourdain.
Medium Raw tracks Bourdain's unexpected voyage from journeyman cook to globe-traveling professional eater and drinker, and even to fatherhood, in a series of takes-no-prisoners confessions, rants, investigations, and interrogations of some of the most controversial figures in food.
Beginning with a secret, highly illegal after-hours gathering of powerful chefs that he compares to a mafia summit, Bourdain pulls back the curtain–but never pulls his punches–on the modern gastronomical revolution. Cutting right to the bone, Bourdain sets his sights on some of the biggest names in the foodie world, including David Chang, the young superstar chef; the revered Alice Waters; the Top Chef contestants; and many more. Medium Raw is the deliciously funny, shockingly delectable result, sure to delight philistines and gourmands alike.
- Publisher : Ecco; Reprint edition (May 3, 2011)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 320 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0061718955
- ISBN-13 : 978-0061718953
- Item Weight : 8 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.31 x 0.72 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #24,148 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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What I discovered by reading this book is that Anthony Bourdain was a remarkable man. He openly admits to an extensive history of drug and alcohol abuse. He writes frankly about his own successes and failures, both as a chef and an author. Bourdain possessed a wonderful sense of humor and an equally remarkable memory of the people, places, restaurants and dishes he loved to eat. Admittedly, I found his descriptions of some of his meals somewhat repulsive, which is why I nicked him one star in my rating of Medium Raw.
Overall, I enjoyed reading this book very much. Bourdain's admission that he battled depression for much of his life is quite sad, because that is one thing he and I hold on common. But, I do not feel sorry for him. Anthony Bourdain led a very full life that allowed him to work with some of the world's greatest chefs and to travel all over the world. I feel sorry for those of us who never met him. He will be missed, as trite as that sounds. I truly recommend Medium Raw.
There are funny bits, and because I’m a fan, the biographical parts interest me. Particularly in light of him taking his own life, reading about his self-destructive behavior before he quit abusing drugs many years ago was fascinating. He describes living in the Caribbean and driving home drunk every night down curvy, mountain roads, which obviously could have led to his death and others’.
If you haven’t read him yet but are considering it, go with Kitchen Confidential.
Medium Raw is another irreverent, scattered piece of the iconoclast's puzzle, another part of a long farewell note left at the scene of his loss.
I read this book to find out more about him, not necessarily the themes and people in his writing. I was not disappointed. The book is, like all of his work, a guilty pleasure much enjoyed.
But the question remains; did anything or anyone in his life answer that voice, enter that wilderness, or even get close to saving his soul? He did not believe, so his soul is not the transcendent essence of his being. His soul was and remains like the soul behind the music: the riff, the rhythm of his restless life.
The middle third felt like I went from a novel to a collection of short stories that shared a topic, but not a theme. Nothing that made me angry, but nothing where one story really led to another...so not even a very well curated collection of short stories.
The final third pushed back into coherent chapters, but even then the chapters could have been shuffled and I doubt that there would be much change to how the book read.
Part of why I loved this book is that I recently finished Marco Pierre White’s ghost-written auto-biography. White was certainly the better chef. This is undeniably the better (and more honest) read.
That being said, it took me longer than I expected to finish this book, a book that should have been a fairly easy read. Why? Because as I read, I could hear the written words being spoken in his voice. Throughout the whole book. And while it was enjoyable and entertaining, I also found the experience a little nerve-wracking. I still can't wait to read the next book of his that is currently waiting in my TBR pile.