September Book Review

Medium Raw A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook

This month’s review is by Richard Bellikoff
Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook
by Anthony Bourdain

Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook

The publication of Kitchen Confidential in 2000 propelled Anthony Bourdain to global stardom as an author and TV personality. Medium Raw, published ten years later, is a sequel. In his passionate and highly opinionated style, Bourdain holds forth on the rise of the foodie movement and the wrenching changes taking place in the restaurant business and his own life (“what a long strange trip it’s been,” as the Grateful Dead sang). He pays tribute to the chefs and cooks he’s known and worked with, but as the book’s subtitle suggests, sometimes Bourdain’s valentines are laced with arsenic. Neutrality and indifference are alien to his nature, and he does not exempt himself from criticism. This is an adult book with adult language. But as Bourdain points out, sexual metaphors are common in food writing —”food porn,” as he calls it. Whether you agree with him or not, he’s always provocative and entertaining. Even if your kitchen skills are limited to boiling an egg and brewing coffee, Bourdain will make you care about food and cooking.

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