You can usually tell who I am reading by the way I write that day. If I am writing short paragraphs full of gratitude, I’ve probably been reading Mitch Alblom. If I’m a little more snarky than usual, I’ve just read Mark Twain’s Innocents Abroad for the hundredth time. And, if I’m writing confessional pieces about things like aging and my temper, there’s a good chance I’m reading something by former chef and current television personality Anthony Bourdain and for the last few weeks, for fun, I’ve been reading his new book, “Medium Raw.”
I should tell you, if you are easily offended by foul language, irreverence and the frying of certain endangered species for culinary delight, you will HATE this book by the not so warm and cuddly Top Chef judge. However, if you like brutal honesty, true emotion, lessons from life experience and a good laugh, you’ll be as captivated by this series of essays as I am.
Bourdain is the celebrity I’d most like to get to know, we are the same age, from the same region and I even share a half a nationality with him (French). His TV show begins with the words I would like to someday use to describe myself, “World Traveler, Author, Chef.” I have in fact, taken cooking classes in Tuscany and I am convinced that, if in the 70′s, someone had told me that I could cook for people and get paid for it, Wall Street would have lost a young star. (Ok, maybe not Star, maybe, oh let’s see… pain in the ass). Suffice to say, if I ever have a chance to buy him a drink, I’ll happily do so and share whatever the chef is sending to his table.
Medium Raw is a series of rants on food critics, fast food, haute cuisine and the Food Network. Bourdain talks about his recovery from substance abuse, sleeping with super models, cooking on TV and being a Dad with an honest humor that makes you feel like you are having a beer with him at a local pub. Not exactly high literature, but entertaining stuff that we working stiffs can identify with, Bourdain is the fry cook who won the lottery, the guy with a writer’s soul who had a day job. (Hmmm, I can identify with that!) Medium Raw is about him coming to terms with his sudden fame and fortune and, if you are a fan of good writing, I think you’ll enjoy it as much as I do.