Friday, June 20, 2014

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

Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who CookMedium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook by Anthony Bourdain
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read Bourdain's "Kitchen Confidential" about 2 years prior to reading Medium Raw. I remember thinking back then, just like I did for this, that when you hear him speak.. when mentally you can remember the tone of his voice, how he sounds when he rants a little or curses someone out, it adds to the appeal of the book. When you can associate his voice with his writing style, you can also hear him reading line after line after line. That's one of the reasons I enjoyed Medium Raw as much as I did, because in the end, this book is about a bunch of.. what I thought were.. random thoughts, experiences and observations by Bourdain. Kitchen Confidential was similar, but it had structure.. and some chronology to it. Medium Raw, I almost view, was the "left out pieces", but in particular the pieces that occurred since Kitchen Confidential's publishing.

There in lies why I only gave it 3\5 stars. For as interesting as one chapter was to me, the next.. not so much. One chapter he's story telling about previous experiences, and the next he's somewhat shedding his soul and psychoanalyzing himself. All interesting parts in their own way.. but it just never gelled together for me. That being said, I enjoy how "raw" his writing style is. When he's really starts ranting and spitting venom on his enemies, you can *hear* him cursing and screaming, and even though it wasn't a comedic thing per se, you still couldn't help but chuckle at him calling people douchebags and such.

Of course, when Bourdain "turn's it on", I think his writing shines. A chapter dedicated to "food porn" discusses what it's like to have some of the best meals in the world, and spends 30 minutes describing food I had never heard of before in such wonderful detail, I started to salivate. You can tell he loves food, he makes you love food, and makes you feel like dirt for not previously appreciating it.

So in all, I wouldn't recommend this book as the "first" one to read by Bourdain, but if you read Kitchen Confidential, enjoyed it, and generally are interested in the personality and what makes him tick.. it's a worthwhile read.

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