Federation Book Club reads Kitchen Confidential
Rare is the person who’s fearless about food, especially when traveling. Bourdain’s memoir begins eating his first oyster as a child, thus setting off a lifetime of culinary adventures.
Do we really want to travel in hermetically sealed popemobiles through the rural provinces of France, Mexico and the Far East, eating only in Hard Rock Cafés and McDonalds? Or do we want to eat without fear, tearing into the local stew, the humble taqueria’s mystery meat, the sincerely offered gift of a lightly grilled fish head? I know what I want. I want it all. I want to try everything once.”
Anthony Bourdain, Kitchen Confidential
Bourdain’s astonishing, endless talents were endless. Cooking, writing, scripting his travel show, storytelling within the memoir, experimentation, and his compassion for and understanding of his line cooks, among them. Watching the 2021 documentary, Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain, you can enjoy much of his own audio narration from Kitchen Confidential. It begins, however, with a warning that it would not have a happy ending—Bourdain died by suicide in 2018. A July 15, 2021 New Yorker article about the film is worth reading to get a sense of this loss. New Yorker Article by Helen Rosner
Book Club readers, impressed with Bourdain, commented on his evocation of the food, the locales, the cultures; and on the book: “Fast-moving,” “Clever,” “Couldn’t put it down—I was up reading until 3:00 AM,” “His death felt like a personal loss.”
In the Roadrunner film, Bourdain asks a friend what a normal life is, how to enjoy it when you’ve got it. Bemused by fame, fortune, and absolute freedom to do what he wanted, reaching for the next ultimate stimulation never made him happy.
Schedule of Upcoming Books (subject to change):
December 15: Clock Dance, novel by Anne Tyler
January 19: Three Ordinary Girls, non-fiction by Time Brady
February 16: The Night She Disappeared, novel by Lisa Jewell
March 16: The Clockmaker’s Daughter, novel by Kate Morton
April 20: Last Bus to Wisdom, novel by Ivan Doig
May 18: The Hotel Neversink, novel by Adam O’Fallon Price
June 15: The Book of Lost Names, novel by Kristin Harmel
The Federation Book Club meets via Zoom at 4:00 PM on the third Thursdays of every month.
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