Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain
I have to admit, reading this the second time over I had very different feelings. I loved it — but this time more for the actual content than just the writing. It left me wondering what I liked so much about it the last time I read it considering it was a time when I wasn’t the slightest bit interested in anything remotely to do with the kitchen. And the writing, though distinctive, isn’t really stellar. It is the stories, more than the style/craft that makes the book memorable. The last time around, I was a little taken by that loud, brash and in-your-face style that is Anthony Bourdain. This time around I wonder why that felt special. Because it really isn’t what makes the book fun. What I loved this time around was the story itself. The insights into kitchen secrets, the back-breaking tiring horror of the boiling pot that is the inside of a professional kitchen, and the dirty, the slippery, dark, debauched lives chefs seem to slip into, the struggles Bourdain and other like him have endured before we get to know them as the chefs they are today. But most of all the unabashedly happy lives that people in love with food seem to live. The words bring that kind of unfiltered passion to life — where long hours, grueling work, inhuman conditions etc seem to melt away in the face of creating good food. This was a fun food-memoir to read again. Some bits are entertaining, some poignant, some downright hilarious. This is definitely a book worth going back to, as I probably will again and again.
A Homemade Life, Molly Wizenberg
I don’t know why I took so long to read this memoir, considering Orangette is one of the oldest food blogs around. Molly is one of the pioneers, the forerunners of blogging about food and life together, with equal gusto, who’s been doing it way before it because the cool new thing for everyone to try. Reading her blog has touched me several times before, probably even inspired certain critical shifting-gears type moves in my own life too. While I enjoyed it, some parts (down to specific excerpts) more than others, I have to stay it wasn’t a standout book for me. For one, it was an extremely lightweight read — it reads too much like a bunch of blog posts strung together in no particular order, more than a memoir with a deeper underlying story. Perhaps it was meant to be like that, but it didn’t make me feel like I had graduated from reading Molly’s blog to reading Molly’s book. I’m also slightly disappointed that I only felt inspired to bookmark two recipes to try. More than inaccessible ingredients, obscure concepts and approaches to food itself seemed like a hurdle — not one I have had an issue with on her blog. This was a quick, light read, and while it was interesting, it hasn’t really made an impression on me.
I know I’ve said this about my general reading list too, but I feel my food/kitchen related reading list seems to expand faster than I can knock things of it. Even when I make progress, sometimes I fall back.
I got my hands on an epub file of The Hundred-Foot Journey, but cant seem to copy it on my iPad. And Korma, Kheer and Kismet isn’t even out on the Kindle store.
Ugh. Decisions, decisions. I’ve moved on to Me Talk Pretty One Day, while I ponder over this one.