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May 03, 2003
A Cook's Tour (Bourdain)

A Cook's Tour: Global Adventures in Extreme Cuisine (By Anthony Bourdain)

Chef Bourdain is searching for the perfect meal, but he's not looking in the first-star restaurants of Europe or America.

No, he goes to a friend's ancestral home in Portugal to help slaughter a pig and learn the myriads of uses for all the parts.

He goes to Saigon where the ghostly echo of a chopper beats its whupwhupwhup into his ears and the video memory of napalm melting the flesh from a girl's arms almost destroys his appetite forever.

He tries to recreate the summer meals of his youth in La Teste, France, and visits England, the home of roast beef, at the height of the mad cow disaster.

Through St. Petersburg, Morocco, Tokyo, and a dozen other places, Bourdain largely ignores the white-tableclothed haunts of the cognoscenti in his search for the heart of each country's cuisine. Along the way, he doesn't neglect to explore life in each country, either. He has a sauna in Russia, complains about the porn in England, and visits the landmines and ruins of Cambodia. He visits kitchens and waxes lyrical over ingredients but this book is populated with vivid, three-dimensional characters who are more memorable (to the non-chef) than the food.

Entrancing, unsettling, and sometimes deeply disturbing, this is one of the most evocative "travel" books I've ever read.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:25 PM