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The Nasty Bits: Collected Varietal Cuts, Usable Trim, Scraps, and Bones

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New York Times Bestseller The good, the bad, and the ugly, served up Bourdain-style. Bestselling chef and No Reservations host Anthony Bourdain has never been one to pull punches. In The Nasty Bits, he serves up a well-seasoned hellbroth of candid, often outrageous stories from his worldwide misadventures. Whether scrounging for eel in the backstreets of Hanoi, revealing New York Times Bestseller The good, the bad, and the ugly, served up Bourdain-style. Bestselling chef and No Reservations host Anthony Bourdain has never been one to pull punches. In The Nasty Bits, he serves up a well-seasoned hellbroth of candid, often outrageous stories from his worldwide misadventures. Whether scrounging for eel in the backstreets of Hanoi, revealing what you didn't want to know about the more unglamorous aspects of making television, calling for the head of raw food activist Woody Harrelson, or confessing to lobster-killing guilt, Bourdain is as entertaining as ever. Bringing together the best of his previously uncollected nonfiction--and including new, never-before-published material--The Nasty Bits is a rude, funny, brutal and passionate stew for fans and the uninitiated alike. Anthony Bourdain is the author of seven books including the bestselling Kitchen Confidential and A Cook's Tour. A thirty-year veteran of professional kitchens, he is the host of No Reservations on the Discovery Channel, and the executive chef at Les Halles in Manhattan. He lives in New York City. Praise for Anthony Bourdain: "Bourdain's enthusiasm is so intense that it practically explodes off the page . . . Bourdain shows himself to be one of the country's best food writers. His opinions are as strong as his language, and his tastes as infectious as his joy."--New York Times Book Review "[Writes] the kind of book you read in one sitting, then rush about annoying your coworkers by declaiming whole passages."--USA Today "Bourdain's prose is utterly riveting, swaggering with stylish machismo and a precise ear for kitchen patois."--New York magazine


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New York Times Bestseller The good, the bad, and the ugly, served up Bourdain-style. Bestselling chef and No Reservations host Anthony Bourdain has never been one to pull punches. In The Nasty Bits, he serves up a well-seasoned hellbroth of candid, often outrageous stories from his worldwide misadventures. Whether scrounging for eel in the backstreets of Hanoi, revealing New York Times Bestseller The good, the bad, and the ugly, served up Bourdain-style. Bestselling chef and No Reservations host Anthony Bourdain has never been one to pull punches. In The Nasty Bits, he serves up a well-seasoned hellbroth of candid, often outrageous stories from his worldwide misadventures. Whether scrounging for eel in the backstreets of Hanoi, revealing what you didn't want to know about the more unglamorous aspects of making television, calling for the head of raw food activist Woody Harrelson, or confessing to lobster-killing guilt, Bourdain is as entertaining as ever. Bringing together the best of his previously uncollected nonfiction--and including new, never-before-published material--The Nasty Bits is a rude, funny, brutal and passionate stew for fans and the uninitiated alike. Anthony Bourdain is the author of seven books including the bestselling Kitchen Confidential and A Cook's Tour. A thirty-year veteran of professional kitchens, he is the host of No Reservations on the Discovery Channel, and the executive chef at Les Halles in Manhattan. He lives in New York City. Praise for Anthony Bourdain: "Bourdain's enthusiasm is so intense that it practically explodes off the page . . . Bourdain shows himself to be one of the country's best food writers. His opinions are as strong as his language, and his tastes as infectious as his joy."--New York Times Book Review "[Writes] the kind of book you read in one sitting, then rush about annoying your coworkers by declaiming whole passages."--USA Today "Bourdain's prose is utterly riveting, swaggering with stylish machismo and a precise ear for kitchen patois."--New York magazine

30 review for The Nasty Bits: Collected Varietal Cuts, Usable Trim, Scraps, and Bones

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey Keeten

    ***RIP Anthony Bourdain 1956-2018*** ”Eating well, on the other hand, is about submission. It’s about giving up all vestiges of control, about entrusting your fate entirely to someone else. It’s about turning off the mean, manipulative, calculating, and shrewd person inside you, and slipping heedlessly into a new experience as if it were a warm bath. It’s about shutting down the radar and letting good things happen. When that happens to a professional chef, it’s a rare and beautiful thing. Let it ***RIP Anthony Bourdain 1956-2018*** ”Eating well, on the other hand, is about submission. It’s about giving up all vestiges of control, about entrusting your fate entirely to someone else. It’s about turning off the mean, manipulative, calculating, and shrewd person inside you, and slipping heedlessly into a new experience as if it were a warm bath. It’s about shutting down the radar and letting good things happen. When that happens to a professional chef, it’s a rare and beautiful thing. Let it happen to you.” Anthony Bourdain took his own life on June 8th, 2018, in the Le Chambard Hotel in Kaysersberg-Vignoble, Haut-Rhin, France. When I heard the news, I was shocked, and then I was surprised that I was shocked. I’ve been following Bourdain’s career since his show No Reservations launched on the Travel Channel. I even watched the shorter lived Layover, but where he really put his best work together was when he moved to CNN and launched Parts Unknown. I gleefully read his first book Kitchen Confidential and came away from that reading thinking I should have been a CHEF. They seemed to be the epitome of cool! I can only imagine how many people have been inspired to try to make a living in the food industry after reading Bourdain’s incendiary book. In the 1980s, chefs started to become rock stars, and Bourdain rode that wave of expanded interest better than just about anyone. He was bright, witty, sarcastic, unafraid of the camera, and even willing to be embarrassed to give his audience more entertainment value. Sometimes we just winced. He was acerbic, mean spirited, world weary, kind, thoughtful, and honest about his true beliefs. Certainly, there was a part of me that wanted to be him because his life seemed so free, so uninhibited, so epically fulfilling. Like some medieval maps though, there were parts of his life labelled... here be dragons, here be demons. He’d been a junkie, a petty thief, a man of uncertain character. His story was one of remarkable self renewal, a rediscovery of purpose. A phoenix rising from the ashes. The demons in his head had never left. They were in a dark corner of his brain doing push ups, lifting barbells, hitting punching bags, skipping rope, getting ready for the moment when someone leaves the gate unlocked. This book is a collection of essays, all originally published prior to 2006, that Bourdain had written mostly for magazine publication. In these short pieces, he was angry at one moment and exuberant in the next. He was mad at obese people taking up too much space on a subway or a plane. He was dismissive of other celebrity chefs. As expected he shared the details of wonderful meals he had eaten in exquisite, mouth watering detail. He instructed us on how to interact with the wait staff at restaurants and believe me some people need some help with this. He tried to eviscerate food in Las Vegas, but soon learned to appreciate it with grudging respect. Anthony Bourdain was a lot of things, but he was not a snob. He loved Vietnamese food and admitted that great Vietnamese food can be found all over the world, but the rapture of eating pho or bun cha on a cheap plastic stool in the street is a whole different experience. ”But Vietnamese food in Vietnam, when outside the window it’s Hanoi--a slice of an apartment building with faded, peeling facade just visible across the street; women hanging out laundry; the chatter of noodle and fruit vendors coming from one flight down; the high, throaty vibrations of countless motorbikes…” All of that natural gritty ambiance added to the eating experience. I always say books are never just books, and food certainly is never just food. Once I’ve experienced great food in a country and I taste it again, even at my own dinner table, the memories of eating that dish in Scotland, San Francisco, Budapest, Paris, Rome, Prague, or New York still haunt my tongue and elevate my enjoyment of that food beyond just the flavors and spices that make it great. Being the book crazed fiend that I am, I appreciated, almost as much as his talent with expanding my palate and making foreign climates accessible, his great love for books. He mentioned his favorite books at several points in these essays, but I’ve also seen him talk about his love of books in interviews and as segments during the filming of his TV shows. Here are just a few I’ve seen mentioned: Ways of Escape and The Quiet American by Graham Greene Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell The Kitchen by Nicolas Freeling The Belly of Paris by Emile Zola Flash in the Pan by David Blum Stoner by John Williams True Grit by Charles Portis Between Meals by A. J. Liebling The Devil all the Time by Donald Ray Pollock The Works of Daniel Woodrell The Works of William T. Vollman The Works of Ross MacDonald. Bourdain was, without a doubt, a serious, dedicated reader. While reading this book, every time he says something like ”Every day that Gabrielle Hamilton (owner of the restaurant Prune and author of Blood, Bones, and Butter) likes me? It’s reason to live” or he reacts to something by saying that it is worth hanging yourself in a hotel shower, I felt a sharp pain in my stomach. I watched the eight episodes of season eight of Parts Unknown this weekend, and sprinkled throughout those episodes are several moments where he says, ”It’s a reason to live,” which of course carried a poignancy, knowing that on June 8th, 2018, he had run out of reasons to live. I’ve heard psychologists discuss the signs of suicide, but those signs could be applied to just about everyone I know. As a nation, we are so unhappy and stressed out of our minds that it shouldn’t be a surprise to us that the suicide rates have reached epidemic proportions. On average, there are 121 suicides a day in the United States. If 121 people a day were dying from say Avian Flu, we would be freaking out. I’m sure all of those people showed “signs.” I’m sure I show signs on a weekly basis, like every time I look at my TBR stacks, but I would be equally depressed if I didn’t have stacks of books waiting TBR, as well. I can always count on books being a reason to live. Anthony was in a dark place for the few days before he killed himself, but he was routinely depressed. So how do any of us know what THE sign is? How do we gauge the point with which a friend or family member has reached the tipping point? Anthony Bourdain’s suicide seemed so impulsive. What if he had been able to wait just one more day? I have no doubt that he had planned it, thought about it, considered it many times over his lifetime, so like a good sous chef, I would bet he had done his prep work. For all his brash, prickly exterior, it was evident to those of us who have followed his career for a long time that all of that toughness was just a shell hiding the kind, gentle soul beneath. There was more than a bit of the romantic poet in him, maybe more Byron than Shelley. He could be a harsh critic, especially on himself. In the closing pages of this book, he criticized each of these articles and explained some of the external and internal forces that were conspiring to influence his writing at the time. He offset the cynical, seen-it-all attitude with a lyrical, jubilant, almost boyish awe of those he admired, whether they be a chef, a writer, a painter, a musician, a taxi driver, a bartender, or a Mexican dish washer. I haven’t forgiven him yet. His mother, in an interview after his suicide, said, “He had everything. Success beyond his wildest dreams. Money beyond his wildest dreams.” I can feel the confusion and anger in his mother’s words. It is selfish for me to be angry at him, but I am. I needed him out there flailing away at the world and being at least one bastion of sensible truth against the Left, the Right, and the preconceived notions of small minds. He took joy in being wrong about a place or a person, especially when he found out a place he had dismissed had hidden gems or a person he had dissed had hidden depths. The way he saw the world was frankly inspiring. A person might first watch his show for the travel or the food, but once hooked, they kept watching for the insights into foreign cultures, the real people, the commentary on global politics, the philosophy about living a good life, and the friendships that are available to all of us if we are open to having them. He gave us hope for what our life could be. Did we fail you, Tony? Did we disappoint you? My compass might be spinning, but I’ll eventually get it locked back into due North again. What else can I do? If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.com I also have a Facebook blogger page at:https://www.facebook.com/JeffreyKeeten

  2. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    The thing that Bourdain taught me is that you can study a culture through its food. He wasn't just finding the best noodles, he was asking: how do they cook here? How did they used to cook? Who cooks? He was doing a sort of food archaeology, digging down to find the purest food that a culture has produced, or even that this one neighborhood has produced, and what does that say about everything. It's a special thing, to take the world as seriously as he did.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    Sitting home on a Saturday night reading a book has become a rather preferable way for me to spend my time lately. Perhaps I’m just getting old. So this Saturday it has come to pass that I finished the book I was reading. I just closed the back cover on “The Nasty Bits” by Anthony Bourdain. You all know who Bourdain is from his show “No Reservations” on the Travel Channel or his autobiographical “Kitchen Confidential” that I reviewed in an earlier blog. Bourdain is kind of like the punk rocker Sitting home on a Saturday night reading a book has become a rather preferable way for me to spend my time lately. Perhaps I’m just getting old. So this Saturday it has come to pass that I finished the book I was reading. I just closed the back cover on “The Nasty Bits” by Anthony Bourdain. You all know who Bourdain is from his show “No Reservations” on the Travel Channel or his autobiographical “Kitchen Confidential” that I reviewed in an earlier blog. Bourdain is kind of like the punk rocker of celeb-chefs…the Joey Ramone of his occupational milieu. In “The Nasty Bits” he collects a bunch of his magazine articles and diaries and blogs from assorted places and gathers them beneath a single cover. I guess for a wider range of readers than just those who read “Gourmet” or “Food Arts”. If you liked anything else to do with Bourdain you’ll enjoy this collection. He’s the same brash, opinionated asshole (in a sense) that he is everywhere else. He goes on about how he hated Singapore and now he loves it. How he’s always had a love affair with Vietnam. He’s been hard on Emeril but in truth he loves him. And that some ridiculous sounding food craze called raw eating that is seemingly being espoused by Woody Harrelson (Why, oh why, would anyone ever take life cues from the schmuck from “Cheers” is beyond me.) is akin to the devil incarnate. There’s even a fictional cooking Christmas story to finish things off. After everything he includes comments at the end for each piece included. Just a basic explanation as to where his head was at when he wrote each piece. It gives a new insight to some of the stuff you just read. For anyone that’s already a Bourdain fan read this book. If you’re not a fan yet, read “Kitchen Confidential” and watch a couple of episodes of “No Reservations” then read this book. Either way, get around to it. You’ll get a few new reasons to appreciate the people that cook your food and a few new reasons to appreciate the food itself.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Gabrielle

    I should point out, for those who haven't read my previous reviews of Bourdain's work, that I am not an objective reader when it comes to him. So please, take this with a grain of salt. "The Nasty Bits" is a collection of essays and articles written at various time through Bourdain's career and arranged by taste: Salty, Sweet, Sour, Bitter, Umami. The logic behind that classification is to represent the tone of the essays in each section, and the idea that they should leave the reader with that I should point out, for those who haven't read my previous reviews of Bourdain's work, that I am not an objective reader when it comes to him. So please, take this with a grain of salt. "The Nasty Bits" is a collection of essays and articles written at various time through Bourdain's career and arranged by taste: Salty, Sweet, Sour, Bitter, Umami. The logic behind that classification is to represent the tone of the essays in each section, and the idea that they should leave the reader with that impression of sourness, sweetness or whatever by the time they are done reading it. I'm going to be very honest: the collection is a bit uneven. It's a patchwork of pieces written at wildly different times, for completely different publications, so there is no real continuity here; but the subtitle "Collected varietal cuts, usable trims, scraps and bones" is clear enough to know what you are getting into. My edition includes Bourdain's notes on each chapter at the end, which I really enjoyed, because they add a bit of perspective to the essays: a few final thoughts either to clarify or to make (not so) gentle fun of who he was when he penned those words. Those notes are just as well written and entertaining as the essays, so it's quite essential to read them together. Despite the un-eveness, I still enjoyed it very much. Maybe not as much as "A Cook's Tour" (https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...) or "Medium Raw" (https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...), but Bourdain's sharpness, twisted sense of humor and infectious passion make me weak in the knees. Maybe I even drool a little while reading... The stand out essays to me were the following: "Système D" about making things work in a kitchen no matter what is going on; "The Evil Doers" about shitty fast food and other garbage (un)edibles people happily shove in their faces; "My Manhattan" and "Sleaze Gone By", which are essentially love letters to all the things he loved about his neck of the woods; "Hard Core", an "unabashed blow job of an article" (his words, not mine) about Gabrielle Hamilton (gotta read her book now!), "A View From the Fridge" about why you should be a decent human being to restaurant workers; "A Drinking Problem", because the way he talks about Guinness turns me on a little, and that rant against gastro-pubs is hysterical even if I disagree with it; "Food Terrorists", a great piece about his actually very nuanced opinions of vegetarianism and animal rights; "The Hungry American" is a moving ode to Viet-Nam, and "The Old, Good Stuff" expresses sentiments for uber-traditional French cuisine that made every French atom in my body crave creamy Dijon chicken and napoleons (my French expat grandfather was a restaurateur who cooked exactly the kind of old school stuff Bourdain is talking about here, and I am unreasonably sentimental about garlic-butter escargots, blanquettes and croque-monsieurs in béchamelle, no matter how tacky that makes me). "The Dive" was, given the way Bourdain died, a really tough few pages to read. It's basically the story of a self-pitying, heartbroken and inebriated man who gets goaded by a douchebag into doing something really fucking dumb and dangerous, and who goes with it because he's just drunk enough, and he just doesn't care enough about whether or not he comes out on the other side. I had to put the book down for a few minutes to fight tears. The notorious "Woody Harrelson: Culinary Muse" was not as harsh as I had anticipated. It made me think of my first trip to France, when two of the girls I was travelling with were only interested in eating stuff they could eat back home. I wanted to slap them, so I sympathize with Bourdain's annoyance. The note about this piece in the appendix is where the (hilarious) venom actually is... So 4 stars, because its not perfect, but its my Anthony - witty and acerbic, but also humble and insightful, and its damn good!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Books Ring Mah Bell

    Bourdain. Cranky, cynical, sexy, sarcastic, lover of pork. I love the way the man uses words, I really do. The Nasty Bits treats the reader to a delectable collection of Bourdain's non-fiction. The book is broken down into flavors: Salty, Sweet, Bitter, Sour... each story under those headings manages to leave you with that taste in your mouth. At least, I think that's from the story. *spits* No one does bitter and sour better than Bourdain, which is why I love his show. In the "Bitter" part of the Bourdain. Cranky, cynical, sexy, sarcastic, lover of pork. I love the way the man uses words, I really do. The Nasty Bits treats the reader to a delectable collection of Bourdain's non-fiction. The book is broken down into flavors: Salty, Sweet, Bitter, Sour... each story under those headings manages to leave you with that taste in your mouth. At least, I think that's from the story. *spits* No one does bitter and sour better than Bourdain, which is why I love his show. In the "Bitter" part of the book, readers are treated to a rant on Woody Harrelson and the raw food movement. on cooking and chefs being spoiled by celebrity. One of my favorite stories under "Salty" is the story on "The Evildoers" - the fast food industry. On his show, unless he's in the midst of pork lust, I don't see all that much sweetness. Yet here, under "Sweet", you get a peek into the good in Bourdain's world. I could give a damn about Manhattan, but his passion for the city is indeed sweet, without being saccharine. There are stories in here that weren't all that great, not his fault at all, but perhaps because of my lack of interest, and his fiction (the "dessert" at the end of the book) does NOTHING for me. Those were the only nasty bits. The rest - scrumptious little morsels.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tom Franklin

    I'm a big fan of Bourdain's KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL and A COOK'S TOUR. In those books, Bourdain mixed his signature egomaniac writing with knife-sharp insights into his flaws as a human being, chef and foodie, not to mention humor. There was a sense of purpose to those books. He was telling a story that gave his writing a much-needed structure. THE NASTY BITS is a collection of articles and various writings that have been taken out of context and thrown together into a book. Anecdotes and/or I'm a big fan of Bourdain's KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL and A COOK'S TOUR. In those books, Bourdain mixed his signature egomaniac writing with knife-sharp insights into his flaws as a human being, chef and foodie, not to mention humor. There was a sense of purpose to those books. He was telling a story that gave his writing a much-needed structure. THE NASTY BITS is a collection of articles and various writings that have been taken out of context and thrown together into a book. Anecdotes and/or observations get repeated, the tirades have no focus other than something, somewhere has pissed him off. Many of these pieces start by meandering around a variety of potential topics before settling on a subject. It wasn't until the end of the book that I saw Bourdain had written a short explanatory paragraph or two on each article. Hidden, as they were, in the back pages, was a serious flaw in the book design. These paragraphs should have served as introductory bits, giving each "chapter" some context. I'm sure it would have made THE NASTY BITS far more enjoyable and less... well, annoying.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    I was 2/3 through this book when the news broke of Bourdain’s suicide. I would have been devastated no matter what, but this made it feel close and even eerie. The night before he died I had read his essay on addiction, and the eternal struggle to stay clean. It was one of the few essays not focused on food, and it was one of the best in the book. His honesty, his appreciation for other cultures and traditions (culinary or otherwise) were part of what made him so engaging. Just an incredible I was 2/3 through this book when the news broke of Bourdain’s suicide. I would have been devastated no matter what, but this made it feel close and even eerie. The night before he died I had read his essay on addiction, and the eternal struggle to stay clean. It was one of the few essays not focused on food, and it was one of the best in the book. His honesty, his appreciation for other cultures and traditions (culinary or otherwise) were part of what made him so engaging. Just an incredible loss on so many levels.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jae

    Oh, ugh. At least I got this for free. A series of "essays" by Bourdain, many recycled from various magazines where he'd published them. Actually, I started to be grateful for those, because some of those were at least readable. I liked his previous book Kitchen Confidential a lot, although I thought that his portrayal of chefs as heroes engaged in a noble war perhaps only slightly less difficult and dangerous than being in Iraq was perhaps slightly overblown. I liked the way he wrote about food Oh, ugh. At least I got this for free. A series of "essays" by Bourdain, many recycled from various magazines where he'd published them. Actually, I started to be grateful for those, because some of those were at least readable. I liked his previous book Kitchen Confidential a lot, although I thought that his portrayal of chefs as heroes engaged in a noble war perhaps only slightly less difficult and dangerous than being in Iraq was perhaps slightly overblown. I liked the way he wrote about food and various meals -- which is very difficult to do -- and I thought he was good at explaining how things in a kitchen worked. It's hard to find people who can write clearly and compellingly about food and also about work, and I enjoyed KC for that. Here, there are a few articles about meals that I liked, but I found a lot of what he wrote either boring or just appalling (there was a speech that he gave at some event that he clearly intended to be Speaking Truth to Power, confronting the restaurant industry about why there are so many people of color working in kitchens but so few restauranteurs and celebrity chefs of color. In this speech, he basically says, in almost so many words, that he likes to hire certain minorities in his kitchen instead of white kids out of culinary school because the white kids demand reasonable pay and will quit if you yell at them too much or make them do things they don't want or if they get offered a better opportunity, which they will b/c of their education. So in his big I'm So Progressive speech, Bourdain basically says he likes to hire people in his kitchen who are quite skilled but have little power, few options and few connections, so they basically have to eat whatever shit he dishes out. Good job!) There's also a horrifying piece of "fiction" too. Then at the end there's an enraging author's note where he basically says, "Hey, looking back on these essays, I realize there's a lot of rants I don't really agree with anymore and a lot of self-indulgence, etc." Which, I guess I'm glad he gets it, but did someone hold a gun to his head to put those essays in the book? Or to put out a book at all? If you realize it's shitty, early enough that you can insert an author's note to that effect, why not fix it? Or at least put the author's note in the beginning so we can be warned off.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jenny (Reading Envy)

    The latest from my favorite sarcastic chef/travel show host/writer, this is a bunch of essays and one short story about food, chefs, murder, and travel. Much of it was slightly redundant since I watch his show Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations but I enjoyed the essays about Manhattan and Las Vegas, why he doesn't actually hate Emeril, and the relationship between food and music. It's books like these that really make me feel like even though I left the life of the cook, I still feel like I have The latest from my favorite sarcastic chef/travel show host/writer, this is a bunch of essays and one short story about food, chefs, murder, and travel. Much of it was slightly redundant since I watch his show Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations but I enjoyed the essays about Manhattan and Las Vegas, why he doesn't actually hate Emeril, and the relationship between food and music. It's books like these that really make me feel like even though I left the life of the cook, I still feel like I have a membership card in what might possibly be the coolest culture ever. :)

  10. 4 out of 5

    Joe

    A wide-ranging collection of essays previously published elsewhere made better by the inclusion of Bourdain’s comments on each of his own pieces. With the benefit of hindsight, he admits where his earlier writing was overzealous, where it still holds up, or where he was trading in high-level BS. Worth every last word.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    I've recently been on a Bourdain binge; devouring hour after hour of his show on dvd, reading his works, both fiction and non-fiction, and coming to realize that, like so many craftsmen, it gets a bit repetitive after a while. That's not a bad thing, but it's a truism just the same. My favorite band of all time is The Rolling Stones, after all, and if anything is somewhat predictable, it is my beloved Stones. And so it is with The Nasty Bits, a heaping plate of older writings from magazines, I've recently been on a Bourdain binge; devouring hour after hour of his show on dvd, reading his works, both fiction and non-fiction, and coming to realize that, like so many craftsmen, it gets a bit repetitive after a while. That's not a bad thing, but it's a truism just the same. My favorite band of all time is The Rolling Stones, after all, and if anything is somewhat predictable, it is my beloved Stones. And so it is with The Nasty Bits, a heaping plate of older writings from magazines, etc. that were put together into one collection and then microwaved with a paragraph or so of follow-up commentary in the back. The comments are a nice touch because it shows how Bourdain's opinions can morph and change with additional life experiences, one of his most endearing qualities. Anthony Bourdain's integrity seems to be built upon an open and curious mind instead of a dogmatic stubbornness. There are many, many areas in this book where I come across the same bits that have appeared in other places; e.g. the tales of his drug days, his preference for simple foods (dirty water hot dogs, et al), his love of the Ramones and crime stories, the endless Col. Kurtz references, and/or his self-effacing sense of humor, to name a few, that now border on shtick. This means that I am spending too much time with the guy and doesn't detract from his writing, especially for the less-immersed reader. The stuff is still funny and sagacious. Additionally, I am not a foodie and there are times when the constant French food name dropping becomes tiresome. I simply don't care about Coq that or Beure this, whatever the hell those things mean. I find writing about food just as boring as writing about sex. These are things that need to be experienced, not read about. If anyone knows this to their very core, it is Mr. Bourdain. A self-professed pleasure provider, he knows that words can not do justice to sensory delights no matter how many adjectives are used. I realize that he is a chef and a food guy, but these are not the reasons I enjoy his output. What I do find appealing are his easy style, his brutal honesty, his sharp eye, his fearlessness, his iconoclasm, and his philosophical musings born of an intuitive moment during his many travels. He does noble work in trying to bring the outside world into the safe and xenophobic homes of Americans, and that may be his greatest accomplishment. That he used his success from a book that opened up the kitchen to a largely naïve public as a springboard for international travel and cultural understanding is a benefit for the lot of us. The Nasty Bits is an easy read and is full of some of the best of his strongly opinionated work. Whether it is championing the invaluable contribution of Hispanics in the restaurant business or taking on America's woeful dietary habits and self-entitled gluttony, Anthony Bourdain strikes a Ramonesian power chord for intellectual curiosity and cultural observation.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lil' Grogan

    Collection of articles written through the years: mainly opinion pieces and travelogues, with one fiction short story. Should say I've only seen his show once and stumbled across Bobby Gold years ago, so didn't really know much about Bourdain before this. Found his writing an interesting mix of the arrogant and self-deprecating, posturing and honest. It was also better than I remembered it being. Found the commentaries at the back of the book funny since they offer a more balanced view as he Collection of articles written through the years: mainly opinion pieces and travelogues, with one fiction short story. Should say I've only seen his show once and stumbled across Bobby Gold years ago, so didn't really know much about Bourdain before this. Found his writing an interesting mix of the arrogant and self-deprecating, posturing and honest. It was also better than I remembered it being. Found the commentaries at the back of the book funny since they offer a more balanced view as he reflects back on his more angry, self-admitted testosterone-filled rants. They also made me like him more for his willingness to learn. I think though if I had read the last article first, I wouldn't have been quite as interested in reading his travel accounts. Most of the cuisine he wrote about is unfamiliar to me (in terms of in-country experience), but not Malaysian food. Was disappointed by the misrepresentation as shown through Singapore, describing a classic Malay dish incorrectly (a rice dish as a noodle dish) and calling a pork dish a Malay speciality (which is impossible given the Muslims are forbidden to eat pork). He's not the only food/travel writer to have made these errors and I wonder if I should blame the authors for their lack of research (or basic interest in learning the language of the countries they visit) or their guides for misrepresenting their own local cuisine. Having said that he's a capable food-travel writer, much more so than others that I've read. His enthusiasm for food and cooking come through. His writings on chef personalities and famous chefs were interesting and funny, and much more appetizing than the accounts I hear from self-professed foodie friends who usually bore me to tears.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Craig

    If you’ve ever seen him on TV, read one of his seven books, or eaten at his restaurant, you know that he really loves food. At least as much as me. Maybe even more? In fact, the guy is a little bit nuts. And probably not particularly nice. But, he is clearly in touch with his passion and I love him for that. I just finished his latest book, “The Nasty Bits: Collected Varietal Cuts, Usable Trim, Scraps, and Bones,” which is a collection of short stories, published and unpublished essays, If you’ve ever seen him on TV, read one of his seven books, or eaten at his restaurant, you know that he really loves food. At least as much as me. Maybe even more? In fact, the guy is a little bit nuts. And probably not particularly nice. But, he is clearly in touch with his passion and I love him for that. I just finished his latest book, “The Nasty Bits: Collected Varietal Cuts, Usable Trim, Scraps, and Bones,” which is a collection of short stories, published and unpublished essays, diatribes, and even a few choice email messages. If you recognize the power of food in terms of understanding history, relating to unknown cultures, or satisfying desire, you’ll love this book! It made me laugh out loud (especially his rage when it comes to vegetarians, raw food advocates, and Woody Harrelson—you’ll have to read that chapter!). It made me angry. It made me sad. And it really made me hungry! Get this book, read it, and let’s share a meal . . . soon!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Allison

    Bourdain is at his best when he's writing about food, travel, or any combination of the two. Most of the essays in this book covered these topics, but I wasn't all that into the ones that strayed from them. Some of them were also so over the top as to induce eye-rolling at how superior and/or cool he thinks he is. I enjoyed the commentary in the back of the book, though, where he makes a note about each essay and how he feels about it in hindsight. Even he admitted to rolling his eyes at some of Bourdain is at his best when he's writing about food, travel, or any combination of the two. Most of the essays in this book covered these topics, but I wasn't all that into the ones that strayed from them. Some of them were also so over the top as to induce eye-rolling at how superior and/or cool he thinks he is. I enjoyed the commentary in the back of the book, though, where he makes a note about each essay and how he feels about it in hindsight. Even he admitted to rolling his eyes at some of his older work. The final piece was a short fiction story, which was sort of meh. He should stick to non-fiction.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Erik

    If you're a fan of Bourdain's TV programs (as I am), then you'll enjoy this collection of musings. It reads exactly as you'd expect it, with Bourdain's unmistakable style.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Aldi

    Just for shits and giggles, every once in a while you try a book that's totally outside of your usual preferences, genres, experiences, and it turns out it's funny, elucidating, enriching, and in every way worth reading. This is not that book.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Judith

    Like a beloved grandfather, this book tells the same stories/anecdotes over and over.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kerri Anne

    Another new-to-me collection of Bourdain's, and while not as seamless as Kitchen Confidential, parts of this collection of essays is equally interesting, heavily laden with Bourdain's characteristic honesty, wit, and self-deprecation. I always appreciate books that make me think, and doubly appreciate books that make me stretch my vocabulary. This book does both while also making me remember the best parts of working in restaurants fondly without romanticizing the nasty bits. This copy also has Another new-to-me collection of Bourdain's, and while not as seamless as Kitchen Confidential, parts of this collection of essays is equally interesting, heavily laden with Bourdain's characteristic honesty, wit, and self-deprecation. I always appreciate books that make me think, and doubly appreciate books that make me stretch my vocabulary. This book does both while also making me remember the best parts of working in restaurants fondly without romanticizing the nasty bits. This copy also has updated commentary and reactions from Bourdain himself about each chapter/essay at the end of the book, which feels like a great addition to any edition. [Three stars for being one rare male voice I don't get tired of listening to.]

  19. 4 out of 5

    Colleen

    A Honeymoon airport read. The best part of this collection might be Bourdain's commentary on each piece, but the Christmas short story is also pretty great. Loved the essay on Gabrielle Hamilton too. Still sad he's gone.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

    Anthony Bourdain: An Alternate History If you can catch a dentist in a quiet, reflective moment over a drink, and ask what the worst aspects of the job are, you will probably get the following answer: “The pressure, the fast pace, the isolation from normal society, the long hours, the pain, the relentless, never ending demands of the profession.” If you wait awhile, maybe two more drinks, and ask again - this time inquiring about the best parts of being a dentist - more often than not, the Anthony Bourdain: An Alternate History If you can catch a dentist in a quiet, reflective moment over a drink, and ask what the worst aspects of the job are, you will probably get the following answer: “The pressure, the fast pace, the isolation from normal society, the long hours, the pain, the relentless, never ending demands of the profession.” If you wait awhile, maybe two more drinks, and ask again - this time inquiring about the best parts of being a dentist - more often than not, the dentist will pause, take another sip of beer, smile… and give you exactly the same answer. This is something you might keep in mind at the very beginning of your dentistry career, chained to a biangled sickle scaler, doing nothing more glamourous, hour after hour after hour, than scraping plaque or excavating periodontal pockets: It really doesn’t get any better. In fact, I know a number of accomplished dentists who suffer from what we call “dental assistant syndrome,” meaning that at every available moment between expertly siphoning bone fragments from the canal of an emptied root, they sneak over to the sink and spend a few happy, carefree moments scraping plaque from their own molars. This is not as bizarre as one might think. Many of us yearn for those relatively carefree days when it was a simple matter of taking a hook and a condenser to a set of browned teeth and watching them emerge clean and perfect on the other side. Similarly, I have seen owners of sprawling multiunit dental empires sitting alone in a darkened office after hours, blissfully massaging their molars with a simple pick, temporarily enjoying a Zen-like state of calm, of focused, quantifiable toil far from the multitasking and neurosis of a successful dental practice. Dentistry is, and always has been, a cult of pain. Those of us who’ve spent any time in the business actually like it that way. Unless we’ve gone Kurtz-like over the edge into madness and started believing that we are no longer dentists but the spokespersons for the most egregious excesses of purely cosmetic orthodontia, we know who we are: The same people we have always been. We are in the service industry, meaning that when rich people come into our offices, we clean their teeth. We know (or should know) that we are not like our customers, never will be like our customers, and don’t want to be, even if we get a cavity every now and then. The people in our dental chairs are different from us. We are the other thing - and we like it like that. We may be glorified servants, catering to the whims of those usually far less disciplined in matters of oral hygiene than we are, but we are tougher, meaner, stronger, more reliable, and well aware of the fact that we can do something with our hands, our senses, the accumulated wisdom of thousands of teeth cleaned, that they can’t. When you’re tired after a hard day in the office, and some manicured stockbrower is taking up too much room on the subway, you have no problem telling the stupid prick to shove over. You deserve it! He doesn’t. Does this sound macho? It isn’t. Men, women, anyone who works in a professional dental office should feel the same way. They work harder, under more difficult conditions, in an often fly-by-night industry with uncertain futures, catering to a fickle and capricious regulatory environment in which you can do everything right and still fail. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve talked about this with dentists around the world. Whether it’s Singapore, Sydney, St. Louis, Paris, Barcelona or Pocatello, you are not alone. When you finally arrive, when you take your place at the arm of the chair, start cleaning serious teeth, know what the hell you’re doing, you are joining an international subculture in “this thing of ours.” You will recognize and be recognized by others of your kind. You will be proud and happy to be part of something old and honorable and difficult to do. You will be different, a thing apart - and you will cherish your apartness. The point: You aren't as precious as you think you are, Bourdain.

  21. 5 out of 5

    K2 -----

    I was in a used bookshop looking to buy "Kitchen Confidential" for a friend's son who wants to be a chef and I stumbled upon this and bought it mistaking it for his newest book. Indeed it is a collection of useable trim, scraps and bones like the title states. I have several middle-aged women friends who are just ga-ga over Bourdain---it makes me laugh. I have rarely seen his show as I'd rather read than watch TV, but I find him to be a good if gritty writer. He is a hard living egotistical I was in a used bookshop looking to buy "Kitchen Confidential" for a friend's son who wants to be a chef and I stumbled upon this and bought it mistaking it for his newest book. Indeed it is a collection of useable trim, scraps and bones like the title states. I have several middle-aged women friends who are just ga-ga over Bourdain---it makes me laugh. I have rarely seen his show as I'd rather read than watch TV, but I find him to be a good if gritty writer. He is a hard living egotistical sexist guy, who is also a fine word smith and I'm certain a decent chef. Because I didn't read these articles elsewhere, as some may have, I enjoyed them for the first time. I love Asia and his writings about Asian eating particularly foods presented on a banana leaf was well-described bringing back fond memories of crowded streets and street vendors with tasty treats to share. I presented an interview of him talking about his newest book to a friend who never misses him when he appears in Seattle who has Mick Jagger-like fantasies about the guy. "This will cure you" I told her. In the interview he continually slammed every woman chef that was mentioned and particularly liked to pick on California celebrity chef and community gardening activist Alice Waters. My woman friend said She enjoyed the interview and didn't think he was the slightest bit sexist but instead more sexy and appealing (proving that it takes all kinds). He is an urban east coast guy, cigarette smoking, former heroine/cocaine addict, heavy drinking risk-taker, who isn't afraid to insult. I found his notes in the back of the book interesting, sort of a round up of his take on the collection piece by piece as seen from a future viewpoint. He freely admits he's on a ride of a lifetime and is milking it for what it's worth. I'm sure the offer to publish this collection of pieces he'd already been paid to publish was just too tasty to pass up. I thought the comments on Good Reads that readers were disappointed these were recycled pieces to be funny given book s subtitle front-and-center, but in haste I bought it thinking it was the newest book so there you have it! His hatred of vegetarians goes hand in hand for my hatred of smokers. I enjoy reading his work but would never want to be at a table with him or his larger than life ego.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Bookworm Smith

    Bits. That is what this book is made of - Bits. Not entrails or chicken toes. Not those kind of bits. Just bits of writing. A short account of eating a seal. A page or two on where Chefs and other kitchen staff drink after hours. A few paragraphs about other books by cooks. A rather short travel log about cooking on a cruise ship. Just bits like that. I did not find this collection much different than Kitchen Confidential or Medium Raw. Yes, Kitchen Confidential had a storyline, but, it was Bits. That is what this book is made of - Bits. Not entrails or chicken toes. Not those kind of bits. Just bits of writing. A short account of eating a seal. A page or two on where Chefs and other kitchen staff drink after hours. A few paragraphs about other books by cooks. A rather short travel log about cooking on a cruise ship. Just bits like that. I did not find this collection much different than Kitchen Confidential or Medium Raw. Yes, Kitchen Confidential had a storyline, but, it was mostly made up of bits like this. No argument that the stories were longer and much deeper, but, in the end they were separate stories thrown together in one book to give you a glimpse into the world of cooking. Nasty Bits is similar, it is just missing a destination. Overall, it had that same cuss filled opinionated writing about food and food culture that I was expecting from Bourdain...and secretly craving. I'm still looking for a author who can outdo Anthony in this little niche of the literary scene. The niche I'm referring to is the attitude filled, overly profane, insult ridden, darkly humorous, yet easily readable food and/or food related (including Cookbooks) books. As of yet, I have not found anyone that can best him. But, if you know of someone please instant message me asap. A lot of reviewers of this book seem to get a really worked up over the structure. I read complaint after complaint about how this book is hard to get into because it's choppy, disjointed...blah blah. Hello?! It implies right on the front that this book is made up of scraps, bits, etc. The preface has Bourdain explaining that he has assembled a collection of articles he wrote for magazines, bits (again with the bits) that did not make it into his other books, and a small work of fiction. Did these reviewers just forget to read the preface. First rule in book reading - Read the Preface! Skip the table of contents, but, don't ever skip the Preface. My only complain, the same one I had with Medium Raw, is Bourdain's preoccupation with insulting the 'celebrity chef'. Come on, the Bobby Flay or Jaime Oliver bashing gets really old after a dozen go-rounds. http://bookwormsfeastofbooks.blogspot...

  23. 5 out of 5

    PurplyCookie

    Bourdain, like the fine chef he is, pulls together an entertaining feast from the detritus of his years of cooking and traveling. Arranged around the basic tastes: salty, sweet, sour, bitter and umami (a Japanese term for a taste the defies description), this scattershot collection of anecdotes puts Bourdain's brave palate, notorious sense of adventure and fine writing on display. From the horrifying opening passages, where he joins an Arctic family in devouring a freshly slaughtered seal, to a Bourdain, like the fine chef he is, pulls together an entertaining feast from the detritus of his years of cooking and traveling. Arranged around the basic tastes: salty, sweet, sour, bitter and umami (a Japanese term for a taste the defies description), this scattershot collection of anecdotes puts Bourdain's brave palate, notorious sense of adventure and fine writing on display. From the horrifying opening passages, where he joins an Arctic family in devouring a freshly slaughtered seal, to a final work of fiction, the text may disappoint those who've come to expect more honed kitchen insights from the chef. Bourdain writes as he talks--irreverently, earthly, and determinedly free of euphemism. The reader can almost hear him dragging on his cigarette between sentences. In just a few pages he lays bare the gritty, fill-those-tables economics that govern a restaurant's success without respect to the competence of its cooks. He surveys the current crop of over-publicized chefs in their trendy Las Vegas digs and finds their eateries flourishing if soulless. He fears that celebrity (and vast riches) will undo many potentially great chefs, but exceptions such as Mario Batali and Emeril Lagasse confirm his faith in the higher side of his profession. Be warned though if you take offense easily at vulgarity, don't have a sense of humor or adventure this is not a good book to start with or maybe read at all. Those who are familiar with Chef Bourdain's style of writing and have seen his show "No Reservations" on the Travel Channel will no doubt enjoy this collection. More of Purplycookie’s Reviews @: http://www.goodreads.com/purplycookie Book Details: Title The Nasty Bits: Collected Varietal Cuts, Useable Trim, Scraps, and Bones Author Anthony Bourdain Reviewed By Purplycookie

  24. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    This is a collection of essays directly and tangentially related to Bourdain's exploits as the chef of a fabulous restaurant in New York, and his travels around the world eating at Michelin rated venues and off-the-beaten path jewels. Bourdain's relentless rantings are often hilarious, sometimes exhausting, but always (in my opinion) entertaining. I loved his first book Kitchen Confidential, though I've never seen his television show on the Travel Network called No Reservations. I can see people This is a collection of essays directly and tangentially related to Bourdain's exploits as the chef of a fabulous restaurant in New York, and his travels around the world eating at Michelin rated venues and off-the-beaten path jewels. Bourdain's relentless rantings are often hilarious, sometimes exhausting, but always (in my opinion) entertaining. I loved his first book Kitchen Confidential, though I've never seen his television show on the Travel Network called No Reservations. I can see people hating Bourdain. He has an opinion about EVERYTHING and he's an arrogant unapologetic drunk. But, I just love the way he describes and enjoys food - from the dirtiest dives in Vietnam to the fanciest dining rooms in France. I wish his books had an index in the back with his favorite restaurants and dishes listed by city. My favorite parts of his book are when he gives "advice" to diners - there's lots of this in Kitchen Confidential - from when and how to order the right dishes on a menu, to how to treat your waiters, to how to send food back to the kitchen, to when to take appropriate smoking and bathroom breaks during the service of a meal. He's the modern day Emily Post of how correctly to eat out in a restaurant. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys the magic of having other people prepare your food for you.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    A misc hodge-podge of pieces that were published elsewhere, or not published at all. The range here is pretty broad - some of the pieces just evoke an experience, or a taste - they seem a little incomplete. But some are brilliant, funny travelogues, filled with restaurant recos and behind-the-scenes info for people who love food. If you're a fan of his non-fiction, it's definitely worth checking out - not as well-edited as Kitchen Confidential and not as Dishy as 'Medium Raw' (or as cohesive as A misc hodge-podge of pieces that were published elsewhere, or not published at all. The range here is pretty broad - some of the pieces just evoke an experience, or a taste - they seem a little incomplete. But some are brilliant, funny travelogues, filled with restaurant recos and behind-the-scenes info for people who love food. If you're a fan of his non-fiction, it's definitely worth checking out - not as well-edited as Kitchen Confidential and not as Dishy as 'Medium Raw' (or as cohesive as that book), it's still a fun read. The fiction sample here doesn't entice me to read his fiction (which is saying something, since I'm a pretty big fan of his food and have read most of his non-fiction). It's a pretty cheesy, happy-ending story - the Bourdain'd version of a Joanne Fluke short (it actually reminded me of some of the narrative in the Hannah Swenson cookbook - while I'm reading both, that's NOT a compliment). Thankfully, the fiction sample is short and clearly marked, so you can skip it if you feel the urge. The end notes are really worth checking out. He tells where he originally published the piece, or what inspired him to write it. Also, since some time has passed, he indicates if his opinion has changed or if there were any updates to the situation described. This might actually be the most fun part of the book, and absolutely worth the time to read.

  26. 4 out of 5

    okyrhoe

    Anthony Bourdain is always a pleasant read. Even though this book is, by his own admission, a haphazard collection of "varietal cuts, usable trim, scraps and bones" it's his force of character which comes through in the end - a man passionate about the pleasures of life - besides the culinary arts - & always willing to express his gut responses and his opinions in a brash, yet oftentimes sensitive, manner. Because Bourdain does sincerely believe in a strong work ethic, in a dedication to Anthony Bourdain is always a pleasant read. Even though this book is, by his own admission, a haphazard collection of "varietal cuts, usable trim, scraps and bones" it's his force of character which comes through in the end - a man passionate about the pleasures of life - besides the culinary arts - & always willing to express his gut responses and his opinions in a brash, yet oftentimes sensitive, manner. Because Bourdain does sincerely believe in a strong work ethic, in a dedication to doing the job that needs to be done as best as one can, I was intrigued by a discrepancy, and several typographical errors in the printing of this book. On p. 288 it reads ...Pierre an Tunnel closed its doors... [should read...Pierre Tunnel closed its doors...:] (Pierre Tunnel oysters is on W 46th St. NYC) And in the last segment of the book, "A Chef's Christmas" Bourdain writes "What was that line in Taxi Driver? 'Someday a big red tide is gonna come and wash them all away'?" I don't have a copy of the film handy, but I seem to recall the line actually spoken by Robert de Niro is 'Someday a real rain will come and wash the scum off these streets.'

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I basically like this jackass against my will, because he's good at describing what it's like to eat gross stuff so that I shall never have to. But I draw the line at the last entry, which is fiction called "A Chef's Christmas." Really, Tony? What happens, he shoots up and then canes Santa Singapore-style because he eats cookies instead of tete de veau? So if "A Chef's Christmas" is the unifying pinnacle of this "I already wrote it so why not publish it again?" mish-mash, I am officially missing I basically like this jackass against my will, because he's good at describing what it's like to eat gross stuff so that I shall never have to. But I draw the line at the last entry, which is fiction called "A Chef's Christmas." Really, Tony? What happens, he shoots up and then canes Santa Singapore-style because he eats cookies instead of tete de veau? So if "A Chef's Christmas" is the unifying pinnacle of this "I already wrote it so why not publish it again?" mish-mash, I am officially missing out. Also, writers take note: the appropriate adverb to make the word "fresh" super superlative is, apparently, "screamingly." This is enough to drive one to consider the vegan lifestyle, which would be a supreme pisser for Mr. Bourdain, who thinks that vegetarianism should be a capital offense (and that he is Hemingway, despite his promiscuous use of adjectives and a pretty lame earring).

  28. 4 out of 5

    Fayette

    This book is a collection of essays and articles which Bourdain has written over a period of time. This means each chapter more or less stands on it's own and you can put it down and pick it up without losing any momentum. I preferred my first exposure to Bourdain, which was Kitchen Confidential. After that I faithfully watched his TV shows whenever I could find them on Netflix. His snarky bad boy image is entertaining, once I get past the fact that he is often making fun of people like me. Hey, This book is a collection of essays and articles which Bourdain has written over a period of time. This means each chapter more or less stands on it's own and you can put it down and pick it up without losing any momentum. I preferred my first exposure to Bourdain, which was Kitchen Confidential. After that I faithfully watched his TV shows whenever I could find them on Netflix. His snarky bad boy image is entertaining, once I get past the fact that he is often making fun of people like me. Hey, if you only have a couple of weeks a year (or every other year) to galavant around the world you are less likely to eat and drink whatever you see in the hopes of not ruining your vacation with diarrhea. Seriously. And I've enjoyed NYC as a tourist and I'm not sorry that I did! ANYWAYS, I'll keep watching and reading Bourdain because he's very interesting and I wish I could travel and eat more like he does.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Michael Giuliano

    My first real exposure to Bourdain (other than a few episodes of No Reservations and his Get Jiro! graphic novel) and it was better than expected. The Nasty Bits is an anthology of sorts, collecting articles Bourdain has written since the release of his first book, Kitchen Confidential (which I just grabbed). The book is cleverly split into five sections ("Sweet," "Sour," "Salty," "Bitter," and "Umami") which reflect the tone of the short stories collected within. Bourdain's writing is as My first real exposure to Bourdain (other than a few episodes of No Reservations and his Get Jiro! graphic novel) and it was better than expected. The Nasty Bits is an anthology of sorts, collecting articles Bourdain has written since the release of his first book, Kitchen Confidential (which I just grabbed). The book is cleverly split into five sections ("Sweet," "Sour," "Salty," "Bitter," and "Umami") which reflect the tone of the short stories collected within. Bourdain's writing is as no-holds-barred and snarky as his speech, which makes for a very easy and enjoyable reading experience. At the heart of it all, what makes the book so engrossing is the clear fact that Bourdain is passionate about what he does, both in and out of the kitchen. The man has a deep respect for the art of cooking, and wants nothing more than to share the nuances of the culinary world with the unenlightened.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ensiform

    Just what it says on the cover, a collection of previously published pieces of food, chefs, travel, and cultural commentary (plus one fiction piece). I’m a Bourdain fan, but most of these essays are simply too short to have any real impact. That’s not to say they’re not bad; they have his trademark snide remarks, the New York swagger tempered by open-minded desire to learn more about others. In a magazine I’m sure they’re fine. But, for example, a mere three printed pages on Bourdain’s first Just what it says on the cover, a collection of previously published pieces of food, chefs, travel, and cultural commentary (plus one fiction piece). I’m a Bourdain fan, but most of these essays are simply too short to have any real impact. That’s not to say they’re not bad; they have his trademark snide remarks, the New York swagger tempered by open-minded desire to learn more about others. In a magazine I’m sure they’re fine. But, for example, a mere three printed pages on Bourdain’s first taste of Szechuan food is nearly pointless; he barely begins to describe the taste before the essay is over. A lengthy examination of Brazilian food and culture demonstrates how much more powerful his travel writing can be when he has room (on the page) to explore. This edition had some commentary by Bourdain on his own pieces since their publication; some of his opinions have changed, and it’s fun to read him mocking his old self as briskly as he used to mock TV chefs.

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