Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Appetites - Anthony Bourdain

Since discovering the amazing website Plan to Eat, I have been on a bit of cooking kick again. I mean, I always love cooking but having this website help me organize my cooking life has spurred me to seek out new recipes again. I've always had trouble corralling my recipes, particularly ones I have yet to make but would like to. Plan to Eat is making it easy for me. When I add a recipe there, I schedule it a few weeks or months out so I remember to give it a try when that date rolls around. Plus, the website has about a million other awesome functions. Seriously, if you are responsible for most meal planning in your household, you should check it out. It will save you so. much. time.

Anyway, cookbooks. I don't read them super often, but I do like picking them up every now and then. I have a small collection, but I like reading through them and copying out recipes I may like more than I like owning them, in general. Most cookbooks only have a few recipes I really want to try.

In the past couple years, several celebrity cookbooks have caught my attention. I read two of them over the July 4th weekend, so it made sense to review them together for you. Anthony Bourdain and Chrissy Teigen are certainly an odd couple to pair together, but I really enjoyed both books and their unique approaches to food. Today, I'm talking about Bourdain's book. I'll be back on Thursday to share Teigen's with you. 

Title: Appetites: A Cookbook
Author: Anthony Bourdain
Publication Date: 10/25/2016
Pages: 320
Genre: Food / Nonfiction
How I Found It: I have read Bourdain's books and watched his shows for years.
Date Completed: 7/2/17

What I Thought: Bourdain's international culinary adventures show themselves here. However, also on display is his love for his daughter and what life at home was like for the family before he and his wife split last year. I will say, it felt a little uncomfortable for him to be writing about her and her family knowing they would split right around the book's release.

Regardless of his personal life, Bourdain knows food. He asserts at the start of the book that his intention was to offer a collection of food he makes at home. Accessible, approachable meals that home cooks such as myself could replicate. I have yet to make anything from the book, but I do think he achieved that with about one-half to two-thirds of the recipes present. There are homey classics like Macaroni and Cheese and familiar foods like Sausage and Pepper Heros. There are also, however, some much less familiar international classics.

It's not surprising to see them. Bourdain's career has taken him around the world and he, probably more than any other "celebrity" chef, is known for eating about anything. I would love to try some of the more exotic or complex dishes he includes. But, I live in rural-ish North Carolina. No store around me carries octopus. I also don't have time nor money to make all of my stock from scratch. Believe me, I know my food would be better if I did, but ain't-nobody-got-time-for-that. For all the talk about this being an "at home" cookbook, Bourdain never lets the reader forget that the "home" in question is one where a proficient chef lives. It's not a bad thing, necessarily. It's what I expect from him in a lot of ways.

Also what I expect from Bourdain - irreverence and profanity. He delivers. He's caustic and crass. It's great. Just as on his shows, he has no qualms about sharing his opinions. The title of his current show, No Reservations, has more applications than one could ever imagine.

It's a good cookbook. It's got some flaws, but I definitely plan to make about a dozen things from it. That's a pretty good ratio for me. Plus, the photography is as outrageous and intense as Bourdain's writing.

Recipes I Want To Try: New Mexio Style Beef Chili, Roast Leg of Lamb with Flageolets, Chicken Pot Pie, and more!

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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