The only thing "gonzo gastronome" and internationally bestselling author Anthony Bourdain loves as much as cooking is traveling. Inspired by the question, "What would be the perfect meal?," Tony sets out on a quest for his culinary holy grail, and in the process turns the notion of "perfection" inside out. From California to Cambodia, A Cooks' Tour chronicles the unpredictable adventures of America's boldest and bravest chef.
I like Anthony Bourdain’s memoirs, but I can’t stand his travel/food show No Reservations1. A Cook’s Tour was both hit and miss for me because it’s one of his memoirs, BUT it’s a memoir about…No Reservations. (Or whatever he did before No Reservations. One of his travel/food shows, anyway.) I loved the book and I also hated it because it reminded me of the annoying things and it’s all very mixed up and confusing.
Also confusing was the format, which skips around time and place. One chapter he’s in France, the next it’s six months later and he’s in China, the next it’s four months previous and he’s in Chile or something. I have no patience for that sort of nonsense, and it made keeping up with the where/when of each location difficult.
But ignoring the format and my own prejudice against his show, Anthony Bourdain writes excellent memoirs, both travel and otherwise. He’s really good at capturing all the stuff about food that makes you want to eat it, even if it’s something like cow’s stomach or blood sausage. I never thought about eating things like tripe before I started reading his books, but now I can’t stop thinking about it.
Because A Cook’s Tour is so focused on the food of a particular country/people, there’s not a ton of stuff about the rest of the countries he visits. No museum visits, for example. But there’s usually some background info given re:a certain area that he’s visiting, like in the Vietnam chapter. It’s a good balance of food, history, and personal recollections, and I definitely recommend reading it. Even if you’re not a foodie, learning about the different styles of food and eating from around the world is super interesting!
Read: May 22-June 3, 2014
Which book has made you the hungriest? Leave a comment below!
- mostly because he refused to go to see the pyramids in Egypt. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, SIR. ↩