Book Review: A Cook’s Tour by Anthony Bourdain
Anthony Bourdain has been an inspiration for me in so many ways. I’ve always enjoyed watching his programs. He was a gastronomic genius and a traveler. Because of him, I dared myself to go beyond my comfort zone and try new adventures without any reservations.
“I wanted kicks ― the kind of melodramatic thrills and chills I’d yearned for since childhood, the kind of adventure I’d found as a little boy in the pages of my Tintin comic books. I wanted to see the world ― and I wanted the world to be just like the movies.”
– Anthony Bourdain, A Cook’s Tour: In Search of the Perfect Meal
Chef Bourdain has made a stop in Manila last 2009 as part of his trip to the Philippines. And his deep connection to the country was undeniable. We weren’t just another stop on his endless tour around the world, it was something more personal and he made it his mission to find out why we were “so damn caring” – his own words.
ALSO READ: 10 Books That Will Fuel Your Wanderlust
In this A Cook’s Tour, chef Bourdain is seeking for a good mix of food, memory, and context on his yearlong global adventure, and if it comes with a modest side of danger and another of humor, all the better. He enjoyed being outrageous, such as “blowing chunks” is to vomit and “pig-fisting,” which is more accurately characterized as cleaning a pig’s gut. But his enthusiasm is contagious, and his fast, full-throttle writing style – whether sarcastic, passionate, or descriptive – is entertaining. Oh, and a few profanities.
And boy! The man understood his food incredibly well; only while discussing food did Bourdain become serious.
He attended the butchering (literal and figurative) of a pig in Portugal and the preparation of bacaloa in the Basque peninsula, and he drinks vodka and black bread in Russia, a tagine of kefta in Morocco, and some very nasty encounters in Mexico and Cambodia.
I read this book a few years ago and found it inspirational as I enjoy traveling and eating. I liked Anthony Bourdain’s candid writing style and the lengths he takes to describe his travels and the food experiences he had. He appeared to be speaking. As you read the book, you can hear his voice in your thoughts. Or is it just me since I’ve seen and replayed his shows?
Overall, I thoroughly loved this book, and not just because it is well-known. It was such a breathtaking emotional roller coaster of a read that it pulled on all the right heartstrings, bringing tears of joy and grief to my eyes.