“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
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.
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.
In this book, what chef Bourdain is looking for on his yearlong global adventure is a good mix of food, memory, and context, and if it comes with a modest side of danger and another of humor, more the better. He enjoys being outrageous – like “blowing chunks” is how he vomits, and his “pig-fisting” is more aptly known as cleaning the intestine of a pig. But his enthusiasm is mighty engaging, and his snappy, full-bore writing style – whether being sarcastic, passionate, or descriptive – is good entertainment. Oh, and a few profanities.
And boy! The man sure knew his food very well; only when speaking of food does Bourdain get serious.
A few of his adventures include attending the butchering (literal and figurative) of a pig in Portugal and bacaloa-making in the Basque country, and partakes in vodka and black bread in Russia, a tagine of kefta in Morocco, and some truly nasty encounters in Mexico and Cambodia.
I read this book a few years ago and found it inspiring as I like to travel and eat. I enjoyed Anthony Bourdain’s frank style of writing and the depth he goes to, to describe his travels and the food experiences he was exposed too. It’s like he is speaking. You can hear his voice in your head as you read the book. Or maybe it’s just me because I’ve watched and did a rerun of his shows?
Overall, I truly enjoyed this book very much and not just because it is popular. It was such a stunning emotional roller coaster of a read it tugged on all the right heartstrings to bring me tears of joy and sadness.