My Goodreads account is not keeping up with my books currently reading. I started this on Saturday (December 9th) and finished it yesterday.
Anthony Bourdain is always a good read to me. I really loved his first memoir, Kitchen Confidential. I think due to what is going on in the U.S. right now, I have been reading a lot of cooking memoirs the past few weeks. There is something wonderful about reading about other cultures and their love of food. And I have tried to recreate some menus (did not attempt any in this book though for obvious reasons).
Off the bat you get that Bourdain loves food. He loves meeting/talking to other food obsessed people. Starring in a television show that is taking him around the globe to eat food seemed like a win-win. Some scenes were rather hard to read about (the one describing how ducks are stuffed to make foie gras---no thank you), others are humorous, and at times you get a feeling of sadness depending on what Bourdain is going on about in a particular chapter.
I have to say that the book itself jumps around a lot. I don't know if this is the order he filmed or what. We go to Russia, Tokyo, Scotland, France, England, Saigon, and other countries with Bourdain and his camera crew along with local men/women who show Bourdain how to eat/prepare their favorite dishes.
I would say don't read this if you have a weak stomach though. You read about a pig being slaughtered, a goat, and about Bourdain hunting rabbits (seriously).
I think my favorite chapters has to be about Bourdain waxing enthusiastically about Gordon Ramsey and Hubert Keller. I really wish I could eat at The French Laundry cause it sounds wonderful.
I didn't rate this five stars since the book jumped around a lot and I didn't know what angle Bourdain was going for in the final execution of this book. Was it to share his love of food? His realizing there is no such thing as a perfect meal, rather it's the memory that you go chasing when thinking of your favorite food? Or was it to showcase other cultures and how they got really screwed by other countries (Vietnam and Cambodia).