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Dec 18, 2010 05:27 PM

I'm having a problem

I just got Anthony Bourdain's book Medium Raw. I have read Kitchen Confidential and never miss an episode of No Reservations. But I read the first chapter and I'm saying, "What the fuck Tony?" Why are you eating an endangered species? Why are you writing about it like you're about to have your first orgasm? Maybe I'm over reacting. At this point I'm not sure I'll read the rest of the book. Why should I care? Because you made me like you. I enjoyed reading about your early years. Those heroin and crack infested days that you were lucky to live through. And what made it good was you knew it. You didn't act like you had finally gotten your just reward. No. You knew you were a lucky bastard. Executive chef at Les Halles and the you Travel around the world making TV and eating mostly great food with the occasional poop shoot. Not a bad gig. You can suck down all the tortured, endangered little birds full of their crap that you want. I think you are full of crap.

Tell me I'm over reacting, please. I want to read the rest of the book. I want to go on enjoying Tony's antics, but that was one fucked up and creepy scene of them eating those birds with napkins draped over their heads.


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  1. clearly you haven't read The Nasty Bits...the very first paragraph of the *Preface* is a description of eating a freshly-killed [and raw!] seal with an Inuit family. i almost chucked the book right then & there.

    15 Replies
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      If you saw the episode on No Reservations you would have had different feelings.

      1. re: monku

        you'll notice i said i *almost* chucked the book. Tony is Tony, and i love him for that. i managed to get past it :)

        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          From the episode it was if they worshipped every seal they caught and used every bit of it. The Inuit diet is made up of what they hunt and cute seals are part of their diet.

          1. re: monku

            And it's their only real source of nutrient dense sustenance.

            It's why Tibetan Buddhist Monks will eat goat, even though they are technically practicing vegetarians. Only source of nutrient dense sustenance.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              If people saw what those cute killer whales like Shamu do to a seal, they'd never go to Seaworld.

              1. re: monku

                Not sure what people would be more appalled at? Emaciated Inuits, or dead seals.

              2. re: ipsedixit

                most tibetan buddhists are not vegetarian
                they live way out of the growing zone

                1. re: thew

                  Yes, that's why I said they eat goat.

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    i guess my point was that they are not "technically practicing vegetarians."

                    buddha ate meat. he died eating a piece of bad pork. vegetarianism is not the way of the middle path - it is an extreme

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      They eat more than goat (I've never seen them eat goat) -- it's a common mis-perception that they are vegetarian. I was taught to make momos by Tibetan monks -- and not only did they make them -- they ate them -- with gusto.. and they were beef filled, not goat filled. I've also brought Tibetan monks beef filled empaƱadas as gifts -- they were eaten with smiles (much to the amazement of the vegetarians). The Tibetan diet is vegetable poor -- not vegetable rich.. and it shows in typical Tibetan foods.

                      1. re: karmalaw

                        most of the momos i had were water buffalo.

                        mmm good

                2. re: monku

                  oh i know about all that, it's just a tough mental image to swallow (pun intended), particularly when it's certainly not something we're exposed to here on a regular basis.

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    It was something to see..
                    They bring this dead seal into their clean white kitchen, lay down some plastic on the floor and cut the seal open and just start digging in with their hands and eating. They were happy.

                    1. re: monku

                      I saw that episode. I think or maybe I was hoping - that Tony felt a little remorseful about making disrespectful snide remarks on the side when he was out on the hunt.

                      McDonalds are not on every corner. Food is sustenance that is revered and appreciated - because sometimes you may not have it for a while.

                      What birds did he eat?

                      1. re: Sal Vanilla

                        " disrespectful snide remarks" .......
                        are Tony's trademark in every episode without regard to the situation.

          2. Since I haven't read the book yet, what did he eat?

            3 Replies
            1. re: monku

              An ortolan.

              If only I could be so fortunate.

              1. re: ipsedixit

                Sounds better than warm blooded seal meat.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  I'm with you, ipsedixit.

                  My thoughts - if one doesn't enjoy the first chapter of Medium Raw - Bourdain's thoughts on food probably aren't for them.

              2. I wondered if it was even true...or just a great story.

                1. You should save some of your outrage for all those people who eat bluefin tuna or Chilean seabass.

                  3 Replies
                    1. re: rockandroller1

                      A couple of times people have remarked I should "save" some of my outrage. Are you afraid I'll run out? I assure you I have a whole pocket full. :o)


                    2. I know this sounds snarky, but I'm honestly curious: I was wondering why you would just give up on a person due to one thing he did (past tense, not continuing to do, as far as anyone knows)?

                      I mean, like you mentioned in your OP, he did all types of drugs, did all types of not-virtuous-at-all activities and treated a lot of people horribly throughout his entire life, and probably continues some of these on a smaller scale. But he does this one act and he's suddenly a horrible person?

                      Maybe it's just because I don't understand the intense love for Anthony Bourdain among foodies (I like him enough and watch his show a lot, but haven't read his books yet), but if you're going to love him for his bad-boy-turned-good, edgy, adventurous, open and honest-to-a-fault image, why let him eating an endangered species stop you from even finishing his book? Wouldn't that act add to that?

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: yfunk3

                        You made a great point. I happen to love the guy. But that's irrelevant. To OP, face the facts. He is who he is. Either get over it or don't.

                        1. re: yfunk3

                          I think the big difference is that Bourdain vehemently condemns his hard drug abuse in his writings (though he condones or even encourages social drinking and marijuana use). Whereas the Ortolan scene, despite the obligatory moral disclaimer, was written as a great and worthwhile experience - damn near orgasmic, actually.

                          It's a lot easier to accept abhorrent behavior when someone claims to regret it than when someone revels in it.

                          Not that I personally think it's all that abhorrent... or more precisely, it's not particularly more abhorrent than what happens to chickens bred to produce cheap eggs in the US, and I must admit I eat the occasional cheap egg.