- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; First Edition edition (May 16, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1582344515
- ISBN-13: 978-1582344515
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 212 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #69,420 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Nasty Bits: Collected Varietal Cuts, Usable Trim, Scraps, and Bones Hardcover – May 16, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
In this typically bold effort, Bourdain (Kitchen Confidential), like the fine chef he is, pulls together an entertaining feast from the detritus of his years of cooking and traveling. Arranged around the basic tastes: salty, sweet, sour, bitter and umami (a Japanese term for a taste the defies description), this scattershot collection of anecdotes puts Bourdain's brave palate, notorious sense of adventure and fine writing on display. From the horrifying opening passages, where he joins an Arctic family in devouring a freshly slaughtered seal, to a final work of fiction, the text may disappoint those who've come to expect more honed kitchen insights from the chef. Surprisingly, though, the less substantive kitchen material Bourdain has to work from only showcases his talent for observation. This book isn't for the effete foodies Bourdain clearly despises (though they'd do well to read it). He criticizes celebrity chefs, using Rocco DiSpirito as a "cautionary tale," and commends restaurants that still serve stomach-turning if palate-pleasing dishes, such as New York's Pierre au Tunnel (now closed), which offered tête de veau, essentially "calf's face, rolled up and tied with its tongue and thymus gland." Fans of Bourdain's hunger for the edge will gleefully consume this never-boring book.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Deriving in large part from his popular series of television travelogues, Bourdain's new collection of essays breezes along. Bourdain writes as he talks--irreverently, earthily, and determinedly free of euphemism. The reader can almost hear him dragging on his cigarette between sentences. In just a few pages he lays bare the gritty, fill-those-tables economics that govern a restaurant's success without respect to the competence of its cooks. He surveys the current crop of overpublicized chefs in their trendy Las Vegas digs and finds their eateries flourishing if soulless. He fears that celebrity (and vast riches) will undo many potentially great chefs, but exceptions such as Mario Batali and Emeril Lagasse confirm his faith in the higher side of his profession. Anyone who's ever dined in one of the thousands of undistinguished and indistinguishable "family" restaurants clogging the nation's highways will appreciate Bourdain's take on "Restaurant Hell." His lusty paean to the old, freewheeling Times Square of drugs, sex, and crime offers a contrarian, in-your-face riposte to New York City's touristy gentrification. Mark Knoblauch
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Now, the first thing to keep in mind with The Nasty Bits is that it isn’t really a book, per se, but rather a collection of Bourdain’s writings in various magazines. If you’re a fan of his shows, you’ll find some familiar locales and faces in the pieces represented - Vegas, Thailand, Vietnam. However, there’s also a lot more inside-baseball when it comes to the culinary art world that has faded from the TV presentations over time.
An impassioned argument about the raw food movement that took the world by storm awhile back. Reflections on a heavily nostalgic vision of New York City in the 80s. Bourdain’s first all-expenses-paid trip for a magazine (to Brazil) and another aboard the super cruise liner The World. There are funny bits, angry bits, and yes - nasty bits. However, the best bits actually come at the back of the book, where you’ll find short commentaries on each article. With the benefit of hindsight, Bourdain is able to admit faults and shed light on the context surrounding an article - the context you never get to see in such articles.
I’m an avid magazine reader as it is - longform feature pieces, travel, and insight into niches of the world I’ll never likely set foot in myself are as addictive to me as cigarettes used to be - so once I was able to change myself from ‘book reading’ mode to ‘magazine reading’ mode, I enjoyed The Nasty Bits a lot more. However, it may not be for everyone.
I have always been interested in food, cooking and especially restaurants. My mom worked in, and owned a few, as I grew up. All of the jobs of my youth were in them. Her strongest desire was for me not to make a career in one. I followed her wishes and have had a successful non-restaurant career, but a part of me will always dream of what could have been. As clichéd as it sounds, the happiest and most exciting times of my life were spent in restaurants. Anthony Bourdain's books really heighten the nostalgia for my crazy, wild restaurant youth. You can't go home again, but you can reminisce about the bad old days, and smile.
I read a lot of the "chef type" books, and as the respectable 40 something lady that I am, I can put on the James Taylor, pour a great glass of Cab and thoroughly enjoy them. With Mr. Bourdain I can get out the Patron and crank up the NY Dolls. He steps to the end of the cliff, thinks better of it, and then jumps anyways. I like jumping with him.
He's back. The bad news: he's still all attitude, and he can still cause ruin to family dentistry. The good news: he has decades of kitchen experience under his belt (or somewhere - the jerk is as skinny as a rail), and he writes in a way that will make you run out and sample all the small local diners in your town. For me, that means roach coaches serving burritos and tacos - and damn, I've had some food. Mole as smooth and velvety as a newborn's skin. Soft tacos that reach around your mouth and pull all your tastebuds into the center, and then fountain out pure lime, cilantro, and carmelized carne asada. He has ruined my already poor waistline.
Read this book, watch him on TV, go see him. He's saved up his energy and built up his opinions and vitriol and phrasings all these years in his kitchens - he's too bright, too good, too chrome wheeled, fuel injected and steppin' out over the line to last.