Kitchen Confidential : Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain- Bourdain was a really good writer.
Some of the people that he writes about do seem a bit overdrawn and...fantastic, to put a word on it. But in my experience of working in a few restaurants, the people he describes are not THAT overdrawn; I remember meeting a few sketchy characters in my time (both co-workers and restaurant customers). The incessant machismo and homo-eroticism that permeates the book also sounds familiar (and as an openly gay guy...well, let’s just say that I have my own stories!).
I felt a bit nostalgic of my time working in restaurants in my 20’s after reading this.
Plus, Bourdain was a bit of a thrill junkie like I am.
So in the spring of 1999, I really and truly thought that I had had all my great adventures, that the entertainment and excitement segment of the program was long over. Been there and done that was more than an assumption for me, it was a defensive stance, and one that kept me-and keeps me-from repeating the stupid mistakes of the past. Sure, there were things to learn. I learn things all the time. But I'm talking about eye-opening,revelatory, perspective-altering life experiences: the exotic, the frightening, the totally new. I wasn't about to sample any new experimental hallucinogens at age forty-three. I wasn't going to submerge myself in some new criminal sub-culture, steeping myself in the customs and practices of professional gamblers, heroin seekers or sexual adventurers-though at one time it would have greatly appealed to me. I didn't think I'd be shipping out on a great big clipper ship (as Lou Reed puts it), wandering the backstreets of Peshawar or sampling live monkey brain in the Golden Triangle. My personal journey, I thought, was pretty much over. I was comfortably ensconsed in secure digs, with a wife who still remarkably-found me to be amusing on occasion. I had a job I loved, in a successful restaurant and I was alive, for chrissakes! I was still around! Though the game had long since gone into overtime, I still had a few moves left in me, and I was content to play them out where I'd started New York City, the place I believed, heart and soul, to be the center of the world.
I am reading:
Hangman’s Holiday by Dorothy L. Sayers
- My reading for most of this year has been way too intense, happy to settle down with a murder mystery, even though I am getting a little caught up in some of the old early 20th century British words and colloquialisms that Sayers uses like “barmy.”
From the opening page, Sayers references H.G. Wells, so it is a nice coincidence that there is a review of a new Wells biography
in The New Yorker
which I am halfway finished reading.