2. A Cook’s Tour by Anthony Bourdain

A Cook’s Tour is the pretty standard Anthony Bourdain blend of offensive humor, drinking stories, and gratuitous food porn. I greatly enjoy his style of writing, and love reading his descriptions of food – for me, it comes alive. Although Bourdain is first and foremost known for his food writing and biting, sometimes nasty tone, I think his strongest writing comes when Bourdain gets sentimental and examines the beauty in the world, reflects on his surroundings.

From a passage describing his time in Morocco, he writes:

When we finally agreed on the right distance and the right dune – still reasonably certain we could find our way back to camp – we sat down on the cold sand dune and smoked ourselves into a state that once, many years ago, might have been mistaken for enlightenment, our coughs and giggles swallowed up by the dunes. I lifted the description ‘a bewildering array of stars’ once from a far better writer – I can’t remember who now, only that I stole it – and that expression came to mind as I stared up at an awe-inspiring sky over the Sahara, the bright, penetrating lights, the quick drop of comets, a cold moon, which made the rippling patters of sand look like a frozen sea.

Maybe it is nostalgia, maybe I’m wrong, but in passages like that I think about the poet Dylan Thomas and his stories. Bourdain has a knack of making places come to life – in beautiful and ugly ways. He celebrates it, the raw glory of traveling and eating and being stupid and making mistakes. If you’ve previously read and enjoyed his books, check this one out – but you won’t need me to tell you that.

Pages: 288/493

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~ by lefaquin on March 16, 2014.

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