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A Cook's Tour: Global Adventures in Extreme Cuisines

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From the star of No Reservations, Anthony Bourdain's New York Times-bestselling chronicle of travelling the world in search the globe's greatest cuilnary adventures The only thing "gonzo gastronome" and internationally bestselling author Anthony Bourdain loves as much as cooking is traveling. Inspired by the question, "What would be the perfect meal?," Tony sets out on a qu From the star of No Reservations, Anthony Bourdain's New York Times-bestselling chronicle of travelling the world in search the globe's greatest cuilnary adventures The only thing "gonzo gastronome" and internationally bestselling author Anthony Bourdain loves as much as cooking is traveling. Inspired by the question, "What would be the perfect meal?," Tony sets out on a quest for his culinary holy grail, and in the process turns the notion of "perfection" inside out. From California to Cambodia, A Cooks' Tour chronicles the unpredictable adventures of America's boldest and bravest chef. Fans of Bourdain will find much to love in revisting this classic culinary and travel memoir.

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From the star of No Reservations, Anthony Bourdain's New York Times-bestselling chronicle of travelling the world in search the globe's greatest cuilnary adventures The only thing "gonzo gastronome" and internationally bestselling author Anthony Bourdain loves as much as cooking is traveling. Inspired by the question, "What would be the perfect meal?," Tony sets out on a qu From the star of No Reservations, Anthony Bourdain's New York Times-bestselling chronicle of travelling the world in search the globe's greatest cuilnary adventures The only thing "gonzo gastronome" and internationally bestselling author Anthony Bourdain loves as much as cooking is traveling. Inspired by the question, "What would be the perfect meal?," Tony sets out on a quest for his culinary holy grail, and in the process turns the notion of "perfection" inside out. From California to Cambodia, A Cooks' Tour chronicles the unpredictable adventures of America's boldest and bravest chef. Fans of Bourdain will find much to love in revisting this classic culinary and travel memoir.

30 review for A Cook's Tour: Global Adventures in Extreme Cuisines

  1. 4 out of 5

    Gabrielle

    "Dear Anthony, This is awkward because I am married and you are dead, but... I think I'm in love with you. I guess developing a posthumous crush is a tad creepy, but hey, no one ever called me normal. Besides, I know you wouldn't have given me the time of day: I eat too much vegetarian food for things to have ever worked out between us. But damn, man, you were truly one of a kind. I've been reading your books and watching old episodes of your shows on Netflix; it breaks my heart a little bit ever "Dear Anthony, This is awkward because I am married and you are dead, but... I think I'm in love with you. I guess developing a posthumous crush is a tad creepy, but hey, no one ever called me normal. Besides, I know you wouldn't have given me the time of day: I eat too much vegetarian food for things to have ever worked out between us. But damn, man, you were truly one of a kind. I've been reading your books and watching old episodes of your shows on Netflix; it breaks my heart a little bit every time, because of the way you left us - but what a legacy you left behind! This book is clearly the ancestor of “The Layover” and “No Reservations”; I devoured every page and wished you'd written a much bigger book. Or a bunch of sequels. This book gave me a glimpse of you that "Kitchen Confidential" (https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...) simply didn't. This time, I got to know you, not just your job. You put your soul on those pages, which makes this book vastly superior to its predecessor. I found out here that you were actually a romantic (not something I would have guessed from the other book!), who watched a lot of amazing movies and then went off to find out what happened off-frame in "Apocalypse Now", "Dr. Zhivago", "Laurence of Arabia" and "The Quiet American". What a crazy, beautiful thing to do! I must say, I am a bit jealous. You figured out a way to get paid to travel, eat your heart out and get drunk with the locals. Where do I get that job?! Even if the stuff you did for "A Cook's Tour" was grittier than "The Layover" and "No Reservations", it was still pretty damn epic. The way you describe how people live in mysterious places I have never had the chance to visit is so evocative and vivid: I learned some incredible things, and not just about their food! You truly had a way with words, and a gift for observing the world around you: you saw its beauty even in the seediest, most dangerous spots on the planet. You make me want to go there. I mentioned the vegetarian thing being a potential obstacle to our ever-lasting love, but frankly, as much as I love my tofu, reading what you write about foie gras somehow makes me question all my lifestyle choices (though I am truly sorry you had to suffer that vegan potluck in San Francisco; these people clearly don’t respect the vegetables they eat, which is just sad). This book contains a few very frank passages about where the meat that's on people's plates comes from and I actually find that fascinating - if a bit repulsive. My thinking is that if you are going to eat the stuff, you do need to know where it comes from, and if that offends some readers, well... fuck 'em. They can read something else if they want: I personally loved your thoughts about the dietary habits of North Americans and why a lot of them are silly at best, and hypocritically privileged at worse. I read your writing and it makes me want to pack a bag and just go to all the places I haven't been yet, to see how people live there, what they eat and if they'll be my friends. And don't worry about selling out to the Food Network: most of us are whores to a corporate overlord somewhere. You took their money and did exactly what you wanted with it, which is the best way of dealing with this. Your unflinching honesty and shamelessness has a disarming charm that makes me go completely gaga. Your appreciation for all the things (food, obviously, but people's hospitality, their traditions and their work) is so intense that it makes me feel like I've only lived half a life. Your fearlessness inspires me so much. Goodbye, Anthony. I would have tramped all over the world with you."

  2. 5 out of 5

    Leela

    After fourteen years of contented vegetarianism, it takes a lot to make me want to try roasted lamb testicles. I could almost stop writing here: the book is that good. Bourdain's attitude is part of his charm. I'm not sure I'd want to work in his kitchen, but he writes a damn good story. From one end of the earth to the other, he and his faithful camera crew take on whatever is local, exotic, beloved, and edible. Then he eats it. The way this man writes about food is incredible--last time someon After fourteen years of contented vegetarianism, it takes a lot to make me want to try roasted lamb testicles. I could almost stop writing here: the book is that good. Bourdain's attitude is part of his charm. I'm not sure I'd want to work in his kitchen, but he writes a damn good story. From one end of the earth to the other, he and his faithful camera crew take on whatever is local, exotic, beloved, and edible. Then he eats it. The way this man writes about food is incredible--last time someone made meat sound so good I was in Minneapolis and the local restaurant reviewer had my taste buds in a vice grip. This writing is not for the squeamish, not for the faint of heart. If you can't stand profanity, read something else. Bourdain pulls no punches, but that means he gives everything a fair shot. Read it. Enjoy it. Then go find a really good dinner.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Travis

    Now, I love Anthony Bourdain. He's basically full of shit and insane, but honest enough to be aware of it. He's smug, cynical, occasionally snobby and has all the tact of hammer to the forehead. At the same time he's very aware that he's stumbled into a job most people would kill for, he's getting paid to eat good food and travel anywhere he wants in the world. Someone is paying him to go live out his boyhood dreams and fantasies. He also loves going places, meeting people and food. He has a soft r Now, I love Anthony Bourdain. He's basically full of shit and insane, but honest enough to be aware of it. He's smug, cynical, occasionally snobby and has all the tact of hammer to the forehead. At the same time he's very aware that he's stumbled into a job most people would kill for, he's getting paid to eat good food and travel anywhere he wants in the world. Someone is paying him to go live out his boyhood dreams and fantasies. He also loves going places, meeting people and food. He has a soft romantic streak that keeps coming through to remind you all that New York City cynicism will fade the second you show him a breath taking view or a good meal He writes like he's sitting somewhere, with a drink in his hand, telling you a story. This book is basically food porn. Anthony goes places 90% of his readers will never get to, and eats food 90% of his readers will never be able to afford or eat. It only occasionally crosses paths with reality, but despite knowing that he makes you want to go to those places ( well, maybe not Cambodia) and eat those foods, even when they are way out of your price range or slightly disgusting sounding. He had me craving foods I generally don't even like. If that's not enough, the scene where he talks about his dad will cause you to tear up and how can you not love any author that references Tintin as one of the things that made him want to travel the world.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Patricia Pham

    Bourdain - a privileged, hypocritical, crude bastard - manages to write prose that is intriguing, funny, and surprisingly poetic. I began the book as a critic of Bourdain, having just read KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL, which I found to be shallow and boring at best, and also having watched his show NO RESERVATIONS, which often leaves a bad taste in my mouth for several reasons. Despite all this, there has always been something in Bourdain's writing that has kept me coming back. After reading this book, Bourdain - a privileged, hypocritical, crude bastard - manages to write prose that is intriguing, funny, and surprisingly poetic. I began the book as a critic of Bourdain, having just read KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL, which I found to be shallow and boring at best, and also having watched his show NO RESERVATIONS, which often leaves a bad taste in my mouth for several reasons. Despite all this, there has always been something in Bourdain's writing that has kept me coming back. After reading this book, I've been unwillingly converted. A COOK'S TOUR is actually about FOOD - where it comes from, our relationship to it, and what it reflects - all unfolding through a narrative of vivid, hilarious, and usually grotesque anecdotes. Bourdain's arrogance and self-righteous tirades are quelled by more substantial moments of sensitivity, humility, and romantic introspection. I laughed out loud a minimum of twice per chapter and, at times, was choking with overwhelming sadness. In the end, he might be unfairly frolicking around milking his celebrity, but Bourdain has and will continue to experience the entire world in ways most of us cannot. Again, a lucky asshole who writes a damn good story.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    Anthony Bourdain's second book has him traveling the globe looking for the "perfect" meal. Visiting locales like France, Portugal, Morocco, Japan, Cambodia and Vietnam, as well as a little bit of his home country, Bourdain's goal is to try true, authentic, fresh food and not be afraid to join in and eat like the locals. No matter what their speciality is. Lamb testicles in Morocco, the beating heart of a cobra in Vietnam, haggis in Scotland, nattō in Japan. He's willing (though sometimes underst Anthony Bourdain's second book has him traveling the globe looking for the "perfect" meal. Visiting locales like France, Portugal, Morocco, Japan, Cambodia and Vietnam, as well as a little bit of his home country, Bourdain's goal is to try true, authentic, fresh food and not be afraid to join in and eat like the locals. No matter what their speciality is. Lamb testicles in Morocco, the beating heart of a cobra in Vietnam, haggis in Scotland, nattō in Japan. He's willing (though sometimes understandably reluctant) to try it all and along the way discover that it might actually be good. Except nattō. That just looked disgusting. Told in vignettes each section focuses on one part of the location he is currently in. There are quite a few from Vietnam and even though they happened concurrently and interspersed throughout the book which can be a little odd to read. The journey he went on was also filmed by the Food Network for the show of the same name and I have that ready to watch to add another dimension to the story. From looking at the episode titles on that it seems that is just as mixed up but in a completely different order to the book. I've always been an adventurous eater, willing to try anything once, though I don't have a very wide or refined palate. That said I'd be willing to give his trip a try (minus part of the time in Cambodia where he visited a Khmer Rouge-ran city) and hopefully have my horizons expanded. One of Bourdain's beliefs is that nothing should be wasted and all the places he visits are cultures which also embrace that philosophy. Just because some people may be squeamish with things like offal doesn't mean it should be thrown away. The more that can be used out of one animal means the less total number of animals needed to feed people. And it can be quite tasty. Liver and kidney are both nice, though I'm not really a fan of brain, heart or tongue. One of my issues with the book is it didn't venture to enough places. He visited 5 European countries, 3 in Asia, 2 in the Americas and 1 in Africa. Maybe a little less time in Europe and some more elsewhere would have been good. But his current show, No Reservations, has taken care of that. I really liked Bourdain's attitude - self-deprecating, honest, harsh but always respectful of other cultures and willing to give things a try. And also passionate about the eradication of vegans. A great book I look forward to watching the show and then probably grabbing his next book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    RandomAnthony

    Kim says I have a man crush on Anthony Bourdain. So what’s a man crush? My favorite urban dictionary definition of the term reads: Respect, admiration and idolization of another man. Non-sexual. Celebrities, athletes and rock stars are often the object of the man crush. Let’s see. Do I have a man crush on Anthony Bourdain by that definition? Let’s frame the question around my recent reading of A Cook’s Tour. This is Bourdain’s second, book, after Kitchen Confidential. The title is a “double dip”, a Kim says I have a man crush on Anthony Bourdain. So what’s a man crush? My favorite urban dictionary definition of the term reads: Respect, admiration and idolization of another man. Non-sexual. Celebrities, athletes and rock stars are often the object of the man crush. Let’s see. Do I have a man crush on Anthony Bourdain by that definition? Let’s frame the question around my recent reading of A Cook’s Tour. This is Bourdain’s second, book, after Kitchen Confidential. The title is a “double dip”, a technique Bourdain has utilized throughout his career, in which he mines the same experience for both a book and television series. In this case the frame is Bourdain’s search for a perfect meal. However, the “perfect meal” question turns out to be of minimal importance to the narrative, which has the author traveling across the globe, sampling local cuisine and riffing on his responses to the people and culture. Bourdain’s strengths are myriad. First, he’s not some dumbass showing up in Morocco or Paris, trying a snail, and saying, “this tastes good.” He knows his food and he knows it well. The San Francisco chapter, including a visit to Keller’s French Laundry, shows off the author’s encyclopedic food knowledge. Second, he treats the people and cultures he encounters with great respect. Bourdain values consistency and hard work and seems equally awed by both the best chefs in the world and the Bedouin riders that get him high on a desert night. Third, he seems like the kind of guy who doesn’t take himself too seriously but takes his work very seriously. While he’ll mock himself silly for his corporate whoredom to the Food Network pimp, you can tell he doesn’t want to write a crappy book or make a lame episode (although in his own estimation he’s done both). Finally, he writes and talks about food and traveling like a crime fiction fan with a couple of his own crime novels under his belt. All of which is true. He notices the guy who brings the salsa and wonders what he does after work. In some ways I don’t want to like Anthony Bourdain. I’m a vegetarian, in his eyes a sworn enemy (his shredding of a Californian vegetarian potluck is priceless). He never shuts the hell up about New York, and I’m from Chicago. If I saw him on the street I wouldn’t approach him, because I would feel like an asshole and, while he would probably try to be civil, from what I can tell he’s just want to get the hell away from anyone who ever wanted to talk with him about his books. I admire that. If he wanted to bask in fans’ attention I doubt I’d be a fan. But do I have a man crush? Two out of three. I respect and admire Bourdain, but I don’t idolize him. I don’t want to be him. I love his books, and I can’t think of a better show to which to work out than No Reservations. A Cook’s Tour reads like a murderless noir novel where the characters eat a lot and taunt the cameramen. And I like that idea. Bourdain is an original; there’s no one like him, and imitators, well, they sound stupid when they try to sound like Bourdain. So sorry, Kim, no man crush. But I’m reading Twilight next, and there’s always Edward…

  7. 5 out of 5

    MacK

    Goals for my life: 1) Write better 2) Cook better 3) Travel more Redefined goal for life: BE LIKE ANTHONY BOURDAIN. I've listened through this book twice now, and I've loved it both times. In every case there's a new discovery to be had, a new element to enjoy, a new allusion to catch. Bourdain's voice doing the narration, a comforting mix of professor with a smoking habit and friendly guy at the bar, is perfect--naturally because it's his voice reading his words. The meandering journeys through Asia, Goals for my life: 1) Write better 2) Cook better 3) Travel more Redefined goal for life: BE LIKE ANTHONY BOURDAIN. I've listened through this book twice now, and I've loved it both times. In every case there's a new discovery to be had, a new element to enjoy, a new allusion to catch. Bourdain's voice doing the narration, a comforting mix of professor with a smoking habit and friendly guy at the bar, is perfect--naturally because it's his voice reading his words. The meandering journeys through Asia, Europe and Latin America encourage wanderlust in even the most entrenched home bodies. The accounts of food and meals will give you hunger pains even if you're full to the brim on grandma's beef stroganoff. The wit and wisdom and unedited work of America's foremost connoisseur of all things international makes this book a most read for anyone, everyone who enjoys literature, food or travel--which should be (one, two, thre---all of you)

  8. 5 out of 5

    Karen Foster

    Book Club Read.... Loved this travel memoir so much.... Anthony Bourdain's writing captures a precarious balance of cynicism and true wonder that's very hard to achieve. His genuine passion for good food and good people leaps off the page, as he revels in the simplicities of tradition and family in the places he explores. My mouth watered, my feet itched and I laughed my arse off. This book really spoke my language... Off now to binge watch the accompanying tv show, now streaming on Hulu...and c Book Club Read.... Loved this travel memoir so much.... Anthony Bourdain's writing captures a precarious balance of cynicism and true wonder that's very hard to achieve. His genuine passion for good food and good people leaps off the page, as he revels in the simplicities of tradition and family in the places he explores. My mouth watered, my feet itched and I laughed my arse off. This book really spoke my language... Off now to binge watch the accompanying tv show, now streaming on Hulu...and crush on him just a little ;)

  9. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    I enjoyed this a lot more than Kitchen Confidential, primarily because Anthony Bourdain allows himself to fade into the background in several chapters of the book. I loved his descriptions of meals across the world, and almost every single chapter made me hungry and/or made me laugh out loud. There's a pig roast in Portugal, a market in Vietnam, taco stands in Oaxaca, vodka-soaked dinners in Russia and sake-soaked dinners in Japan. Bourdain has a true gift for writing about food and about meals. I enjoyed this a lot more than Kitchen Confidential, primarily because Anthony Bourdain allows himself to fade into the background in several chapters of the book. I loved his descriptions of meals across the world, and almost every single chapter made me hungry and/or made me laugh out loud. There's a pig roast in Portugal, a market in Vietnam, taco stands in Oaxaca, vodka-soaked dinners in Russia and sake-soaked dinners in Japan. Bourdain has a true gift for writing about food and about meals. This book is about the search for the perfect meal, but he makes sure to qualify that - the perfect meal is "very rarely the most sophisticated," because "context and memory play powerful roles in all the truly great meals in one's life." This is absolutely true, at least for me. The thought of venison sausage brings me back immediately to the Texas hill country in the early 2000s, and there's probably nothing better (or less authentic) than my mom's spaghetti. The adventure in this book is less about the search for the perfect meal, and more about reading other cultures through his culinary explorations. The chapters that I enjoyed the most were the most contained and conveyed an absolute sense of place through the meals (Basque, Morocco, Russia, and Portugal). I found the structure of the book a little odd, as well as the choice of locations. Bourdain has three separate chapters about Vietnam. I could certainly read about Vietnamese food forever, but because the chapters are split up through the book I was continually surprised by each return. There's also, rather shockingly, a chapter set in Cambodia, where he pays locals to take him to a Khmer Rouge stronghold. The history lesson on Cambodia is useful, but I found the entire idea that Bourdain would drag (1) his crew and (2) a bunch of local Cambodians to Pailin to be so distasteful that it soured the second part of the book for me. Bourdain repeats a couple of times that he wants to have Adventures, potentially in the style of a Joseph Conrad villain (!); he also mentions that his TV producer gently suggests that he look at a map before he goes to a country. This is certainly an honest representation of why he's choosing to travel, but it veers into a reckless arrogance that I don't particularly like. Bourdain also spends part of an entire chapter defending Gordon Ramsay for being crass and confrontational in his kitchen (I wonder why Anthony Bourdain would do that?), and writes a chapter about San Francisco that seems to be specifically targeted towards demeaning vegetarians. It's certainly possible to go to San Francisco after visiting Cambodia and feel that Americans are lucky to have accessible meat, at all, but Bourdain's attitude towards vegetarianism is so antagonistic and puzzling. If kids in Cambodia are starving, should everyone around the world say, "You're right! We should be consuming as much factory-farmed meat as possible, because that's an authentic expression of our cuisine?" There's a world of difference between Bourdain's elevation of the Portuguese pig farm slaughter and his cursory few sentences about the bland and fattening mass-produced food of the Midwest. Are we all supposed to ignore climate change until we've solved world peace? If he didn't want to go to a vegan restaurant in Berkeley, couldn't he have decided to visit India, or Israel, or Ethiopia? You don't have to be popping entire roasted birds in your mouth in Vietnam in order to experience the world's cuisine. Anyway, I liked this a lot, and Bourdain is a gifted writer. But I'm still puzzled by his position as an elder statesman of American food culture. I don't think I particularly like him.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Richard

    I can't figure what holds me back about his book. I love Anthony Bourdain's attitude about food and his philosophy about what makes a great meal. I love his desire for absolutely fresh food, right off the bleeding stick or never touching a refrigerator, and I admire the distinctions he makes about how food looks and how it tastes--my wife is one who cannot get over the appearance of food and lets it affect her enjoyment of it, while I don't care how food looks, but simply want good-tasting stuff I can't figure what holds me back about his book. I love Anthony Bourdain's attitude about food and his philosophy about what makes a great meal. I love his desire for absolutely fresh food, right off the bleeding stick or never touching a refrigerator, and I admire the distinctions he makes about how food looks and how it tastes--my wife is one who cannot get over the appearance of food and lets it affect her enjoyment of it, while I don't care how food looks, but simply want good-tasting stuff. I love Bourdain's sense of experimentalism, his willingness to try live cobra heart, and his sense of adventure, how he searches out a fugu chef (who knows how to properly prepare poisonous blowfish), and my wife is now relieved that I take Bourdain at his word that the stuff doesn't really have much flavor and wasn't quite worth all the excitement. The concept of this book is fantastic--Anthony Bourdain travels to Vietnam, Japan, Cambodia, Portugal, Russia and other fine spots for the adventure of eating. And we're not just talking about the food itself--Bourdain wants the whole experience of food, from the killing of the livestock to the last shot of vodka before heading out into the night. He understands that food comes from a place and people, and he wants to know both as intimately as he can to get a true sense of what the food is about. It is a brilliant gesture in a category of writing that I find all too sterile, a style of writing often taken over by self-professed food gurus sitting in palaces removed from the real cooks and snubbing their noses at true cuisine while only praising what is served in delicate portions in a fine atmosphere. That Bourdain continually bashes Food Network stars is wonderfully brilliant and it makes me trust the man implicitely--were he to serve me brains wrapped in pig cheek and smothered with mayonnaise, I would gladly eat it if he told me it would be some good stuff. But for whatever reason, I found this book as a whole not so engaging to read, and I can only attribute that to the writing itself. I don't know if this books suffers from Bourdain's inexperience at writing, or if this simply has been edited to death to remove a lot of life from the prose. I would love to praise this book as one of the best that has ever crossed my path, for the content itself is comforting in that it expresses the heart of a true food lover, one I will probably emulate for years to come, but as a book itself, I must say that I skipped over passages that I found highly tedious to read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Obsidian

    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 a 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).

  12. 4 out of 5

    Leftbanker

    I read this in the wake of my lament on hearing of the author’s death. His posthumously aired episode on Berlin on CNN was something of a minor masterpiece and makes me want to pack up and mover there. His short chapter on Gordon Ramsey totally turned my opinion around about that guy, at least until I see him again on TV. Part of Bourdain’s shtick is to bust on all things vegetarian, but his screed in this book is sort of childish and lacks something that is infused in almost everything he writes I read this in the wake of my lament on hearing of the author’s death. His posthumously aired episode on Berlin on CNN was something of a minor masterpiece and makes me want to pack up and mover there. His short chapter on Gordon Ramsey totally turned my opinion around about that guy, at least until I see him again on TV. Part of Bourdain’s shtick is to bust on all things vegetarian, but his screed in this book is sort of childish and lacks something that is infused in almost everything he writes: humor. I just think that going through life without ever eating meat is dumb. I always mention goiters in my argument, a horrible condition brought on because of the lack of just a trace amount of iodine in the diet. What could people who avoid animal products be missing? All of their former arguments in favor of never eating meat have mostly been invalidated. It just seems stupid and random to say that you don't eat this of that. I could probably survive if I ate less pork, but to swear off this delicious animal for a lifetime is simply a profound error. It smacks of religious fanaticism, and everyone hates religion, right? Most vegetarians are suffering from an eating disorder. It's a way to control what you eat, which is pretty much the definition of an eating disorder.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Eiseman-Renyard

    He's Still Got It - and Now He's On the Road If you loved Kitchen Confidential Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, then imagine all that again, with some incredible travel writing (ie even more exotic delicacies, and the occasional threat of death) chucked in for good measure. Also wonderful are the behind the scenes story about filming Bourdain's show (Reasons You Don't Want to Work in Television, sections 1, 2 and 3) There's something magical and infectious about letting someone, anyone, ta He's Still Got It - and Now He's On the Road If you loved Kitchen Confidential Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, then imagine all that again, with some incredible travel writing (ie even more exotic delicacies, and the occasional threat of death) chucked in for good measure. Also wonderful are the behind the scenes story about filming Bourdain's show (Reasons You Don't Want to Work in Television, sections 1, 2 and 3) There's something magical and infectious about letting someone, anyone, talk about what they love - and when they're as smart, funny and talented as Bourdain you have gold. The only reason it doesn't have the full five stars from me is that (unsurprisingly) there isn't really a sense of overall plot - it's a series some amazing travel/food articles. I devoured this book in a few days, and would recommend it to just about anyone with a sense of humour, a high shock threshold, and who likes their food. Even if (like me) you're a vegetarian, and therefore the butt of Bourdain's every joke.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rob

    Although he occasionally comes across as a Jeremy Clarkson of food, all bombastic arrogance and impatient with anything that infringes his right to do what he likes, I am rather fond of eating, so Anthony Bourdain's pesrpctive is one I largely share, even if his playful likening of vegetarians to the hezbollah is something of a one angled view. In particular, he has no time at all for the lily-livered, western-centric tendency towards fussiness - if it's there to be guzzled, be it the still beati Although he occasionally comes across as a Jeremy Clarkson of food, all bombastic arrogance and impatient with anything that infringes his right to do what he likes, I am rather fond of eating, so Anthony Bourdain's pesrpctive is one I largely share, even if his playful likening of vegetarians to the hezbollah is something of a one angled view. In particular, he has no time at all for the lily-livered, western-centric tendency towards fussiness - if it's there to be guzzled, be it the still beating heart of a cobra, haggis, bone marrow on toast or the bile of a snake, he'll be up for it (although he draws the line at iguana and bird's nest soup). This tour of the world's nourishment stops is never less than entertaining - with particularly good coverage of South East Asia (Vietnam and Cambodia in particular). Also good are the English and Scottish sections with deep fried mars bars consumed north of the border and Fergus Henderson's magnificent St. John restaurant in London rightly lauded. Many have followed Bourdain down the path of food tourism since but few have done so with more gusto.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Jr.

    As someone who grew up poor, ate cheap, salty stuff out of boxes and cans (powdered milk was a staple of my childhood), and never traveled, I'm a culinary dilettante at best and likely always will be. Much of the insider foodie stuff is over my head if not interesting and often fascinating. But like all quest narratives, Bourdain's--under the guise of a quest for the elusive "perfect meal"--is a quest for identity. And the guy can write. At his best, he's as good as any of the too-many memoirist As someone who grew up poor, ate cheap, salty stuff out of boxes and cans (powdered milk was a staple of my childhood), and never traveled, I'm a culinary dilettante at best and likely always will be. Much of the insider foodie stuff is over my head if not interesting and often fascinating. But like all quest narratives, Bourdain's--under the guise of a quest for the elusive "perfect meal"--is a quest for identity. And the guy can write. At his best, he's as good as any of the too-many memoirists out there and better than most. I'm about half-way through the book and really enjoying it. ...AAAAAND it held up very well indeed. #finished

  16. 5 out of 5

    Havvy

    Anthony Bourdain passed away this past week. In many ways, his manner of death was shocking -- and in some ways it wasn't. I've been following Bourdain for years, introduced to me (as mentioned in a prior review of Kitchen Confidential) by a chef-boyfriend of mine, though I have no ties to food myself. Not even as a home cook. Not even as someone who can call themselves a foodie. But Bourdain has a way of touching you whether food is your thing or not because his focus always went past the food: Anthony Bourdain passed away this past week. In many ways, his manner of death was shocking -- and in some ways it wasn't. I've been following Bourdain for years, introduced to me (as mentioned in a prior review of Kitchen Confidential) by a chef-boyfriend of mine, though I have no ties to food myself. Not even as a home cook. Not even as someone who can call themselves a foodie. But Bourdain has a way of touching you whether food is your thing or not because his focus always went past the food: to the people making it, the people eating it; always the people. I started (re)reading A Cook's Tour several weeks ago, unsure of whether I had read it before or not. I had, and as a result I let it sit on my bedside table untouched until I heard of Bourdain's passing. It struck a chord with me, a sense of melancholy that I realized I'd experienced before, delivered by Bourdain himself. Sometimes it's all too easy to look at a life ended of one's own volition and ask "why?" Certainly when that individual is a celebrity and appears to have it all. For Anthony Bourdain, he was living a life few of us could dream of achieving and it can make it all the more difficult for those struggling to hear that people we feel are more successful than us, living a better or more leisurely or more exciting life than us can find reason to end those better, more leisurely, more exciting lives. "If they can't make peace with their demons while sipping mojitos on the beach, how can I be expected to?" is an easy question to find oneself asking. But there's always more going on. Below are two quotations that helped remind me of this as I reread A Cook's Tour. "But it still wasn't happening for me. It's not that I wasn't happy. It was great to sit a table in France again, to look up from my food and see my brother again, to watch him unrestrainedly enjoying himself, bathing in the normalcy, the niceness of it all. Compared to most of my adventures, this was laudable. Gentle. Sentimental. No one to get hurt. Waste, disappointment, excess, the usual earmarks of most of my previous enterprises, were, for once, totally missing from the picture. Why was I not having the time of my life? I began to feel damaged. Broken. As if some essential organ - my heart perhaps - had shriveled and died along with all those dead clumps of brain cells and lung, my body and soul like some big white elephant of an Atlantic City hotel, closed down wing by wing until only the lobby and facade remained." "Like everything I'd eaten, it was wonderful. But I felt pulled in twelve directions at once. I was not happy with being the globe-trotting television shill. I had been cold - and away from home for far too long. I yearned for the comfort and security of my own walled city, my kitchen back at Les Halles, a belief system I understood and could endorse with no reservation. Sitting next to these two nice people and their kids, I felt like some news anchor with a pompadour, one of the many glassy-eyed media people whom I'd flogged my book with around the United States. 'So, Anthony, tell us why we should never order fish on Monday.' My spirits were dropping into a deep dark hole." Thanks, Tony. You'll be missed, but you brought something truly important to the world during your time in it, something most of us will only aspire to.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Charlie Bray

    Vividly captures the cuisine and soul of each place he stops. Almost more of a survey of humanity than of food.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ed

    I am an enthusiastic fan of Bourdain's CNN series, "Parts Unknown". I also liked his Food Channel series, "No Reservations" even though the production values weren't as good as they are on CNN. This book is a narrative of his search for the perfect meal with the Food Channel folks tagging along. I don't think it a spoiler to say the search was both successful and unsuccessful. To understand why this is so, the reader needs to get to the last few pages of the book. The biggest surprise for me was t I am an enthusiastic fan of Bourdain's CNN series, "Parts Unknown". I also liked his Food Channel series, "No Reservations" even though the production values weren't as good as they are on CNN. This book is a narrative of his search for the perfect meal with the Food Channel folks tagging along. I don't think it a spoiler to say the search was both successful and unsuccessful. To understand why this is so, the reader needs to get to the last few pages of the book. The biggest surprise for me was that his writing imitates his speaking in the programs: same tongue-in-cheek, self deprecating sense of humor with great analogies and complete descriptions of both places and people. He is unafraid to trash those things he sees as trashy and extravagantly praise those things he sees as worthy of extravagant praise not unlike his TV persona. It helps that I share his admiration for the Vietnamese people, his ambivalence towards Tokyo and San Francisco, his disdain for what's happened to the American palate, and many, many other opinions, he's only to happy to share both in his writing and on his TV shows. It is unusual for me to describe a non-fiction collection of essays such as this using terms like, "I couldn't put it down". I finished the book in less than 3 days, in spite of my obsession with Football. The book was published in 2001 and in spite of its age is relevant and real. I plan to read all of Bourdain's books and am happy I started with this one.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Pat

    I'm an unabashed Tony Bourdain fan, love his brain and P.o.V on just about everything (although there are things the man eats that I would NEVER, in a million years, even if I was starving to death, put in my mouth) and Cook's Tour is, I think his first book (or an early on in any case). It chronicles the beginning of Tony's running-around-the-world-eating-cool-stuff adventures, and most of the book is broken down into short sections by place, i.e. this five pages is about Vietnam, this really h I'm an unabashed Tony Bourdain fan, love his brain and P.o.V on just about everything (although there are things the man eats that I would NEVER, in a million years, even if I was starving to death, put in my mouth) and Cook's Tour is, I think his first book (or an early on in any case). It chronicles the beginning of Tony's running-around-the-world-eating-cool-stuff adventures, and most of the book is broken down into short sections by place, i.e. this five pages is about Vietnam, this really horrific six pages is Cambodia (note: YOU DO NOT WANT TO VISIT CAMBODIA. EVER.), this section is San Francisco. Anthony Bourdain is one of those guys where you either love his shtick or you don't, but if you haven't read something by him or seen one of his shows, well, if that little cave on the side of the mountain has TV you should check him out. He's witty, reasonably fearless, and he knows that deep down he's an a$$hole, which keeps him from becoming too pompous. A great fascinating read that makes me want to learn how to cook so many of the things he eats while traveling the world. Warning: This book does not make good bedtime reading. This book will make you get up at midnight or two A.M. and go raid the fridge, wishing that peanut butter and jelly sandwich was actually fresh Vietnamese pho or slow-cooked pork belly or whatever else Tony just ate. A must-read, even if you're not of the foodie type.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Terri

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book to begin with, where Bourdain opens on the philosophy that the very best meals in one's life are largely dependent on context more so than the food itself. On his quest to find 'the perfect meal', I loved his food adventure stories as explored through this lens. I think this element kind of dropped off throughout the book, though, with a few chapters feeling almost like forced inclusions based on the TV show itinerary. That said, the behind-the-scenes insights into I thoroughly enjoyed this book to begin with, where Bourdain opens on the philosophy that the very best meals in one's life are largely dependent on context more so than the food itself. On his quest to find 'the perfect meal', I loved his food adventure stories as explored through this lens. I think this element kind of dropped off throughout the book, though, with a few chapters feeling almost like forced inclusions based on the TV show itinerary. That said, the behind-the-scenes insights into the filming of Bourdain's first TV show were very interesting, though the written presence of the TV crew felt a little inconstant - I often found myself thinking, "But where did the TV crew go? How are they reacting to this?" His writing is rich and honest, and his expertise as a cook adds so much to the story - but by the end, I'll admit Bourdain had gotten well on my nerves. Honestly, if he complained one more time about smoking restrictions I was going to hurl the book out the window. In that same way that, whilst I love watching No Reservations, I always find that I can never sit through more than a few episodes in a short while - for me, I think he's perhaps just a guy best taken in small doses.

  21. 4 out of 5

    La Petite Américaine

    When I picked up this book on my most recent trip to the States, I thought I'd randomly found a charming new read at the bookstore. I had no idea that the author was already famous, that I'd actually eaten in his restaurant in New York several times when I was living there, and have actually caught some of his shows on the Travel Channel. That said, Anthony Bourdain gets paid to travel around the world eating, getting drunk, and writing about his experiences. Lucky, lucky, lucky bastard. He has m When I picked up this book on my most recent trip to the States, I thought I'd randomly found a charming new read at the bookstore. I had no idea that the author was already famous, that I'd actually eaten in his restaurant in New York several times when I was living there, and have actually caught some of his shows on the Travel Channel. That said, Anthony Bourdain gets paid to travel around the world eating, getting drunk, and writing about his experiences. Lucky, lucky, lucky bastard. He has my dream job. Nice book. I like the stories of his travels, the crazy food he has the balls to eat (the still-beating heart of a cobra, tree grubs, etc.), his descriptions of killing animals to eat are eloquent and touching, and his rants about vegetarianism, obesity, etc. are dead-on. He's charming, honest, funny, simple, and able to connect with the reader on a variety of levels. Liked it.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Dear Anthony Bourdain. I do not know who you are, and since picking up this book I have no interest in finding out any more about you either. You are a pompous, whiny, brat who spends 260 pages taking the attention off some truly incredible places and foods and onto yourself. I cannot put into words how much I dislike you moaning so profusely about a TV show you signed up for, and who funded your travels around the world. Thankfully there is a small amount of the book which is well written. You al Dear Anthony Bourdain. I do not know who you are, and since picking up this book I have no interest in finding out any more about you either. You are a pompous, whiny, brat who spends 260 pages taking the attention off some truly incredible places and foods and onto yourself. I cannot put into words how much I dislike you moaning so profusely about a TV show you signed up for, and who funded your travels around the world. Thankfully there is a small amount of the book which is well written. You also raise some pertinent issues about the consumer knowing where their food comes from. Sadly you destroy any credibility you have for me by grousing so frequently. No one cares about how few places there are to smoke in an airport apart from you. Chris (Not your brother.)

  23. 4 out of 5

    Robyn

    I expected to enjoy this much more than I did. Since I have watched No Reservations off and on for years, and watched some of A Cook's Tour years ago; and because I just finished Kitchen Confidential and liked it much more than I thought I would, I figured this book would be an automatic hit with me. Unfortunately, no. It was just ok. I did enjoy reading a chapter, then going to YouTube and watching the Cook's Tour episode that went along with it. I think I got a better sense of what was outside I expected to enjoy this much more than I did. Since I have watched No Reservations off and on for years, and watched some of A Cook's Tour years ago; and because I just finished Kitchen Confidential and liked it much more than I thought I would, I figured this book would be an automatic hit with me. Unfortunately, no. It was just ok. I did enjoy reading a chapter, then going to YouTube and watching the Cook's Tour episode that went along with it. I think I got a better sense of what was outside the lines of the book and on the editing room floor of the show by getting both than I would ever get from reading or watching alone. This book is Anthony Bourdain trying too hard to be what the first book led to him being perceived as. He works at being world-weary and a cynical bastard, and it comes across a little precious. The first book denigrated types of people, anonymous groups. This one is pointedly unkind to specific named individuals, probably because that was so encouraged during his first book tour by the interviewing media. Reading, it's very clear why Bourdain had to leave the Food Channel and continue with the Travel Channel. The "eating around the world" was just an excuse, a way to get someone else to bankroll his travel. There was no culinary reason to go to Cambodia, and he didn't even bother to pretend there was or to try to find one. Repeatedly it seemed to be a debauched vacation in which he was annoyed that the film crews continued to bring it back to a food focus instead of an afterthought. And really, it was embarrassing that he felt the need to buy drugs in Morocco. He couldn't stay sober for the meal that his hosts put so much time and effort into? I've had friends come to nice friendly dinners stoned, and while I don't care if they're smoking pot generally, it ruins the occasion. Them high and making everyone else uncomfortable. Structured strangely, the trips were presented as if they were one after another in the order they were listed, but small clues in the text make it clear that they weren't. His final trip to Vietnam (the last chapter), for example, mentions a conversation in which he tells a guide/translator that Philippe might be coming for a bit. This concerns the guide, who will have to deal with red tape for Philippe's presence. According to that sentence, the itinerary was: Saigon, Nha Trang, Can Tho, back to Saigon, all one trip. The book split up the Vietnam visit into 4+ separate chapters that acted like separate visits, in the order of Saigan, Can Tho, Nha Trang, back to Saigon. If the various worldwide destinations were going to be shuffled around, with vague indications that this was all one long trip instead of multiple excursions, then it would have made more sense to either arrange the chapters geographically or to find something that would lead from one to the next. As it was, the book was structured thus: Cambodian "Dear Nancy" letter, Vietnamese intro, Portugal, France, Vietnam, Spain, Russia, Morocco, Vietnam, Tokyo, Cambodia, England, Mexico, Vietnam, California, Scotland, Vietnam. Bourdain clearly lives under the misapprehension that his experience of America is the experience of America. I continuously found myself cringing and thinking "shit, I hope non-American friends who read this don't think he speaks for us!" Examples are page 10 in my copy (in which he recounts the nostalgia of food, but instead of making it his own food nostalgia, he lists things as if they are common American experiences--being a teenager in Paris with a Eurail pass who blew their money on hash, licking caviar off someone's nipple, hands smelling of crushed fireflies [what sort of child/teen crushes fireflies?! that's not a standard experience!], etc.), page 113 (in which he says we all have the cheap tourist tchotchkes and 'native handcrafts' to hold our stash), and page 258 (in which he says that there aren't wealthy Americans who can point to huge acreage of land with forests, streams, etc, and say that it's been in the family for generation upon generation. Come spend real time in the West, my friend. Many families here have owned huge swaths of land for more than 150 years. They came and homesteaded it, planted, and stayed. Wealthy Western landowners just don't generally discuss their riches and instead appear to be 'just workers'). There's a certain set of boomers who grew up surrounded by news of the Vietnam War, loved ones getting drafted, etc., who assumed they'd be going when they were old enough...but who turned 18 shortly after we left Vietnam and so never went. That group tends to have a fixation--of varying levels--with the country of Vietnam and what we did to it and its people. Bourdain is definitely one of these. He graduated high school in 1973 and did two year at Vassar before dropping out a few months after the Fall of Saigon. It seemed that practically all he could see or think about in his multiple chapters to Vietnam in this book was the war. He extrapolates the thoughts of Vietnamese children upon seeing him as "the Giant American Savage who once bombed and strafed the village..." and on the following page "I've got something to prove. We may have lost the war. We may have pointlessly bombed and mined and assassinated and defoliated before slinking away as if it were all a terrible misunderstanding--but goddamn it, we can still drink as good as these guys, right?" It was as if Bourdain was incapable of seeing Vietnam as a country that existed outside of Western imperialism, as if he'd read too much Graham Greene and not enough Vietnamese history pre-1941. It was embarrassing that he could only see this beautiful and rich country through the lens of past American Communism fears. Also, I'm sorry, but I CANNOT believe he thinks it's ok to use the word "Charlie" to describe the average Vietnamese, as far into the book as page 224. That is a derogatory term. If he used the word "gook" or "chink" people wouldn't just ignore it. Just, no. In the end I think this book would have been better with more advance planning. Either his editor needed to tell him to work out his Vietnam obsession with a separate book, or they needed to pare down the amount it appeared in this one into a) one chapter, or b) an opening chapter and a closing chapter. Not 5 separate sections. Either they needed a sensible travel plan, or a less random, more easily-explained reason to go from one location to the next. Oh! And one final note. I've long suspected that much of Bourdain's public persona is very carefully crafted to match what he and his handlers think the public wants from him, and that many of his "unbelievable" bad-boy comments on other chefs are honed for effect. To that thought I offer this comparison: On Paula Deen (years ago, before the diabetes debacle): "The worst, most dangerous person in America is clearly Paula Deen...she's proud of the fact that her food is fucking bad for you. I would think twice before telling an already obese nation that it is OK to eat food that is killing us." On Nigella Lawson: "while she may not look like too many cooks I know, she does seem to cook a lot of exuberantly cheesy, fatty, greasy stuff--not shying away from the butter and cream--which puts her on the side of the angels in my book. How many upper-crust widows do you know who say 'Fuck it! Let's eat what's good!' Not many. I like her."

  24. 5 out of 5

    mark

    If this book were cheesecake, it would weigh about 25 pounds. It was only 274 pages, but it read like it was 500. Part of what drove that is having seen so much of Bourdain on TV and being so familiar with his snark, his mannerisms, his catch-phases, his favorite haunts (that he revealed), and his close chef friends that every time one of them appeared in the book, the scene (or entire episode) was brought to mind. This book carries the weight of much of Bourdain's career along with it, but wond If this book were cheesecake, it would weigh about 25 pounds. It was only 274 pages, but it read like it was 500. Part of what drove that is having seen so much of Bourdain on TV and being so familiar with his snark, his mannerisms, his catch-phases, his favorite haunts (that he revealed), and his close chef friends that every time one of them appeared in the book, the scene (or entire episode) was brought to mind. This book carries the weight of much of Bourdain's career along with it, but wonderfully so. It's the double-duty tour guide that Bourdain didn't mean to write but made happen after the fact with his success, his lifestyle, and largely with Tony simply continuing to be Tony. This is not Bourdain at his best--that book was still down the road from this one; this is Bourdain approaching the crest of his run, propelled by the success of two novels and his hit "tell all" that he deftly parlayed into a TV show--and then soon another. There's a lot of well-written Bourdainian-insight as well as a couple places where there was evidence of more polish than shine. But style aside, it's Bourdain's story telling that is the compelling draw. His personal, sarcasm-laden perspective on all things food and people and places were his stock-in-trade and nearly every sentence in the book just drips with it. His joy, his what-the-hell attitude, even his constant complaining about what he's being "made" to put up with all the while he's swearing his eternal gratitude for being able to have the opportunity to do so, all combine into that intrinsic ability he had to make us feel a part of his journey. That his journey ended so prematurely, so unarguably sooner than it had to is sad. That he made it as far as his did in this world for as long as he could dealing with chronic depression while trying to do what he loved, in both ways that he loved and hated, says as much about him as his books or TV shows. He made it to every continent. I wouldn't be surprised if he visited half or more of the countries on the planet. He had more than a few unpleasant things to say about people whom he did not like (and does so a couple of times in this book, too), but he rarely said anything bad about the people in general, no matter where he went. He made friends everywhere, with anyone who was willing, and for someone who gave so much of him self to the people that he met, and in turn gave to his readers and viewers, I wonder if he didn't leave quite enough for himself in the end. To quote Tony, "we will never know". But I am so grateful that he let us come along for the ride.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Frances

    I will always cross-post Anthony Bourdain on my “social studies” shelf. His ability to so humbly enter a totally foreign culture and be impressed by how they are surviving and thriving and creating is unmatched. His ferocious intelligence is palpable on every page. He was our best ambassador so many places, and he will be so sorely missed. This was released just before or just after 9/11, and I am so curious. I wonder how his experience traveling changed after that.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Alex Pook

    Totally forgot I read this until Bourdain's sad passing on Saturday. Bit of a legend really. A Cook's Tour was a constant companion when I was myself travelling a decade or so ago. Dry humour combined with a punk sensibility and real passion for a sensorial and sensual life. I liked him immensely and will be rereading this soon.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Cissa

    I liked this book a lot better than I expected to, having encountered Bourdain a few times on TV and when reading interviews. I am not fond of enfants terribile in general, and Bourdain is old enough that it's an increasingly pathetic approach as his hair grays and his face wrinkles. Fortunately, his writing in this book shows little of this aspect of him directly, and his writing is engaging. This book tracks a year of his life, as he travels around the world looking for both trouble and the "pe I liked this book a lot better than I expected to, having encountered Bourdain a few times on TV and when reading interviews. I am not fond of enfants terribile in general, and Bourdain is old enough that it's an increasingly pathetic approach as his hair grays and his face wrinkles. Fortunately, his writing in this book shows little of this aspect of him directly, and his writing is engaging. This book tracks a year of his life, as he travels around the world looking for both trouble and the "perfect meal", with mixed success. Both the failures and the successes made interesting anecdotes. I liked that the candidates for his "perfect meal" were all traditional for their cultures. So much modern food writing is very of-the-moment; Bourdain here is more interested in foods and food ways that have stood the test of time. I do wish there had been rather more detail about the foods and food ways he encountered, especially at the expense of some of his repeated tales of overindulgence in booze, drugs, and trouble-seeking; the later held little charm for me. Still, I'm glad I read it. I'd read another book of Bourdain's... assuming I could, like this time, borrow it rather than paying for it.

  28. 5 out of 5

    tea_for_two

    I was hesitant about A Cook's Tour. I thought someone who was as self-professed a egomaniac as Bourdain would be insufferable to read about, and my suspicious were not eased when my little brother, who had read the book, waxed on about how much he loved Bourdain's pleasure-seeking hedonistic lifestyle. My brother, God love him, is kinda insufferable. I was, howerver, pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the book. Bourdain is an excellent writer. His prose is crisp and clear, and he does an I was hesitant about A Cook's Tour. I thought someone who was as self-professed a egomaniac as Bourdain would be insufferable to read about, and my suspicious were not eased when my little brother, who had read the book, waxed on about how much he loved Bourdain's pleasure-seeking hedonistic lifestyle. My brother, God love him, is kinda insufferable. I was, howerver, pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the book. Bourdain is an excellent writer. His prose is crisp and clear, and he does an admirable job describing the food he eats, a difficult task to convey to the reader how something so utterly foreign tastes. Most of all, Bourdain is respectful of the people he meets and the cultures he experiences (so long as they're not vegetarians). He seems to have a good sense of humor and a willingness to laugh at himself that goes a long way to offset the occasional bombastic behavior. My one caveat would be to not read A Cook's Tour when you're stuck on a bus for eight hour with nothing but a package of cashews to eat. I don't know if I've ever been so hungry.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mike Panic

    I'm a fan of Anthony Bourdain's books in audio format, I find the way he reads a really nice compliment to the book. Yesterday I knew I'd have a long day of driving and sure enough logged 430 miles. This book had been saved on my iPhone for a while in audio format and figured I'd listen to it all. If you're a loyal watcher of No Reservations you'll relate to many of the stories, as they are recaps of what happened on the show. There's also the typical rants about vegans, and some rather nice wor I'm a fan of Anthony Bourdain's books in audio format, I find the way he reads a really nice compliment to the book. Yesterday I knew I'd have a long day of driving and sure enough logged 430 miles. This book had been saved on my iPhone for a while in audio format and figured I'd listen to it all. If you're a loyal watcher of No Reservations you'll relate to many of the stories, as they are recaps of what happened on the show. There's also the typical rants about vegans, and some rather nice words about Gordon Ramsey and more than enough praise for Thomas Keller. There isn't anything breathtakingly new in the book, like I said, it's a recap of several of the better, more interesting and thought provoking episodes of No Reservations. It was a great filler for me while driving, and that's it. The 4 star instead of the 3 is because Tony Bourdain is a great story teller. While there are only so many adjectives that can truly describe food, or the experience of eating food, he manages to actually get a pretty amazing story conveyed with his typical sidebars.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Cat

    This was such a fun, surprisingly educational read. I found myself learning a lot about each country, a sort of tongue-in-cheek collection of anthropological vignettes (each chapter is a new country). Each line drips with sarcasm, arrogance and self-deprecation, a funny combination that embodies Bourdain well. Written very honestly (and crudely), I enjoyed seeing someone as seasoned and calloused as Bourdain explore the world with a genuine sense of wonder. I was impressed by the level of respec This was such a fun, surprisingly educational read. I found myself learning a lot about each country, a sort of tongue-in-cheek collection of anthropological vignettes (each chapter is a new country). Each line drips with sarcasm, arrogance and self-deprecation, a funny combination that embodies Bourdain well. Written very honestly (and crudely), I enjoyed seeing someone as seasoned and calloused as Bourdain explore the world with a genuine sense of wonder. I was impressed by the level of respect and humility he approaches each culture, person and dish he encounters. I laughed out loud at the absurd situations (made more absurd by his too-cool attitude mixed with the occasional celebrity tantrum), cringed at some of the grosser food moments, and salivated through the rest - his love for good food is unmistakable. I never knew it could be so poetic - it's as if in the moment his words run through my mind, they're mine and I suddenly understand the art of food (accompanied by a few more expletives than usual...)

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