Title: Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook
Author: Anthony Bourdain
Release Date: June 8, 2010
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir, Audiobook
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Medium Raw is a collection of Anthony Bourdain’s thoughts on disparate subjects such as the New York food industry, working for The Food Network, and his fellow chefs.
I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with Anthony Bourdain (needless to say, it’s one-sided. Clearly Tony Bourdain has no idea who I am.) I think he’s smart, funny, and incredibly entertaining. But on the other hand, he can be really mean and unpleasant, and has a tendency to insult things I like, such as The Food Network. Therefore, I approached his latest book, Medium Raw, with some trepidation – I was excited to read it, yet I hoped he had toned down the sarcasm and general meanness.
Luckily, that turned out to be the case. Medium Raw is not the Anthony Bourdain of Kitchen Confidential, but a wiser, gentler, somewhat chastened Anthony Bourdain. Don’t get me wrong – he still rants, going so far as to have a chapter about “heroes” and “villains” in the food industry (and let me tell you, he is not nice about the villains!) I appreciated that he discusses some of his prejudices and dislikes, and while I don’t necessarily agree with them, at least I know where he’s coming from now.
This book deals with incredibly varied topics, from Bourdain’s overseas eating adventures to the effects of the economic downturn on the New York food scene. And I have to say, I found most of the book fascinating. While I do enjoy food, I’m not much of a foodie. I don’t know a lot about the hippest restaurants in New York or the best chefs. But despite that, I didn’t get bored when Bourdain focused on David Chang for an entire chapter. Bourdain’s insights are always interesting and his commentary has a lot of merit. And if that weren’t enough, he’s really funny. He’s completely honest and self-deprecating, and I enjoyed it immensely.
I chose to listen to Medium Raw in audio rather than reading it in print, and I’m so glad I did! It’s narrated by Bourdain himself, and the way he does it, it makes it seem like he’s right next to you, giving you his personal commentary on chefs, restaurants, and food. He did an incredible job with the narration; I can’t say enough good things about it. The audio production runs around 9 hours long and is unabridged.
I thoroughly enjoyed Medium Raw and highly recommend it to anyone who’s a foodie or interested in being one. I didn’t agree with all of his opinions, but I very much enjoyed listening to them and absorbing what Anthony Bourdain had to say.