Time to Talk “Medium Raw”

By Karen

Anthony Bourdain’s new book, Medium Raw, hits bookstores tomorrow, and Cats Working is ready to pounce. As you read it, share your impressions in the discussion group through the link on the title bar.

During the wait, there’s been no scarcity of buzz. Village Voice reported on the state of Bourdain’s feud with restaurant critic Alan Richman, exacerbated by a chapter titled, “Alan Richman is a Douchebag.”

A NY Daily News columnist published more of Richman’s reaction, and contacted Tony in Paris while he was there filming a new No Res. Bourdain said “he would let ‘a jury of my women peers’ determine” if the word he used to sum up Richman is demeaning.

If you don’t plan to buy Raw right away, MSNBC published an excerpt where Bourdain reminisces about how he came to write and film A Cook’s Tour.

Tony told the Wall Street Journal what has made him mellower.

He discusses wrongness in depth with Slate, and rather touchingly describes the moment he decided to become a father.

Eater snagged a long phone interview right before Tony left for Paris. Remember when he said that when he reread the Raw manuscript, he was surprised by how mean it was? Apparently, he didn’t tone it down and he’s unapologetic. In part 2 of the interview, Tony reveals that he plans to make No Res less “food-centric.”

Personally, I predict that Raw will be his last book about food, and his literary focus will turn to fiction and travel writing.

The Australian got another phone interview while Tony was in Beirut. Of his writing talent, he was quoted as saying, “I was good with words in that I was a manipulative bastard and I used my skill with words to get into and out of trouble. And my writing was just an extension of that.”

Tony told the UK Telegraph that he’s not into taking pictures during his travels. Seeing the places is enough.

The verdicts on Raw are beginning to roll in…

Kansas City Star read and reviewed it and thought the collection of essays lacks cohesion, but they’re enjoyable anyway.

14 Responses to Time to Talk “Medium Raw”

  1. Zappa says:

    I have used that term myself to describe a certain kind of man.In the case of Alan Richman,it fits. I get it,Tony

    Zappa’s mom

  2. catsworking says:

    Zappa, I once read a biography of Rex Harrison that said it was his favorite word and he used it to describe just about everybody.

  3. Adele says:

    I really enjoyed the Eater and Slate interviews, as always, thanks for highlighting them.

    With regard to the douchebag debate, sometimes it just fits. After all, a douchebag just hangs around empty and limp most of the time, and if we are to believe most gynecologists, it’s an unnecessary piece of equipment.

    But I consider Morgan our resident expert on all things “douche,” so I hope she checks in on this.

  4. catsworking says:

    Adele, the word in question isn’t “douchebag.” It’s another one Bourdain uses, I think, at the end of the “Alan Richman is a Douchebag” chapter. I’ll know for sure later today when I got to buy my copy of the book.

  5. Adele says:

    Okay, now I have to get away from this computer and go out and buy the book.I’m now guessing that since it was a favorite of Rex Harrison’s the word might be four letters and begin with a “t” and end with a “t.’

  6. MorganLF says:

    Well it’s either the “c” or “t” word, either of which I find apt for that pompous douchebag Richman.

    Favorite douchebag moment: Early skit on SNL with Garret Morris as a powdered footman in the 1700’s announcing arriving guests at a gala Royal event:

    Footman:” THE EARL OF SANDWICH” and the Earl sweeps in, greets the host is offered refreshment and replies,” just a bit of bread and meat please.”

    Footman: “LORD & LADY DOUCHABAG” The host (Bill Murray) greets them and states:
    “Douchebag old man, I hear you’re working on a little invention, does Lady Douchebag have anything to do with it?
    Douchebag: “Anything to do with it? Why she positively inspired it!”

    I am toying with the idea of going tomorrow after work to the book signing in Ridgewood. Its just that I really don’t feature standing in line for hours. We’ll see, as a bonafide member or the Cats Working clan I feel it’s a duty.

  7. catsworking says:

    Adele, the word is 4 letters, and Charlotte York on SATC called it her “See You Next Tuesday.”

  8. catsworking says:

    A 9pm event on a “school night” would give me second thoughts as well, but if you’re up for it, go for it! Do you really think there will be a long line?

    Years ago, TWICE, I stood in line literally for “hours” at a downtown department store to get Erma Bombeck’s autograph. When Nicholas Sparks (a hack who keeps recycling the same plot, but a verifiable distant cousin of mine through my father, BTW, although Sparky refuses to acknowledge it) came to Borders several years ago, what he drew couldn’t be called a crowd.

  9. Nina says:

    Guess who’s coming to Tulsa on June 12? No, I’m not going unfortunately.

    The article mentioned Tony won’t be doing a No Res here at this time. I can’t imagine that he would anyway, Oklahoma being a mostly meat and potatoes type of place (or maybe that’s just up his alley).

  10. catsworking says:

    Hi, Nina! Too bad you won’t be getting to see Bourdain. If you get any scoop on how he’s received in Tulsa, we’d love to hear it.

    He’s all over the map this month. My unofficial calendar puts him in Pittsburgh on the 14th, and in CA on the 16th and for the next several days. I hope he’s stopping Sunday the 13th to rest, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

  11. rolodexter says:

    I’m no foodie, but even I know who Anthony Bourdain is. Of course, I know him as the guy that digs street foods all over the world, particular in Southeast Asia. But I would’ve never guessed he had something or anything to say about society writ large. He does, and he aligns himself in chapters like: The Rich Eat Differently…, Lower Education, etc. He writes well, and if you’re wondering if he writes a little “too well” (i.e. he has a ghost writer), he doesn’t; he used to write novels.

  12. catsworking says:

    Welcome, rolodexter! You won’t find a lot of foodies at Cats Working either, but we’re Bourdain followers.

    You should have heard him on Anderson Cooper’s 360 recently, talking about the Tea Partiers. He really had their knickers in a knot!

    Just FYI, he’s got a 3-book contract with this publisher, and Medium Raw is only the first one. The next one is supposed to be another novel, along the lines of the ones he’s written, and the third is supposed to be a memoir of his year in Vietnam, if he ever gets around to doing it.

    And you’re absolutely right, he does all his own writing, including, I’m pretty sure, all his voice-overs on No Res.

  13. Kristin says:

    I just listened to the audio version of Medium Raw and was looking forward to seeing everyone’s thoughts on the details… But the link to the discussion group leads to a “not found” error. Please advise if you have any good suggestions on where I can find this sort of discussion for the book.

  14. catsworking says:

    Welcome, Kristin! Sorry about the broken link. When Medium Raw was published, I set up a separate section for it where we discussed each chapter. I left it on the blog for a year or two, until it seemed to be irrelevant because it had long ceased getting comments. Then I deleted it. I don’t believe it survived anywhere else on the Internet, unless someone lifted portions and used them without my knowledge.

    Generally, we all loved the book. Unfortunately, the details are long gone.

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