Bourdain Takes “Medium Raw” on the Road

By Karen

Cats Working reader Morgan attended Anthony Bourdain’s reading from his new book, Medium Raw, on June 9 at Bookends in Ridgewood, NJ. She ran in to him in the hall before the event and renewed their acquaintance, which began last November at the Capital Food Fight in Washington, DC.

After his reading, when Tony signed Morgan’s copy of the book, she graciously asked him to make the Cats Working connection. Thanks, Morgan!

Morgan reports that the joint was absolutely packed. Filmiholic describes the same mob scene at Bourdain’s appearance in NYC the previous day when the book was released.

I came into possession of an autographed copy of the British edition myself (don’t ask), and the Brits seem to prefer their chefs more menacing. Check out the book jacket:

The back side has another photo of a more youthful, but equally creepy Tony.

Bourdain appeared on Rachel Maddow’s show on MSNBC last week and they talked only about the book, so the Tea Party should be tickled.

Here’s the promo video from his publisher, Ecco. What’s with the pointy hair?

Borders also did a promo video when he visited their headquarters in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on April 21.

Tony was also on the Today Show talking to Matt Lauer about the book. I Am A TV Junkie caught it. Click the link in his 3rd paragraph for the video.

Bourdain doesn’t usually blog between seasons of No Reservations, but he broke with tradition and put out a new post about his book tour.

If you’re reading the book, join our chapter-by-chapter discussion listed in the sidebar to the right under “Extras.”

And now, in the “Book Reviews are Like Assholes” Department (everybody’s got one)…

Here’s Time’s review of the book and an interview. They call Bourdain “the conscience of the culinary world.”

Time Out New York also reviewed the book and liked it, uh, not so much, saying…

“Though Bourdain shows that he is capable of writing breathtaking culinary travel pieces (see his rapid-fire descriptions of global delicacies) and can rip someone a new asshole in a much funnier way than most, the lazily constructed Medium Raw comes across like puke on a page.”

The Washington Post review was more positive…

“Still, it does seem paradoxical that Medium Raw is more like a bag of potato chips than a fine dining experience: Anyone who starts the book is liable to lose all control and simply gobble it right up. I certainly did.”

The Wall Street Journal sounded favorable, but didn’t deliver a clear verdict.

The A.V. Club blog reached this verdict

Ten years ago, Bourdain was a proud member of a strange, somewhat criminal outcast culture, and he produced a work that really didn’t need a follow-up. In the interim, he’s become a cultural icon, but his new book feels redundant, out of touch, and more than a little sad.”

Tony’s got a true fan in Gina Mallet at the National Post in Canada, who liked the book, and Bourdain himself, for her own reasons.

Good news!

No Reservations resumes with all-new episodes on Monday, July 5, on the Travel Channel.

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5 Responses to Bourdain Takes “Medium Raw” on the Road

  1. MorganLF says:

    Who’s the cream faced loon in the picture w/Boourdain? Once again, I took one for the team.

  2. catsworking says:

    Morgan, I think you look great. You’ve got good skin. And you got him to show a little tooth, so he wasn’t unhappy!

    If you remember anything interesting Bourdain might have said during his appearance, please share.

  3. MorganLF says:

    It was an attentive, diverse crowd, including a man from Istanbul who thanked Tony for the show he did there. When asked about the Greece show (that repeats ENDLESSLY),he said he felt he had not done the country justice, that the fixer was not that good and he’d like to take another crack at it, I agree that was not my favorite show.

    It was a hometown crowd, so there was some Jersey centric back and forth. Noting that Scripps now owns his network he said if Paula Dean fancies a Brazilian at 3AM he’s pretty much on a plane. I think waxing references have become the new “wart-hog rectum” go to.

    I asked him (cringingly) if he read blogs about himself and if he found them intrusive (!) He said his wife does, and said the Internet is a big wall where any one can write what they pretty much want. I got that some things annoy him, but he said getting in to a pissing contest with bloggers is a no win situation.

    Towards the end, when talking about what his daughter eats he said standard fare, but mentioned that when they were in France the week before he and his wife ordered a shell fish tower and he marveled at the fact that his 3 year old was happily gobbling down oysters and such. Spotting the lobster she hollered “Sebastian” (from the Little Mermaid) and dove on it. Loving it so much that the next day she wanted “Sebastian” for breakfast!

    He described a “best day” as hanging out in jammies watching the telly with his daughter then asked, “Is there anything better than baby smell?” Hmmm, no there isn’t.

    No matter what gets written about “changed” Tony I don’t buy it. Who says you can’t be caustic, witty and a good dude? I never once read anyone saying Tony was mean or behaved like a pompous douche. Encounters with him generally describe him as a fairly normal guy, albeit one with a few best sellers and a TV show.

    I ran into him on the way to the ladies room, he was just standing there chatting with the staff. I was a bit startled; want to know what I said? “Excuse me, where’s the can?” I believe that will be the title of MY autobiography.

  4. Adele says:

    Second attempt to comment (computer is swallowing things again). First of all, Morgan, with your fair skin and red hair you look positively PreRahpaelite, and Tony is grinning ever so slightly. I’m glad Tony didn’t like the Greece show much; I didn’t either, and it does seem that it repeats at least once a month. Ariane will certainly have a sophisticated palate when she grows up.

    Karen, the Brits do like more violent bookcovers, don’t they? “Elizabeth David written by Quentin Tarantino” seems a little over the top, but catchy. Is that picture of the young Tony on the back of KC? I loaned out my copy and never got it back, so I can’t do an immediate check.

  5. catsworking says:

    Morgan, good recap! Now all I can think about is a tower of shellfish and lobster.

    With the exception of his jabs at Rachael Ray and Sandra Lee, which I’m sure he views as an occupational hazard, I’ve never seen or read Bourdain be particularly unkind to women. (Of course, I haven’t gotten to page 255 of the book yet!) In fact, he has always struck me as rather chivalrous. Like even when he had pangs about deserting that drunk psycho-bitch in chapter 3. He owed her nothing, but prepaid her hotel room for a few nights.

    Adele, I only have the paperback version of KC and there is no photo on the back. Maybe it’s on the hardcover edition.

    I caught the last few minutes of the Greece episode just recently. I do like the last scenes where he’s on the beach being snarky about all the Greeks having their party. It’s such a beautiful place, I would be happy to see him go back.

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