Truth Alert: What Bourdain REALLY Said to Bloggers

By Karen

I was just watching a rerun of the live streaming video Anthony Bourdain shot in Boston last week and heard in context his advice to bloggers.

(If this link takes you to a bunch of clips, it’s the 18-minute one labeled Jan 5 12:44:13 PM, and his comment on blogs appears at about 16:30.)

Bourdain was widely quoted in the blogosphere as saying…

“Try being entertaining. Try being didactic. Stop being angry. If you’re an angry person with too many cats and a grudge against the New York Times, maybe you shouldn’t be blogging.”

…and the bloggers mangled it pretty bad. First, he was responding to specifically to a request for tips on food blogging. He did say to be entertaining, and also to have a sense of humor and a point of view, but to be non-didactic, and that it helps to like food.

And he freely acknowledged the irony of his telling anybody not to be angry.

So, even though he mentioned cats, in no way could it be construed as a dig at Cats Working. In fact, even though I’m not a food blogger (Freudian slip? I originally typed that as “food flogger”), I hope readers think we aspire to Bourdain’s ideal most of the time.

Just had to set the record straight so I can start his Kitchen Basics class at Sur La Table next week without a chip on my shoulder.

I return you now to Adele’s shredding of Sarah Palin.

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4 Responses to Truth Alert: What Bourdain REALLY Said to Bloggers

  1. A shout-out to you and your great Bourdain coverage today at my “other” blog – http://www.alltopchef.com/2011/01/tc-news-and-information-11211.html

  2. catsworking says:

    Welcome, Intuitive Eggplant! Love the name! Thanks for the mention on your blog. The Bourdain posts here took root in February 2008 when, out of idle curiosity, I posted some things that Bourdain Googlers apparently wanted to know. Now I think I can safely claim that Cats Working is the largest repository of Bourdainia in the blogosphere. I also believe the term “Bourdainiacs,” which describes his most rabid fans (which, for the record, I’m not — I’m astute, but not gaga), was also coined here, although Eater and Grub Street seem to get all the credit all the time for everything while Cats Working gets nary a mention.

    I was concerned by Tony’s apparent anti-cat comments on bloggers in Boston until I watched the live feed and saw that he was just shooting his mouth off, got badly misquoted, and was referring specifically to food blogs, which this isn’t. So all’s well.

  3. Happy to have found your repository of Bourdainia 🙂 Looks like you have some swell archive posts I’ll have to check out. I would describe myself as a Bourdain-o-phile rather than a Bourdainiac, and generally prefer my Tony with a grain of salt. In case you’re interested, here’s a piece I wrote last summer after seeing him: http://eggplanttogo.blogspot.com/2010/06/bourdain-live.html

    Best to you and the cats,
    eggy

  4. catsworking says:

    Eggy, thanks so much for that link to your recap of Boudain’s appearance in Cincinnati last June. I don’t remember ever seeing it before, and I’m wondering how I missed it. (If I did see it and I’m just going senile, there’s probably a link to it somewhere back in the archives.) That was one of the finest jobs I’ve seen of recapping one of Bourdain’s personal appearances. By the end, I felt like I’d been there.

    I met him face-to-face for the first time in February 2009 at an appearance in Durham, NC (it’s in the archives in 3 parts, if I recall). This was shortly after he startled the shit out of me by looking up my address and sending me a Christmas card — FEDEX. It’s only gotten stranger from there. I had another memorable encounter with him and his wife Ottavia in DC in November 2009. Also in the archives.

    I got interested in Tony as a traveler and a writer, and sometimes I wish he’d shut the fuck up about food. I didn’t realize he had a restaurant background for a while, because the first book I read was A Cook’s Tour, and I found it by accident. I’d only seen No Res and didn’t realize he also wrote.

    If you do dig through the archives here, you’ll find both good and bad. When he was in his “drifty” phase between marriages, I and my readers were pretty hard on him and his girlfriends.

    After all this time, and after all these words, I kind of think of myself as a cousin, or maybe even the big sister he never had (I’m 2 years older), who doesn’t hesitate to tell him, “Hey, Tony. Step away from the hair gel. It makes you look like you haven’t showered in a week.”

    But under all the ribbing is a deep respect and affection for the writer and the traveler — and the goof who managed to turn his life around by recognizing and snagging a good woman (Ottavia) when he really needed one.

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