Bourdain Wows Richmond

By Karen

Anthony Bourdain brought Guts & Glory to Richmond, Va., on April 23 and succeeded in — or came close to — filling the 3,565-seat Landmark Theater. They loved him.

But the custom for every live performance here is to start at least 15 minutes late. Then 15 minutes into Tony’s talk, stragglers were still groping their way over everyone to find their seats in the dark. And no sooner were they seated than they started clambering back out to visit the head or buy drinks.

In Richmond, a warm body on stage gets no more courtesy than a movie at the Regal Cinema.

Regardless, Bourdain was in top form. In faded jeans, an untucked shirt under a gray jacket, and those beige shoes we’ve seen him roam the world in, he commanded the stage with a bottle of Virginia’s Full Nelson beer and a clicker to show the photos and film clips that punctuated his talk.

He opened with his recent Paula Dean kerfuffle. After seeing a picture of Mario Batali kissing Dean, Tony concluded that “integrity is overrated” and he’s a hypocrite himself in many ways, so Tony proposed his own line of merchandise, including an Anthony Bourdain action figure that weirdly looks just like Eric Ripert.

The rest of his talk rested on the framework of what it takes to work with or for him. I won’t give away his outline, but you’ve seen all the principles on No Reservations.

As endearing and thoroughly entertaining as he was, he didn’t cover much new ground for me or regular Cats Working readers. He indulged in a few Lewis Black-like rages. He’s a bluntly passionate advocate for Americans to broaden their culinary horizons, which he sums up in two words…

Food matters.

He ripped into vegetarians and vegans by observing that their lifestyle is possible only in the developed world because we have so many options, compared to poor countries where people are meat-free involuntarily. So if they offer you a dish they rarely get to eat themselves, you’d be “rude” and “incurious” not to accept.

He said he doesn’t go to Russia often because he can’t keep up with, of all things, the drinking. In a typical day, he averages 30-40 vodka shots, beginning at breakfast.

His extensive travel has bred a life-changing sense of “moral relativism” in him, where he frequently gives a pass to people with differing world views he’d ordinarily have nothing to do with. As a result, he gets complaints from “Couch Rambos” who accuse him of not defending America.

He ended with some unabashed gushing about fatherhood and his daughter, especially her more sophisticated food choices.

The Q&A was brief and added nothing. His last answer included a somewhat embarrassed allusion to The Taste (without naming it), then he abruptly wrapped up and left the stage.

The VIP reception afterward (don’t ask) in the ballroom was packed. Tony got hustled past the buffet of gourmet hors d’oeuvres (tuna tartare, anyone?) to a table for the inevitable book-signing, and he probably cringed at the line of several hundred that snaked around the room. We only got a quick few seconds of face time. I brought his 2001 biography, Typhoid Mary, for an autograph, and I’m betting it was the only one of that title he signed all night.

I told him we think he’s doing good work with Parts Unknown, and he replied he’s very happy and it’s the best working arrangement he’s ever had.


Here’s his interview with Buffalo News where he talks about The Taste and future seasons of Mind of a Chef.

Correction: Marilyn Hagerty’s book under Tony’s imprint, Grand Forks, comes out August 27. I made the snide prediction that his name would be more prominent on the cover than hers, but I was wrong (and I really knew if he had anything to do with it, he’d never try to steal an old lady’s thunder). Bourdain calls the book an “antidote to snark.”

If you haven’t read Tony’s graphic novel, Get Jiro! yet, it’s out in paperback May 7.

He holds up well after a very long night.

He holds up well after a very long night.

69 Responses to Bourdain Wows Richmond

  1. adele says:

    Okay Karen, you look so young that if I allowed myself to be unsisterly, I’d hate you. Young and tiny.

    I’m getting excited about May 9 when I see Bourdain and Ripert.

    What were the questions like, and how much did AB talk about The Taste.

    Funny thing, if I’d been able to score VIP tickets, I was going to take Typhoid Mary and (maybe) Les Halles Cookbook. Tony must have gotten a kick out of seeing Typhoid Mary.

  2. Imabear says:

    Enjoyed reading about the evening. Thanks for the excellent post.

  3. catsworking says:

    Adele, I think he was just surprised to see Typhoid Mary. I’ve got all of his books (including the recent annotated KC), and asked myself, which one of these would become the rarest with his autograph? Well, Mary won, hands down. My sister said she had a hard time finding it for me (it’s in mint condition), so I know there aren’t a lot of them out there. Maybe one day it will get optioned for a movie starring — who?

    The Taste was NEVER mentioned until that last moment, and then obliquely. I’d stopped taking notes because the questions were dumb, but that one must have been about selling out, going commercial, something like that. None of the questions were rude or particularly insightful. One woman asked, as a former restaurant worker, how she could avoid losing her “personality” now working in corporate America. How would he know? He’s never held a desk job.

    Another one asked for a recipe she could tell her co-workers she’d made after seeing Bourdain, like he was doing a cooking show. He told her to make an omelet.

    Somebody else asked why the doll looked like Eric Ripert, so I wasn’t the only one who noticed. Tony said he thought it was a decommissioned GI Joe.

    I was comparing the picture from last night with the first one I had taken with him in Durham back in 2008 or 20009(??) Yes, I agree I do look younger from a distance, but I can tell you I’ve definitely got more wrinkles now because of the weight loss. It’s like my air’s been let out. But nothing beats the great feeling of being thin. I regret all the good years I lost getting and being fat.

    Tony, BTW, has a bit of a pot belly and carries it high. But when I watched him walk away across the room, he moved with a lightness and ease (particularly in the arms) that belied his age.

  4. Trisha says:

    “He ripped into vegetarians and vegans ”

    Uh oh, gimme room…

    Wow really? That’s so shocking. I mean after doing so in, what is it, 4 books now and about 86,000 interviews, I would never have anticipated that his ‘road show’ would be so bereft of new material. (eye roll).

    Seriously AB, get over it. Your argument against those who actually care about their health, animals and the environment is lame, tired and ignorant. Why when you’ve seen so much awfulness in the world would you choose to attack people who are not only hurting no one, but actually helping the environment and our overburdened healthcare system (if more people were vegetarian you’d see far fewer sick, fat Americans pushing health costs high). Why when there is real suffering do you choose as your cause celeb making sure that wealthy foody snobs have their diseased duck liver?

    Since most of the world does eat mostly vegetarian due to poverty or lack of access to meat (though for many it’s religion-based), it’s meat that’s a first world luxury. How many people in the world can pay others to do the dirty work for them, and purchse their animal parts shrink wrapped in the supermarket??

    And when you think about it, Bourdain’s “lifestyle” is only possible in the developed world, too. ‘Options’ like 5 star restaurants, tons of booze and great medical care are unheard of in many places. Lots of “options” are – like, gee running water and toilets, and women’s access to education. Are we to give up or look upon with disdain all these things because they’re impossible for most people?!

    I’ve traveled extensively and the number of times I’ve been offered free meat (or free food of any kind) is exactly.. wait for it… zero. Number of times I’ve dined in strangers’ homes who cooked me meat (or anything) while traveling, wow, amazingly also zero. I can’t imagine why – maybe it’s the number of TV shows I’ve been on and best sellers I’ve written and years I’ve spent as a famous ex-chef – wow, also zero. Seriously dude get some help for this tourette’s/OCD-like obsession that is based solely on prejudice, not logic or fact. Your daily “average 30-40 vodka shots, beginning at breakfast” is a lot sicker and more ‘first-world luxury’ than my vegetarianism.

    OK, rant over. Can someone print this and give it to AB next time they have face time? LOL

  5. Zappa's Mom says:

    What a great picture. You look amazing,Karen!

  6. Bacardi1 says:

    Wonderful report! Thanks Karen!

  7. catsworking says:

    Trisha, since Bourdain seems to keep his hand on the Internet’s pulse when it comes to stuff about himself, he may very well see your rant. And I have to say I agree with everything you say. But when he’s up there talking about it, he makes sense in his own way. But of course you’re right. He’s speaking from a very entitled position.

    I guess it was inevitable that he’d become incredibly jaded after so many years hob-nobbing with celebrity chefs and living the gastronomic good life, mostly on somebody else’s dime. Although he does eat junk, there’s a serious disconnect from us everyday Food Lion shoppers. For example, after ranting against vegetarians, he did say he feeds his daughter nothing but organics because he doesn’t want to see her hit puberty at age 7. How many people in the 99% can afford that?

    I can walk out of Fresh Market or Whole Foods after spending $30 and have a bag of stuff that fits in my purse.

    I’d put you in a ring with Bourdain to duke it out any day! Thanks for presenting the other side so eloquently.

  8. catsworking says:

    ZM, looking at myself every day, I don’t really see it, so it’s nice to hear that people “who knew me when” are seeing a big difference. I certainly feel different. Thanks!

  9. Bacardi1 says:

    By Adele:
    “I’m getting excited about May 9 when I see Bourdain and Ripert.”

    Adele – you’ll definitely enjoy yourself. I saw Bourdain and Ripert when they visited Charlottesville, VA, a couple of years ago, & it was a very enjoyable evening. Eric was just as entertaining as Tony.

  10. Imabear says:

    Karen – just saw this story on the LA Koreatown episode and the comments/complaints from Fox that CNN is using Tony’s “foul mouth to get ratings”.

  11. catsworking says:

    Oh, good, Imabear. I’m glad to see the ratings picked up quite a bit for 30%, as opposed to dropping like a stone as they did with The Taste.

    Bourdain has called out Fox because his publishing imprint and Fox News are both owned by the same parent company, so he says Fox is indirectly profiting from his potty mouth.

    Typical for Fox, who made the mistake of thinking Sarah Palin was a political commentator, to fixate on something as tangential as “bad words,” while ignoring all substance.

  12. MorganLF says:


    So what do we think of the smile? Remember your theory? Glad you scored VIP again. Same connections? As many times as I’ve seen Tony I always enjoy his spiel.

    I remember running into him at the NYC Food an Wine event with Ottavia (literally) and after the evenings chat he and all the other celbs were across the street in a park signing books. I looked at the line and in unison my buddy and I said Nah! Did you have to wait long?

    Man I just can’t get CNN on my radar. Gotta work on that.

  13. MorganLF says:

    Bye the way ,
    Trisha I loved your rant. Clean , saucy, and righteous! Only one thing wrong… Your a vegetarian, and in the world of food appreciation …soo limited. You never fancy a steak? That’s positively unamerican!

    I wish you a shower of lentils (which I adore as a side to my steak!

  14. chinagirl says:

    Well said Trisha!!! Karen, love the picture, but he has to grow that hair, it is making him look old!! Great summary of your evening. Keep up the good work.

  15. catsworking says:

    Morgan, yes, same connections. Right before the picture was taken, I asked Bourdain to “show some teeth,” but no dice. He wasn’t showing teeth for ANYBODY. I watched. Also, he asks that cameras no flash, which I can totally understand.

    I did have to wait in line quite a long time, and I was at the mid-point. I’d say he was probably sitting there until 11 or later. I was really hoping to get a chance to talk to him a bit, but it was impossible. He always looks kind of scared when he first sees me. What’s up with that?

    chinagirl, it looked like Tony had just had his hair cut because it was really short in the back.

    Guys, last night the UnFoodie tried making “collard chips.” Didn’t think to take pics until it was too late. I’ll buy another bunch of collards and try again. You will get a laugh. (Actually, they didn’t taste too bad, for weeds.)

  16. Zappa's Mom says:

    Groupon or Living Social or something like that had tickets at a deep discount for AB’s visit here DC Monday May 13. If I remember correctly,he will be appearing at DAR Constitution Hall,which is a great venue

  17. catsworking says:

    ZM, I don’t think the tickets here were discounted, and they were pricey. It was amazing that he managed to fill the Landmark Theater on a Tuesday night. He had a fair number of seniors turn out.

    At the beginning, he tried to tie Richmond in to the Paula Deen schtick with Southern cooking, but it didn’t really work. He obviously wasn’t comfortable with working that angle into the act, and since Paula’s not from Virginia, it wasn’t totally relevant. Richmonders also don’t seem to like being lumped in with the whole South because this was THE capital of the Confederacy. For example, any Gone with the Wind joke would fall pretty flat here because that was Georgia.

  18. Bacardi1 says:

    Catsworking says:
    “Guys, last night the UnFoodie tried making “collard chips.” Didn’t think to take pics until it was too late. I’ll buy another bunch of collards and try again. You will get a laugh. (Actually, they didn’t taste too bad, for weeds.)”

    I’ve never been much of a Collards fan, so you’ll never fine me making chips out of them. Kale chips, however? Delicious! Am also a HUGE fan of commercial seaweed “chips”/snacks.

    As for AB ticket prices, I don’t know what they are now, but when I went to see him a couple of years ago down in Charlottesville, VA, I believe I paid $54 each & we were only 4 or 5 rows in from the stage, so definitely excellent seats.

  19. catsworking says:

    Bacardi, I got the recipe out of the paper and it was only supposed to be 20 calories for the whole bunch. Those packaged snacks have so much fake stuff to make them taste good, they might as well be potato chips, WW points-wise. So I was trying to get the crunchy-salty effect without the junk.

    I know I paid $71 for my original ticket to AB, but that was after Ticketmaster heaped on the unconscionable surcharge. They’re worse than a bank with the exorbitant, useless fees. The VIP seats were going for $150+. They had people seated in the orchestra pit right in front of the stage, which might seem like the best seats, but you’d have to look straight up the whole time to see him.

  20. Bacardi1 says:

    Exactly! That’s why I was not going to spring for the VIP seats. I’m a frequent visitor to the Paramount Theatre in Charlottesville & know only too well that those supposedly “VIP” seats are too close to the stage to be really comfortable. We were quite happy with our seats, which were only 2-3 rows behind the “VIP” section.

  21. Bacardi1 says:

    Oh, & subbing Kale for Collards shouldn’t change the calorie count in your chips at all.

  22. MorganLF says:

    Nice to know our friend is still so cool. Ahem….I got some teeth. Lol just kidding.

  23. Trishia says:

    Thanks, Karen. I would guarantee my diet costs less than AB’s (even if we shopped in the same store) because meat is more expensive. Luckily I have a health store near my apt that is actually cheaper than Whole Foods for the same brands.

    ” in the world of food appreciation …soo limited. You never fancy a steak?”

    I get that about food appreciation but my problem with Bourdain is he takes it to hate level with reasons that make no sense. Let’s see him go to India and tell those people their diet is a luxury. And I thought his rant against Woody Harrelson was laughable in its pointlessness. Who is Harrelson hurting? If he wants to eat nothing but toilet paper, who cares?!

    And no, never fancy steak. I’ve seen the, ahem, ‘production process’. Even as a kid, I remember sitting at the table trying to chew my steak and wondering when the hell I’d be able to swallow it. It never broke down in my mouth!

    AB would hate me, not just for being veggie, but bc my palate has always been and still is very narrow. Not everyone lives to eat. I’m like Mikey in the Life ads – I don’t like many foods. As a kid I ate tons of meat but it had to be charred because pink = gross. Ditto any veins on the chicken bones. Oysters and clams = mucous. Shrimp are out because they look like big roaches. You get the idea. haha

    Eating when I’m on vacation is to me something that simply takes time away from really fun stuff like sightseeing and snorkeling. It’s not that I never enjoy a really good meal, I just find other things more pleasurable. But I am wililng to try new foods within reason. Kosheri in Egypt was awesome and I have AB to thank for introducing it to me! (Ditto the desert outside of Cairo).

  24. catsworking says:

    Trishia, there are the foodies who live to eat, and the UnFoodies who eat to live. But I must say, you sound like a real pain in the ass to eat in a restaurant with. I’d hate you. 😉

    Thanks to Bourdain, I have become aware of a much broader spectrum of foods. I’ve cooked many noodles I never knew existed before watching him. He’s also made me more aware of eating for pleasure, although most of the time it’s not affordable or practical. Most of us shop from a certain list of staples in the shortest possible time to prepare the quickest possible meals, rather than meandering through exotic markets or even Whole Foods looking for new taste sensations. Who has time for dishes that have to simmer all day? HE doesn’t even do that.

    Much as we complain about his elitism, he is performing a useful service in raising awareness of what’s out there.

    But I do use the crockpot occasionally. I’ve recently done a couple of ugly experiments with healthy snack food I intend to try again and report on.

    Mary, thanks for the kind words. I feel great. This morning I took my measurements and discovered why people have been saying I look even thinner, although I haven’t lost that much more in a while. Working on a post about that. Work lately has been killing me.

  25. Bacardi1 says:

    Trisha – I’m happy that you’re happy, & everyone is entitled to both their opinions & their lifestyles (although some of your reasoning is a bit bizarre – shrimp= roaches, shellfish=mucous (uh – they don’t once they’re cooked). So long as they don’t proselytize or act superior – lol!!

    For me, cooking is part of my life. I was raised by parents who were both excellent cooks, & I’m a dedicated cookbook collector (own hundreds – from first editions of golden oldies to new stuff) Experimenting with ethnic cuisines is my favorite passion, & my condiment pantry is a round-the-world tour.

    And since my husband has been non-red-meat-eating since he was 15 years old, our diet revolves around poultry, seafood, & vegetarian dishes. Works very well for us.

  26. trishia says:

    If AB hates his teeth why doesn’t he get em fixed? And can conservatives stop the faux-prude act about TV swearing when they say far worse in private?

    LOL Karen actually I’m amazingly easy to eat w/ in a restaurant because I like fish, italian, indian, mexican, lebanese and greek food and most places have at least one of those, so it’s not a problem. The most annoying question I ask a waiter is, ‘Is the salmon wild or farmed?’. I even eat occassionally in steak houses like Tom Collicio’s Craft. (there’s no beef in the risotto) 😉

    A friend’s boyfriend recently went vegan and everytime we eat with him the complaints start about “there’s so few options on the menu” and he has to tell the waiter he’s vegan. My dining companions and waiters never hear that crap from me. I’ve been pesce-tarian long enough to handle my s**t.

    You’re right Bacardi, shrimp once cooked do not resemble roaches – they resemble very early stage fetuses. 😉 And oysters, well you don’t cook those so that just remains mucous-y. Hey, do I wish I wasn’t so squeamish and able to eat more stuff like AB, of course. Do I wish I’d never seen how meat’s made, part of me does, but that’s life and you can’t “unsee.” It could be worse, I could be like Gwyneth Paltrow. Have you seen the list of stuff she doesn’t eat – even soy? It’s no wonder she was anemic and has osteopenia.

  27. catsworking says:

    Gwyneth Paltrow is destined to collapse one day like a boneless chicken. Didn’t somebody just name her the most beautiful woman in the world or something?

    Trisha, we would do OK in a restaurant. I eat my words — so to speak. It’s the picky eaters who ask how everything is prepared, then make a bunch of special requests, and THEN don’t eat what’s served who chap my ass.

    I was once seated at dinner on a ship with a new vegan when we were sailing with 800 French and the dinner menus featured dishes concocted by Escoffier every night. She’d get served a big plate of steamed broccoli because she thought everything else was “bad.” What a nitwit.

    I’m OK with the raw shellfish and sushi in general, but AB eats a lot of stuff I’d never put in my mouth–and I draw the line at eating anything’s head. Thanks to him, I have tried frog legs. Yes, they did taste like chicken, but less meaty. So why not eat chicken?

  28. Bacardi1 says:

    By Trisha”
    “And oysters, well you don’t cook those so that just remains mucous-y.”

    Uh – meant kindly, but before you go spouting off on distasteful food – do get your facts straight. Oysters MOST CERTAINLY ARE SERVED COOKED. And in many, many delicious ways – fried, baked (Rockefeller-style is DELICIOUS), grilled (also delicious!), roasted, pan-sauteed. I strongly dislike raw oysters for the “mucousy” reason you mention, but ADORE them cooked. Don’t diss something unless you’re aware of it &/or have tried it.

    Honestly – you’re woefully misinformed & woefully sheltered re: food – seafood in particular. If I were you, I’d lay off critiquing anything having to do with food until I was more familiar with it. 😉

  29. Zappa's Mom says:

    Wow,Trish,you are getting hammered! As long as you aren’t a huge PITA to the waiter when ordering in a restaurant,you’re ok in my book and you can eat whatever the f&%@ you want.As a former waiter,your vegan friend has had some butter or beef stock mistakenly make its way into his food,trust me.

  30. Zappa's Mom says:

    BTW,it was People magazine that decided that Goopy Paltrow is the world’s most beautiful woman. I’ll give her pretty in a meh kinda way.

  31. Bacardi1 says:

    I’m not bent on “hammering” Trish, but honestly – a stating that “you don’t cook” oysters? What rock has Trish been living under? And shrimp look like “roaches” or “fetuses”? Come on now. This is not someone who should even remotely be critiquing anyone’s food choices, let alone Bourdain.

  32. Trishia says:

    Ha Karen it’s okay I’m only being ‘hammered’ by Bacardi and it’s always fun when someone who calls vegetarians ‘preachy’ and ‘superior’ turns around and does the same thing with the ‘If I were you’ lectures. I love a good verbal/written throw down.

    I never claimed to be a foodie or expert in how all foods can be prepped. I already said I’m the opposite of that. I’ve never seen anyone eat cooked oysters in person or on TV, and raw is how I once tasted them. Since I find them disgusting why would I be a walking encyclopedia on the topic? Cooked, raw, I don’t want it. And regarding shrimp how can my interpretation of how something looks be ‘right’ or ‘wrong’? You may as well hammer me because I see a different shape in a cloud than you do. What I do know about in spades, unlike most people in this country, is where my food comes from and how it’s manufactured, especially factory farmed meat, and all the crap this govt gets away with feeding us.

    I am not critiquing Bourdain’s food choices (except when he bashes Paula Deen for promoting unhealthy food and then encourages his viewers to eat street vendor hot dogs). I’m critiquing his obsession with hating those who don’t eat as he does, based on a FALSE argument. Please explain to me how I’m being “rude” when I go into a restaurant in Cairo and order a vegetarian dish and then pay for it?? Go ahead, I’ll wait.

    A guy who didn’t even start traveling till he was 40-freaking-4 (and only then because someone else was paying for it) who clearly does not care in the least about his own health is going to now lecture me on how to be a good/polite traveler? He chose to spend $ on drugs instead of traveling but I’m “incurious”? That’s my point. He could pity us for not enjoying the variety that he does, but he takes it way beyond the pale. And that he seems to be stuck like a record on repeating this diatribe ad nauseum in books and personal appearances pisses me off because he’s working against any effort for Americans to eat healthier and more green, which benefites all of us. He’s like Anne Coulter – spew provocative statements to sell books, never mind the facts.

    When he attempted to debate this issue with Jonathan Foer he had nothing to back up his position beyond ‘What about pleasure?” So basically his argument is “go ahead and continue to dump raw pig feces into the rivers and ground water and spray it onto poor people’s homes and give them lung disease, pork industry, because I really dig your product.” Why doesn’t he rail against governments that starve their own people instead? Yea I’m ‘incurious’ about the taste of some foods and how they’re cooked, sue me. It’s like a bisexual hating on people who are ‘incurious’ about having a gay experience. I think a far greater sin is being incurious about food production in one’s own backyard.

    Bacardi can you name 2 food dyes allowed here but banned in the EU bc of cancer risk? Do you know what the industry terms “PAC’ing” and ‘fecal soup’ are? How about rBGH and why that’s banned in EU. Did you know that euthanized shelter animals and roadkill, no matter what diseases they had and with the flea collars still on, are routinely rendered and fed to cows in this country? Get out from under that rock!

  33. Bacardi1 says:

    Well, bless your heart Trisha. I feel for you. Sadly, but I do feel for you.

  34. catsworking says:

    Wow, pass the popcorn! We haven’t had a smackdown like this at Cats Working since Morgan and (insert names here)!

    Bacardi and Trisha, you both have good points. I declare it a draw because I agree with both of you. (Does that make me schizoid?)

    The way I get my oysters most often is in little tins, packed in oil, smoked. I put them on crackers. They look like little lumps of greasy mystery meat. I love them.

    ZM, I’m with you. Paltrow’s pretty in a watered-down sort of way. I actually think Julia Roberts is prettier, huge mouth notwithstanding.

    I gotta get a new post out here to get us off this food topic and calm everybody down.

  35. Bacardi1 says:

    Aren’t Smoked Oysters wonderful?? They’re always a part of our New Year’s repast (but I’ve also been known to make a quick lunch of them on crackers – lol!).

    You’re not schizoid Catsworking. You KNOW your food.

  36. Trishia says:

    Ahh the faux pity routine. You ‘feel for me’ because I don’t want be lied to and fed crap by certain food industries and bc I call Bourdain on his hypocrisy? Oookay. At least I’m willing to acknowledge when I dont know much about a topic.

    Karen, I don’t mean to disrupt your normally calm space, but being talked down to like a child and now being called ‘sad’ bc said poster can’t respond to my arguments is just so 1990s AOL chatroom. Of course I’d prefer arguing this with AB himself, but that ain’t hap-nin anytime soon.

  37. catsworking says:

    Trisha, no problem. Things had been too calm around here. We needed some controversy. I think you have done a phenomenal job of holding your own. You have poked holes in things I’ve never really thought about, and I think you’re right. I’d put you on a stage to debate Bourdain any day!

    Barcardi has scored points as well. I am lucky to have 2 such astute readers to hash these issues out so eloquently. Seriously. Thanks, guys!

  38. Bacardi1 says:

    LOL!!! Trisha – Bourdain would have you dragged off by his security team as soon as you mentioned that you didn’t know some folks DO enjoy oysters COOKED. LOL!!!!! You serriously wouldn’t be worth his – or any other food personality’s – time.

  39. catsworking says:

    OK, now this is getting worse than the ongoing feud between Max and Adele (the cat) around here. Bacardi, play nice.

  40. Bacardi1 says:

    Hey – I AM playing nice. Nicer than Trish with her comments from someone who obviously doesn’t know a whole lot about food.

    Catsworking – do you REALLY believe, & especially knowing him as you do, that Tony would take anyone seriously who not only ranted like Trish has, but didn’t have an inkling that oysters are also enjoyed COOKED????

    I can almost hear him laughing his ass off without even knowing about it.

    If one is going to diss a food writer, one has to have at least a REMOTE inkling of food. Period.

    And “Trish” DOES NOT. She’s into her own private venue, & quite obviously knows very little about food culture in general.

    Yes, it’s nice to have a private playground, but then keep it private. Once you make it public, you’re understandably open to public opinion.

  41. catsworking says:

    Barcardi, now you have me SO confused, I’m holding my head in pain.

    Yes, I agree that people who have narrow food preferences aren’t in the best position to criticize. But Bourdain does blow a lot of stuff out his ass about how we should all eat/behave, when we don’t share his rarefied position in the culinary stratosphere.

    Yet I can’t dispute all the inhumane and unhealthy practices that go on in the food industry. Trisha seems to know a lot more about that than I do, and that’s because I deliberately try to keep my head in the sand, and I leave the room any time Bourdain starts butchering anything.

    Bourdain freely admits he’s a hypocrite about a lot of things, although I wouldn’t go so far as to liken him to Ann Coulter. He does heed the facts most of the time — Coulter’s beaming in from another planet. But yes, he probably would laugh at and crush some of Trisha’s positions on what constitutes “good eats,” but I don’t think he could refute a lot of what she says.

    Believe it or not, I value BOTH your opinions and I hope nobody gets run out of here. It’s happened before. You each have strong positions. I’m just glad Morgan hasn’t been around for this or we’d have had a real bloodbath!

  42. Bacardi1 says:

    While Trish’s supposedly-intensive info on food production may have merit, I still don’t fathom how her food rant(s) pertains specifically to AB. She could, frankly, make that rant against literally any food personality in this day & age with all of the “inhumane & unhealthy” food practices going on. If that’s the case, why even bother writing a blog about AB?

    I prefer to keep my food “politics” separate from celebrity-foodie reviews, & I think AB does as well. But at least we KNOW something about the food we’re eating. You’ll never see either myself nor AB screaming “oh, the humanity” while someone throws live clams &/or oysters on a hot grill. 😉

  43. chinagirl says:

    Morgan/Karen, can you clarify Morgan’s comment – “So what do we think of the smile? Remember your theory? What is the theory? Did I miss something???

  44. catsworking says:

    Chinagirl, a long time ago I noticed that Bourdain almost never shows any teeth when he’s photographed with fans and I think I theorized that it’s because he doesn’t really enjoy doing it. There’s also a school of thought that he doesn’t like the way his teeth look. When he was here, I noticed that he wasn’t showing teeth in any of the pics taken before I got to him, so when I got my turn, I asked him for teeth. OK, I forgot to say “please,” so I may have come off bossy and pissed him off. And I had him sign his out-of-print biography of Typhoid Mary, which may have also pissed him off (although it made that book the rarest in my entire Bourdain collection — I’m betting there aren’t many autographed copies of that one floating around).

    So is it a teeth thing or lack of pleasure? Only he knows.

  45. adele says:

    Wow, I noticed that there were 44 comments on this post,and I just had to look.

    With regard to food, I say chacun a son gout.(to each his own taste– just thought I’d throw in some French; it seemed appropriate). I have people over for dinner often; I eat very little red meat, and I have a friend, who eats none.. I anhave a gazillion chicken recipes, but my favorite thing to cook is either Italian or Provencal style seafood — and I have friends, who hate or are allergic to seafood. I work around it, and if I have to grill a steak or some lamb chops for someone, I will. I just don’t care;I’m a pretty good host, and as long as I’m not preached at for what I serve, I’m fine.

    I can’t find it now, but I read an article by Ottavia for one of the MMA magazines, where she reported having gone vegan for two weeks. The first few days were hell, she said, with the combination of frequent bathroom visits, high methane production and really bad food, even at a 4* vegan restaurant. But as time progressed, she found good Korean and Indian food and fought well in a match. She said that even Mr. B. (who made frequent trips to Shake Shack with Ariane) agreed that perhaps they could use meat more like flavoring as most of the rest of the world does. I wonder how that’s going.

    Hard to say about the teeth/no teeth thing. I think AB looks pretty happy in the picture with you Karen; W hen I saw him 2 years ago, the picture he took with my friend was closed mouthed, but he flashed teeth in the one with me — but I’d said something that made him laugh. If you watch the shows though, even when he’s obviously enjoying himself, you don’t see toothy grins.

  46. catsworking says:

    Adele, yes, we had a little free-for-all on this post.

    It takes a lot to get a big grin out of Tony, it’s true. I don’t blame him that his personal appearances don’t bring it out. It’s got to get old being up on stage repeating yourself, and then doing the endless book signings (lucrative as it all can be).

    I’ve got some boneless chicken thighs thawing in the fridge and I want to brine them because I had the BEST chicken breast of my life on the recent cruise and I think it was brined. Stay tuned…

  47. adele says:

    Aren’t boneless chicken thighs a great thing? I’m generally a white meat eater, but I can’t believe how tasty and fast cooking the thighs are in a number of dishes — looking forward to hearing about your experiment

  48. Bacardi1 says:

    Have never warmed up to or understood “brining” anything.

    My chickens/turkeys/geese/ducks (whole or parts) all turn out crisp-skinned & juicy when roasted or grilled without needing a high-sodium soak. And brining certainly isn’t necessary for any poultry product that’s going to be baked, braised, or stewed.

  49. catsworking says:

    Bacardi, then you are a better poultry cook than I am. I’ve got a recipe for doing the thighs, but I don’t have most of the stuff I need in the house. The thighs are skinless and have to be covered with panko crumbs, walnuts (I think) and mayo. Don’t know if I’ll do the mayo. Too many points. I need to get the brining started if I’m going to ever eat the things, but it takes kosher salt, which I don’t have. I wonder if sea salt would be OK? I have to do some Googling.

  50. Bacardi1 says:

    You can use Sea Salt, but you’ll be wasting $$, since it’s far more expensive than Kosher Salt. They both have close to the same grain size, but apart from the “Kosher” certification, Sea Salt also has a higher mineral content (sometimes added after the fact) that is what gives it a more distinctive flavor than regular salt.

    I’m guessing this recipe will be baked? If so, I don’t see a need for any brine at all, but then, as I posted before, I’m anti-brine (too much unneeded sodium). Also, without using any mayo, you may find it a bit difficult to get the Panko & walnuts to stick to the chicken. I’d risk the points & use at least a little mayo.

  51. catsworking says:

    Bacardi, thanks for the pointers. I just made the brine and used sea salt, and garlic powder, rosemary, thyme, and sage. Heated it just until everything powder dissolved, then poured over the chicken. I was afraid hot water would start cooking the chicken.

    To make the panko stick, I think I’ll use egg white with a bit of mayo. Screw the walnuts. I think I do bake it. Probably make a side of rice. What I’m looking for is moist chicken. Too often when I make it from scratch, it comes out dry. I’m really not good with meat of any kind. I’ll rinse the chicken before I bread it to get some of the salt off.

  52. adele says:

    I was just going to say, egg whites to make the breading stick, although even an egg wash (an egg beaten with water) probably wouldn’t leave all that much yolk adhering to the chicken..

    Karen, I’ve been meaning to tell you that Calphalon has a small line called (I think) Unisom. There’s a skillet a griddle and a grill. The thing about them, unlike other anodized or non-stick stuff is that it really puts a sear on whatever meat or fish you’re cooking. Just a little Pam, and you’re good to go. I have the griddle, and I make fish on it all the time; it’s great and makes me look like I know what I’ doing.

    Does brining really up the sodium count of a recipe that much?

  53. catsworking says:

    Adele, I’ll be on the lookout for those. I have a George Foreman grill for when I want to searing things, but it’s kind of a pain to clean and the finish is wearing off, so I could use something new.

    I don’t think the brining adds much sodium because the meat isn’t overly salty. But what do I know? My blood pressure could be sky-high tomorrow!

  54. chinagirl says:

    NR and Layover are being rerun here and AB shows a lot of teeth. They are bad and he has said he doen’t like them, so money bags get new ones !! LOL Love the picture you posted, you look great he looks indifferent!! I think his road trip material is getting old, guess he has bills to pay too, but put a little spark into it AB.

  55. catsworking says:

    Chinagirl, if you look at fan pics taken with Bourdain all over the Net, the fans almost always look a lot happier than he does. We’re meeting an idol, he’s being forced to mingle with the faceless crowd.

    He actually comes across more personable and friendly on stage. But maybe it’s just me. When he saw me coming up close in the line for the book signing, he looked a little apprehensive. But he was very cordial. I’m never out to “get” the guy.

    Yes, he’s got some issues a good cosmetic dentist could fix, but he probably doesn’t go that route because if he suddenly turned up with a beautiful smile, he’d never hear the end of it. “Oh, Bourdain’s gone Hollywood!”

  56. chinagirl says:

    This is his job Karen, and meeting fans is part of it, good or bad, so suck it up buttercup and look like you appreciate the fans as they are who keep you in the $$$$. Don’t believe he is the type to do anything “forced”. I don’t think anyone thinks you are out to “get” him!!! I think Bourdain would love to go Hollywood!!!!!!!!

  57. catsworking says:

    Chinagirl, I teach classes at the Univ. of Richmond, and even though I only do them once a semester, the repetition gets to me and it takes some real psyching up on my part to be “on” so I don’t bore myself and everybody else. Worked many years ago as a trainer and had the same problem. Absolutely HATED repeating myself. So when Tony goes on these road trips where he’s doing the schtick every night for a week in a row, I can feel for him.

    On the other hand, he DOES get paid a lot, so the onus is on him to suck it up and be nice. And he is. He’s just not a bubby kind of guy.

  58. chinagirl says:

    All of us who work know about repetition and I agree it gets to you. So you are saying he is different on the shows than in real life. Guess only those who have seen and met him would know that.

  59. trishia says:

    Karen thanks for the kind words, and for understanding that I do not have to be a foodie or expert in oyster prep to have plenty of cause to critique AB’s constant anti-veg ravings. He is bashing us not in a cooking context, but mostly in a travel context, and travel is definitely something I’ve done quite a bit of.

    I do know a ton about meat production because, aside from my ethical issue with it, I have lots of cancer in my family and did a lot of research to help protect my health. I also got one of those Nutribullets and was amazed at how awesome it is. I am now drinking fresh, organic veggie/fruit juice daily (such as Dr. Oz’s green drink) and saving a lot of $$.

    Bacardi, I’m not sure what your issue is with me, but to take ONE error a person makes and decide they are completely ignorant on a topic is ridiculous. Being ignorant about oysters does not = ignorance about all food. Have you never made an error? I never claimed to be a foodie.

    “I still don’t fathom how her food rant(s) pertains specifically to AB.”

    As I already explained, AB more than any other celeb/food personality, has consistently bashed vegetarians, going out of his way to insult us with childish epithets. That’s why. And based on his pathetic debate performance against J. Foer, I doubt he’d be “laughing his ass off” against me or any person informed about meat production.

    In other news, I found that link about Ottavia’s 2-week veganism.

    Happy dance. I cant imagine fitting-er punishment for AB. She admitted that she felt better, had more energy, and her performance didn’t suffer — in fact she won a competition during her vegan trial. She now says she will defintely eat ‘less meat’. I love that she has finally met other fighters who don’t eat meat and say it has improved their strength/performance.

    But why they chose to go to vegan restaurants (which tend to be disgusting), when they could just go to ethnic places (korean, indian, egyptian, etc). Is beyond me. As a foodie I’m surprised Ottavia would do that. You may be shocked that I actually AGREE with AB about most vegan restaurants – the stuff is bland, fake meat crap and they dont ‘do’ vegetables right or care what’s in season. Hence I never go to them.

  60. catsworking says:

    Trisha, I saw Dr. Oz making some shake the other day and everything was looking good until they put kale or something in it.

    But I guess that’s what V8 is, a bunch of veggies blended together that would be disgusting if you saw them in a pile.

    I’ve got some fake meat in the freezer right now. I loved the crumbles (what was the name of that company I was praising?), but the chicken patties taste/look like Styrofoam cups.

    Oops, forgot to address “Bourdain different in real life” comment. Yes, yes he is. He doesn’t come anywhere near as cocky in person as he is on TV. Even when he’s on stage bashing vegans. He states his case so earnestly, you buy in to what he’s saying, even if later you go, “Wait a minute…”

    The man’s got personal charisma, if you like the articulate, sarcastic, yet with-a-heart-of-gold type. 😉

  61. Bacardi1 says:

    I’ll NEVER understand the “fake meat” thing. The stuff is deplorably awful.

    If you want to be a vegan/vegetarian, then BE ONE. Without needing the crutch of absolutely horrid sometimes chemical-filled, always sodium-overloaded FAKE MEAT products. “Fake Meat” products have to be one of the original oxymorons.

    Products like Tofu, Tempeh, & Seitan are FABULOUS in recipes – wonderful texture & flavor when cooked properly. There’s absolutely ZERO need to bastardize them into products that true vegetarians shouldn’t even be thinking about – lol! I’m not a vegetarian & I enjoy them at least once a week. Go figure.

    Wanna eat meat? Then eat the REAL THING. It’s actually far healthier for you than the awful fake stuff.

  62. catsworking says:

    Bacardi, that crumbled fake meat I used once was great (I have another bag of it in the freezer). Quorn! That’s the brand. But the chicken patties — total YUCK!!

    I agree that some of the fake products are probably overloaded with chemicals, but I find tofu to be one of the most unnatural substances on the planet. Yes, I do eat it occasionally, but it’s got a weird texture and it’s a culinary chameleon, taking on the taste of whatever it’s with because it has ZERO going for it alone. I put yogurt in the same class.

    Some of the “fake” products are good. I like Boca Burgers and Morningstar black bean burgers. In fact, I’ve even made kidney bean burgers myself. I also like Morningstar fake sausage patties.

    I think some of the fake meat stuff is good, and can’t blanket-condemn it all because it has helped me lose nearly 50 lbs. and my latest health checkup was faboo.

  63. Trisha says:

    “Trisha, I saw Dr. Oz making some shake the other day and everything was looking good until they put kale or something in it.”

    LOL Karen, trust me, I was skeptical, but you need to put the kale in! I make a drink each day with kale/swiss chard/spinach, frozen broccoli florets, lemon, ginger, flax and chia seeds, and green apple. If you put in the right amts of the apple, ginger and lemon, it’s delicious and you absolutely do NOT taste the green veggies. It tastes kind of like a lemon/lime sweet tart. And if you really want to jazz it up you put in banana, strawberries, and/or mango and then all you taste is the fruit. (If you only put greens in, it will taste like lawn). It’s great for people who dont like greens.

    I dont count veggie burgers as ‘fake meat’ if they’re made of high quality, whole foods like brown rice, quinoa, or black beans like you mentioned. You have to read labels. Faux meat is helpful to people just starting out meatless – some is okay, some is loaded with harmful crap. There is a faux bacon made by a company that starts w/ ‘W’ that I LOVE but I stopped eating it because it has harmful dyes (like yellow 6) that are banned in the EU. Isolated soy protein is another no-no bc it has high estrogenic activity. Tofu Pups, on the other hand, are delicious faux hot dogs that if I recall correctly didn’t have any ‘bad’ ingredients. I ate tons of them in college and with condiments, I couldnt tell.

    However, compared to hamburger and sausage/hot dogs, I’d still put even the worst fake meat ahead of them health wise. I don’t recall reading about any ‘pink slime’ in fake meats. When was the last time you heard of a massive, nationwide fake meat recall?

    Fake cheese is another story – I don’t even bother with that rubbery blech. I either have cheese or I don’t. And by ‘cheese’ I dont mean a substance that comes in a green can or stuck between 2 sheer sheets of plastic lol.

  64. catsworking says:

    Trisha, I almost bought tofu yesterday, which I haven’t done in years, but I had another collard green experiment on the agenda, so I took a pass until next trip to Food Lion.

    I’m a little bit picky about cheese. I buy the 2% version in blocks, never singles. And I’m OK with Laughing Cow, but I don’t eat it too often. I’d rather have hummus.

    But that shake you describe sounds vile. I’m sure the greens blend in, like V8 tastes like tomato juice in spite of everything else in it. But Yuck!

    I was making smoothies with plain Greek yogurt, bananas, strawberries, blueberries, whatever fruit I had around, and they were tasty. But then my Cuisinart blender mysteriously stopped “blending.” NOTHING I did would get the stuff to mix.

    So I got a Cuisinart food processor for Christmas, which looks suspiciously just like the blender, except for some extra parts on top. The first time I used it, it behaved EXACTLY like the blender. Wouldn’t blend for shit.

    So now I know there is probably nothing wrong with the blender (because it had only been used a handful of times), and I’m doing something wrong. But for the life of me, I don’t know what. I don’t do things any differently than before. I used to blend truckloads of canned cat food with water to make goop one of my late cats would eat and never had a problem.

    Anybody got any ideas? And don’t tell me I’ve switched the blade around, because it doesn’t come out. I checked.

  65. MorganLF says:

    I just saw this,” we haven’t had a smack down like this since Morgan inert name here” lol o fucking lol! So glad I’m remembered for the right things.

    Trisha, your a good communicator and tho I may not agree with all your dietetic predispositions I agree you are probably correct in your assumptions. Thus while I gorge on ribeye steaks and bracciole and sausage and peppers, I will not forget your description of cooked shrimp as fetuses!

    My mother eschewed sea food, didn’t even see a shrimp till I was 14. My father loved all crustaceans and would regularly take my brother to the boardwalk for fresh clams and oysters, while I stood by and gagged. Dad would fish off the dock with the grand kids for crab (and invariably tip the bucket with the days catch and watch them scatter under the porch of our beach house.) Nevertheless my mom would do a crab boil for him while muttering under her breach that they were nothing more than sea cockroaches.

    I came to seafood later on through my ex husband a devout non meat eater. It is my favorite, but I can’t make it. I am flirting with the idea of a fresh oyster mainly because of Bourdain and other food personalities ……but as yet I remain timidly on the side lines.

    Yes Karen, even your resident Jersey chick can be timid about some things!

  66. catsworking says:

    My ex-husband wouldn’t eat shrimp. It had something to do with not eating anything that’s found on the ocean floor. He was an asshole in so many ways.

    When I was a kid, my grandfather used to buy bushels of clams (this was up in Mass.) and steam them, then we’d dip them in butter. So I developed a taste for nondescript lumps early on that served me well when I dived into my first plate of escargots.

    I can’t recall if I’ve ever actually eaten a raw oyster, but I have no objection to them cooked pretty much any way. I wouldn’t be adverse to trying them.

  67. MorganLF says:

    The Jewish dietary laws prohibit crustacean and bottom dwellers because , they dine on the crap of all others. Hmmm food chain…

  68. Bacardi1 says:

    MorganLF says:
    “The Jewish dietary laws prohibit crustacean and bottom dwellers because , they dine on the crap of all others. Hmmm food chain…”

    And your point is what, exactly?

  69. catsworking says:

    My ex-husband wasn’t Jewish, Morgan. He was an orthodox picky eater. 😉

    And pigs are prohibited because they’re supposed to be unclean, right?

    So the rest of the world who eats pork and these types of seafood is supposed to get really sick or drop dead? Ain’t happening. I really don’t get why they still cling to those beliefs, and when I’ve asked, the answer I got was “Tradition!”

    Catholics used to not eat meat on Friday like there was something magical about that, but they got over it. Not to say there aren’t a lot of other things they need to rethink.

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