Book Corner 2020.51

by Anthony Bourdain

This was a re-read for me. My book club is doing it. I have no idea how many people will cotton to it. I forgot how much profanity is in it. It’s a pretty staid group.

Now that Tony Bourdain is dead, I was hyper-alert to the plentiful self-hatred and couple of overt references to suicide. At one point Bourdain considers jumping out his apartment window; and at another, recounts a chef killing himself the night he gets fired. And then there’s all the substance abuse, even more than I remembered; that goes along with mental illness.

But this is supposed to be a FUN read! Shocking tales of what really goes on in restaurant kitchens!

I ate many times at Les Halles, Bourdain’s steak frites place, when it was on John Street steps from my NYC workplace. I always had steak frites. I loved it.

And I loved Tony Bourdain! I watched many episodes of his travel show, Nooooooooo Reservations (he used to draw out the “Nooooo” during the intro). He used to go to exotic places and eat interesting things. He’d show up somewhere, stay up late drinking and eating, sleep in, then get up and don his leather jacket and hit the streets again looking for breakfast. He was a guy even older than me, yet slim, tattooed, and beleathered – OK, I had a thing for him. He dug the Ramones. He was a New Yorker. I bet in one of my parallel lives, I dated him. What am I saying? Plain Janes like me never hook up with guys like that – we just sigh at them from afar, and watch our best friends make out with them.

But that’s all neither here or there… He’s dead now. I couldn’t believe it when I heard – this was 2018 – he had these super-successful TV shows, and a young daughter for Pete’s sake. But after this re-read, yeah, I do believe it. Guy was messed up. RIP. Hope he’s rocking out with Joey Ramone.

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