Monday, March 24, 2014

Can I Stomach Eating Out Ever Again After Reading "Kitchen Confidential"?

Its sunny and 75 in California which means 'tis the season for my favorite summer past time--poolside reading while sipping on that sweet fermented grape juice.

Despite all my better judgement (since going out to eat is my favorite hobby, second only to napping), I picked up Anthony Bourdain's "Kitchen Confidential" for my daily dance with skin cancer (kidding--I wear SPF 180. No, seriously. If you can't tell from the pictures I post on here, I'm pretty sure I'm at least part albino).

So, to answer the big question: after learning about the dirty little freak show which is the food industry, will I be eating out again ever again?

Answer: Hell yes.

If nothing, Bourdain's book made me more appreciative of the rough and tumble world of restauranteering. Sure, Bourdain confirmed all my worst fears about the restaurant business, but those fears were more like solid suspicions anyway, and it didn't stop me before. Like Bourdain says in his book, "Your body is not a temple, it's an amusement park. Enjoy the ride." (But for real, folks, as much as I enjoy the sentiment I must say your body is a temple. Enjoy it, but be good to it!) Although I disagree with his stance of vegetarians and, well, many other things, I love Bourdain's attitude that food is an adventure of the fearless variety.

Here are my five major takeaways:

1. I have a new respect for chefs. Not only do they make incredible food, but they are also human resource managers, inventors, grave diggers, publicists, and supreme organizers—all rolled into one salary.

2.  I’m glad I have celiac disease so I’ll never be tempted again by the “recycled” bread baskets.

3. Again, so glad I don’t eat flour after learning that staff feel free to use the stacks as liberator shapes (aka sex pillows).

4. After learning about all the work, sweat, and blood (literally—ew) that goes into every meal I will never again complain about my food unless its really, really bad. (To be fair, I don’t think I’ve  ever complained about my food before, but I have a whole new appreciation!)

5. My pseudo-dream of being a chef is shattered. I’m definitely not dedicated enough. I don’t want to hire/fire, give up every weekend, work my fingers until they are bloody stumps, and stress about every sprig of parsley. Home chef is just fine for me, thanks. 

“Do we really want to travel in hermetically sealed popemobiles through the rural provinces of France, Mexico and the Far East, eating only in Hard Rock Cafes and McDonalds? Or do we want to eat without fear, tearing into the local stew, the humble taqueria's mystery meat, the sincerely offered gift of a lightly grilled fish head? I know what I want. I want it all. I want to try everything once.” 

 Food Books on My Summer To-Read List:
(you're welcome to read with me!)

The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory by Carol J Adams

Gluten Is My Bitch: Rants, Recipes, and Ridiculousness for the Gluten-Free by April Peveteaux

Good Enough to Eat by Stacey Ballis 

Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health by William Davis 

Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef by Shauna James Ahern, Daniel Ahern

Last Dinner on the Titanic: Menus and Recipes from the Great Liner by Rick Archbold