The journey is part of the experience – an expression of the seriousness of one’s intent. One doesn’t take the A train to Mecca.

I FINALLY finished another book! I had started one that I had a lot of trouble getting into. It was a tough read and as much as I was interested in the topic it just wasn’t clicking for me. So when another book came along, with a small amount of guilt, I surrendered and switched to reading it.

Over the summer I was loaned “A Cook’s Tour: Global Adventures in Extreme Cuisines” by Anthony Bourdain from one of the chefs at the hotel. He said it was a great book and thought I would really enjoy it. I’m happy to report that he was totally right.

If you like food, have a desire to travel, and don’t mind profanity, then this is a good book for you too! It’s an account of Bourdain’s adventures as he was filming his first show “A Cook’s Tour” for the Food Network. From Vietnam to Cambodia, California to Mexico, and a few other places in between, Tony (as he usually refers to himself) gives the reader a candid account of his personal feeling and opinions on the locations, the foods, and his disdain for making a t.v. show. It also gives a look into how he grew up as a boy visiting France with his family as well as his life as the chef of Les Halles in New York City.

One particular place that Tony writes about often in the book is Vietnam. I didn’t know much about Vietnam beyond what I learned in school and growing up in America I feel like that education can be somewhat skewed. So when I began to read the chapters on Vietnam I wasn’t really sure what to expect. The way Bourdain describes the food and the people and the culture…I’m hooked. Is it a tourist friendly place like Europe, not quite, but it’s certainly not the uncivilized jungle that many try to portray it as. It’s a country of people who have been through hell and back and are still growing and rebuilding. Oh and the food….sounds amazing. If I ever had the chance I think I would definitely go to Vietnam.

I can’t help but wonder if I would feel as inspired/comfortable to travel to distant lands as I do from reading this book, if I hadn’t gone to Egypt in college. Growing up (and a little still) I was an extremely picky eater. I didn’t like anything and certainly didn’t try new foods. When I went to Egypt it was like I turned into this fearless foodie who was willing to try anything and everything. It was liberating! Sure there were things that I didn’t like but there were also SO many things that I did. It was such a great experience that opened my eyes to traveling and exploring really different places.

But enough about me. Moral of the story, this book is a great read. It’s as if you’re sitting at a table across from Anthony as he regales you with the stories of his adventures. You can practically smell the food as he describes it. I will make one warning statement though. If you are a hardcore vegetarian/vegan/peta person, this book might not be for you. Although there is a chapter where Bourdain talks about his venture into raw food, there are many many more describing his deep love for all things meat. That’s just his nature.

what a silver fox

So if you love food and travel and candid reading then I think you’ll really enjoy this book. You don’t even have to be a chef or world traveler. Big thanks to Chef Brian for letting me borrow his copy….it may come back to you a little beat up but it was well enjoyed! šŸ™‚

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