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Kitchen Confidential

November 11, 2018

"Oh yeah, I gotta write this thing. But that's not work, really, is it? It feels somehow shifty and . . . dishonest, making a buck writing. Writing anything is a treason of sorts. Even the cold recitation of facts -- which is hardly what I've been up to -- is never the thing itself. And the events described are somewhat diminished in the telling. A perfect bowl of bouillabaisse, that first, all-important oyster, plucked from the Bassin D'Arcachon, both are made cheaper, less distinct in my memory, once I've written about them.  ... Our movements through time and space seem somehow trivial compared to a heap of boiled meat in broth, the smell of saffron, garlic, fishbones, and Pernod. ... People confuse me. Food doesn't." -- Kitchen Confidential (Anthony Bourdain) 


I finished Anthony Bourdain's book. I can tell you that I loved it, and "devoured it" and I highly recommend it, that it was interesting and funny and a wonderful, nostalgic read. His own musings about writing I've included above, which do not perfectly match mine; his thoughts about food do not exactly match mine. I feel enriched after having read it, like having a first spoonful of a thick lobster bisque soup perfumed with loads of sherry, or a butternut squash soup garnished with a dollop of creme fraiche, or a hot latte thick with a hefty layer of foam, to have gotten to know him a little bit better (as his story was autobiographical), to learn about a culinary underbelly I hadn't known existed. To learn about runners, prep cooks and sous chefs; meal planning, fish purveyors (who are not as happy as meat people by the way). To read about failed restaurants, machismo, celebrity, ego and humility, addiction and hard work, well it was as much a page turner as a popular suspense novel. But in the end, I am a little bit sad, and a little bit hungry. Fire that rack of lamb! Table One! Stat! I'm on your back!


It is true that cream rises, and excellence can have its rewards. Some of the time.




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