Friday, March 5, 2010

Two Very Different Books

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain was one of a stack of books I received for my birthday and I devoured it at once. I'd read excerpts of it in The New Yorker and was eager to continue this wild, irreverent exploration of the culinary underbelly.

We rarely eat out -- and even more rarely do we eat at restaurants of the sort Bourdain is describing-- but I found myself fascinated by his account of the interplay between the various members of a restaurant's staff. The drama! The choreography! The planning! The testosterone! The bitchiness! 

I'm a pretty good cook -- resourceful, innovative, organized -- but I wouldn't last five minutes  in the world Bourdain describes. I sure enjoyed peeking into  it though.

And I will never order fish on Sunday or Monday.
~~~
About as far away from Bourdain's kitchens as one can get is These is my Words by Nancy E. Turner.

Based on Turner's family memoirs,  this story is told in the form of the diary of Sarah Prine, 1881- 1901. Traveling with her family on a wagon train into the Arizona Territories, Sarah encounters almost every kind of danger the frontier has to offer. Her indomitable spirit carries her through an unsettled childhood, an unhappy marriage, motherhood, widowhood and more. 

Sarah's voice is real and compelling -- and in spite of all the perils and hazards of her life, there's a wonderful humor in this book. I was reminded of Lee Smith's Fair and Tender Ladies -- and that, is high praise.
Posted by Picasa


16 comments:

Martin H. said...

Vicki

Success! I'm seeing your post today.

These is my Words by Nancy E. Turner sounds like a good read. I'll probably add it to my ever-growing list, but when I'll ever get around to reading it, heaven only knows.

Jill said...

Bourdain is quite the character, isn't he? And he's had quite the wild ride. I've used his experiences as a writing exercise in my business communications class - always a fun lesson!

Pat in east TN said...

These is My Words has been on my TBR pile for ages, constantly pushed to the bottom because of newer purchases, and I've just now began reading it. I'm only into the first few pages and I already know it's a winner!

Vicki Lane said...

Yes, Martin, I was indeed wondering if I'd finally managed to offend everyone all at once. The ways of Blogger and Google are mysterious...

Oh that ever-growing list... I know it well.

What a great idea, Jill! A lot ore interesting than writing up an order for paper clips!

I thought you'd like it, Pat! (And the sun is shining and the sky is clear on my side of the mountains!!!)

Carol@ Writers Porch/ Book House said...

Dito with Martin!I need to add that! I'll take yours and Pat's thumbs up on it! We watch Anthony often. He is something else!

willow said...

I'm adding "These is My Words" to my leaning tower of must read stack right now!

(yay...you're back on the blogroll!)

Liz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vicki Lane said...

Ms. Turner will be experiencing a little boomlet in readers! I hope she appreciates my help. ;-)

NCmountainwoman said...

I love Anthony Bourdain and have tried several of his recipes. Last week I picked up "Fair and Tender Ladies." I am ashamed to admit I have not yet read a Lee Smith book and my book store recommended this one. I'm glad you had such high praise for it.

Vicki Lane said...

Lee Smith is wonderful! As well as FATL, try her more comic and modern FANCY STRUT and FAMILY LINEN. Actually, all her books are terrific!

Miss_Yves said...

I 'm reading "Le secret des Appalaches"/ Art's blood !
Five chapters :I appreciate !

Anonymous said...

Bourdain is great--listened to book on tape, read by the grand chef himself which made it even wilder. Thanks for the tips on the other two. In My Words sounds intriguing.

I love family history. We have pictures of one of my great aunts who,as a single woman, was a homesteader in the Dakota Territory. Shows her front of her first sod house. I'm transcribing stories from a mimeographed family history done in the '50s that's about to fade away so it can eventually become a website or blog. More to come....

Lynne in GA

Vagabonde said...

I read Kitchen Confidential last year and liked it so much that I read his other book: “The Nasty Bits: Collected Varietal Cuts, Usable Trim, Scraps and Bones. That was good too. Since then I try to catch his show on TV once in a while (it’s hard for me to watch TV regularly.) He is certainly a no nonsense type of cook and with an attitude! Must be the French in him (lol)

Vicki Lane said...

Oh, Miss Yves, How exciting! Of course, I can't judge how well the translation works and I'm quite sure there are some bit of dialect and such that don't translate well. But Sophie, the translator, has an excellent idiomatic command of English and I expect she's done a good job.

Lynne - that sounds utterly fascinating! You ought to consider signing on to Sepia Saturday (check my blog roll)if you establish a blog. I'd love to read it!

Vagabonde -- I've never seen Bourdain's TV show but I'll have a look for the book you mention. He does sound like quite a character!

California Girl said...

Thank you for visiting my blog. It's very nice to have a published writer comment. My husband loves Bourdain's tv show, "No Reservations". Frankly, some of the food he eats is gross, e.g. whale blubber. I love cookbooks and books about cooks and such. Just read two on Julia Child (her auto "My Life in France",a bio "Julia Child, A Life" as well as making my way through her masterpiece "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" which my husband bought as a Christmas gift for me...wonder why. It's wonderful.

Vicki Lane said...

Howdy, California Girl -- After seeing the movie JULIA AND JULIE, I read MY LIFE IN FRANCE and really enjoyed it. I was watching Julia back in the sixties when we were first married and one winter in Iowa, cooked quite a few of the recipes in MASTERING THE ART. A wonderful learning experience. The section on chicken alone is worth the price of the book!

Thanks for stopping by!