As a serious foodie I’m always on the outlook for new cooking shows, books, recipes, equipment, you name it. I first found Anthony Bourdain years ago and thought he was a total tool, until I read his autobiography, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures In The Culinary Underbelly. It was quickly clear that underneath his chain smoking, foul mouth TV persona there was an intelligent man that lived to eat and cook (I can respect that).
His two year old show on the Travel Channel, No Reservations has quickly become one of my favorite food shows. The A.V. Club has a nice wide-ranging interview with Anthony. One of my favorite exchanges:
AVC: Have you eaten anything particularly disgusting in the last few episodes you’ve shot for No Reservations? Anything that’s more disgusting than the still-beating heart of a cobra, say?
AB: Well, last season, the Namibian warthog experience was as bad as it’s ever been.
AVC: Was that the anus that you ate?
AB: You know, pick a part. It was all equally full of sand and crap in every mouthful. And it just had this permeating odor of burning reflux.
AVC: You once said that the most disgusting thing you’ve ever eaten was a Chicken McNugget. Do you think the warthog asshole was worse than that?
AB: Given the choice between reliving the warthog experience and eating a McNugget, I’m surely eating the McNugget. But at least I knew what the warthog was. Whereas with the McNugget, I think that’s still an open question. Scientists are still wondering.
Or maybe even better you have this little aside:
AVC: Are you a fan of modern music?
AB: Some. I’m hardly up to date, but there are bands that have been around for the last 10 or 15 years that I really like. Anybody from the last couple of years? No. But I’m a huge Brian Jonestown Massacre fan. I’m glad that the Chili Peppers still have work. Pearl Jam. I love Queens Of The Stone Age, who just did a show with us, Anthony Bourdain’s Holiday Special.
AVC: Was that envisioned as being something like those old Andy Williams holiday specials?
AB: That’s exactly what we were going for. Like with Bing Crosby standing around a cheesy set with fake snow in the background, and suddenly the doorbell rings. “Hey, look. Its my next-door neighbor David Bowie!” And just like that, they’d sing Christmas carols. We wore ugly Christmas sweaters, I cooked a Martha Stewart-style turkey dinner, and [QOTSA] provided a lot of music and performed. When you see those sweaters that they wore—which are truly the most terrifying things I have ever laid eyes on—you know that this is a band with a sense of humor.