From Goodreads: "In the ten years since his classic Kitchen Confidential first alerted us to the idiosyncrasies and lurking perils of eating out, from Monday fish to the breadbasket conspiracy, much has changed for the subculture of chefs and cooks, for the restaurant business—and for Anthony Bourdain. Medium Raw explores these changes, moving back and forth from the author's bad old days to the present. Tracking his own strange and unexpected voyage from journeyman cook to globe-traveling professional eater and drinker, and even to fatherhood, Bourdain takes no prisoners as he dissects what he's seen, pausing along the way for a series of confessions, rants, investigations, and interrogations of some of the most controversial figures in food."
I enjoyed Kitchen Confidential and Anthony Bourdain's very real and vivid anger. I find that I respond to people who write angrily, as I'm sure most of us do. My husband also enjoyed the book, as a huge fan of cooking and food. So, when our son spilled a container of mustard all over this book at Barnes and Noble, it was clearly a sign from the book gods that we were intended to buy it.
Medium Raw is a collection of essays relating to his previous book, his current life, the enemies and friends he's made, how he's changed over the years, and some updated thoughts on food and the people who work with it. Quite honestly, the best bits are his thoughts on food and the related industry. The chapter labeled Lust made me want to eat morning, noon, and night. A chapter regarding a man who worked fish prep for Eric Ripert's Le Bernardin is delightful for several reasons including Bourdain's own awe and respect for the man's skill. Bourdain manages very effectively to get across his feelings and his opinions when his essays relate to food. You can practically feel his weariness at the idea of tasting menus when you read the chapter on Per Se.
I was less impressed with his chapter on David Chang. Unlike the essays in which he slams a person eloquently (Alice Waters and Alan Richman get their own special chapters) so that you understand the hate in his heart, his chapter about David Chang is almost loving, but I have no further understand of that love than David himself is a hater. (Do haters like to stick together?)
Finally, his chapters on himself are more hit or miss. Some do not speak to me at all because I have no experience being either an underpaid, overworked, coked out chef or a very rich, powerful, and influential writer. Others, like his chapter on dancing with his two year old daughter, speak powerfully to me as it highlights the fact that having a child can change your whole life outlook.
I really can't recommend this book enough if you like books on food or the cooking industry. Also, read this if you like anger. I really do like anger when it is not directed at me.
Verdict: 9. It made me think and I enjoyed it. There are very few books that I could say more of.
Thoughts: While some of the book is cohesive and attempts to segue from one chapter to another, it really is best to treat each individual chapter as its own essay and leave it at that. Also, I love angry writing. I just identify with it so well.