Those of you who’ve read this before know that I’m a glutton for food reads. This started with a love of Anthony Bourdain, who is a ribald chef, a constant traveler with an apparently insatiable hunger, a tall, chain smoking, leather jacket wearing tv show host and most importantly to me, an absolutely stellar writer. I have spent entire nights (I’m talking start after dinner and then discover the sun’s on its way up kind of entire nights) watching Tony Bourdain’s show No Reservations on the Travel Channel. There is something about a super hot chain smoking hipster-esque guy who I can tell at first sight has been there and done that going to a small town in the arctic circle and going seal hunting and then joins the family to devour the seal that day around the kitchen floor. The next hour he’s eating street food in some completely foreign city at three am after drinking men three times his size under the table. All the while Bourdain is narrating his experience in wry yet amazingly heartfelt sentiments. His style fits perfectly with my perspective in this way.
The first Bourdain book I read is A Cooks Tour, which is a book-based version of his show. He writes each chapter as a foray into the gastronomy of a different travel. He goes two or maybe three times to Vietnam, and finishes the book strong by visiting California’s northern coast which is known for it’s vegetarians and health food fanaticism (Bourdain is a well-known carnivore and berater of the veggie/vegan lifestyle). It’s wonderful in his humbly dry astonishment of local cuisine. He never ceases to find something new and amazing about eating food, but the caveat is that it must be made with love and consideration. He eats and enjoys with the same consciousness and zest.
The Nasty Bits is the book I’m reading now, and it is, in the style of Bourdain’s previous books, a delicious account of eating around. I have been reading it slowly, as life has started to pick up and I spend less time cooking soup, baking
bread and reading and more time running to a million concerts, dealing with never ending car repairs, working my fool head off and in general enjoying the longer days, but the small amounts of time I get to read lends itself perfectly to The Nasty Bits with its perfect anecdotal chapters that read as short stories (more or less a trademark of Bourdain’s writing, which I’m sure stems from his experiences being sectioned off into hour long television shows). It starts off with a section about the ability of professional cooks to make something out of nothing, to fix that which is broken with not a single part from a factory let alone a repair or maintenance manual, and the ability to take the food which would ideally feed 10-20, with the help of unexpected and less demanded ingredients and a lot of knowledge of flavors and culinary texture, all of a sudden become 100 completely satisfying and delicious dinners.
In other news, life and music in Big Sur (and surrounding environs) has picked up dramatically. This past weekend Britt, the amazing producer and promoter who brings us his always-seamless FolkYeah events, brought Big Sur a weekend of female-powered music (a fact not lost on this little Smith educated feminist). After two SPECTACULAR shows at Fernwood, Big Sur was all rocked out, so he took his show on the road (Britt always seems to be in LA or Sonoma and I know that eventually I’ll be getting his iPhone emails from other continents as well). Unlike before, when Britt took his show on the road, I went with him. I traveled down to Los Osos with the FolkYeah team, as well as two of my good friends from here in Big Sur, Jamie and Alison, to offer food to the bands of the show (White Magic and Bonnie “Prince” Billy) as well as the hungry concertgoers at the Los Osos Community Center. It was a magical time down south with some wonderful people, and now I am happy to be home among the poppies in Big Sur. It’s just a small taste for me of what the summer will bring. I hope you’re all ready for summer at the Henry Miller Library!