Anthony Bourdain's A Cook's Tour

Longing to spend your summer traveling the world, but strapped for cash? Want to find a way to sample intriguing and pure foods with names you can’t pronounce while preserving your budget? Sate your appetite for travel and exotic cuisine without breaking the bank this summer. Dig into Anthony Bourdain’s A Cook’s Tour and immerse yourself in all things international as Bourdain wanders the world on his pilgrimage to culinary Mecca.

As he scours the Earth in search of the "perfect" meal, Bourdain explores the food diversity between different countries and the ignorance of the American culture. From foie gras to bacalao, from Moscow to Hanoi, and from tipsy to inebriated, Bourdain embarks on an appetizing journey around the world.

Writer, traveler, chef, television host -- Anthony Bourdain is a talented New Yorker who provokes thought and spreads his love for food through his books, travels, and impressive resume. Author of 2000’s Kitchen Confidential, Bourdain’s eloquence resounds throughout all of his concoctions -- both literary and culinary. Although his penchant to unapologetically speak his mind renders him a somewhat controversial figure, his emphasis on eating pure food, and taking a hint from cultures that preserve tradition and live in unity with nature, aligns with what better and healthier eating is all about.

Throughout his book, Bourdain comments on the arrogance of American culture and the wide chasm that divides American families. Bourdain argues that eating meals with family, living physically near food sources, and resisting change at the expense of tradition are absent from the American dining experience, a lesson we Americans might consider. According to Bourdain, because those components are absent in American culture, Americans disregard the importance of preparing and eating pure food.

Bourdain’s lighter but no less significant observations include experiencing the different ways cultures revere, serve, and eat food. In Tokyo, Bourdain adheres to strict dining etiquette as he partakes in a kaiseki meal, or Japanese haute cuisine including sea cucumber and lobster. Spanish dining divides Spanish men and women, as the men obey proper food preparation techniques and participate in rituals of singing and fist pounding. Morocco offers Bourdain an entirely different experience as Moroccans bake bread twice a day, ceremoniously cleanse before mealtime, and eat without utensils. Vietnamese values of land and family influence the country’s food as Bourdain loses himself in Cai Rang floating markets where coffee, baguettes and beef noodle dishes are served to customers in riverboats. In Saigon, Vietnamese dining includes street markets and a French-Vietnamese restaurant where Bourdain gorges himself on shrimp crackers and asparagus soup. All of these culinary traditions and more await your delectation as soon as you delve into this book.

Bourdain offers audiences a comprehensive historical, cultural, and culinary perspective on myriad cities around the world in A Cook’s Tour. He highlights the ignorance of the American culture, the diverse dining experiences of different cultures, and whets our appetites for seemingly repulsive foods. A food purist and advocate for understanding other cultures in order to understand our own, this culinary "bad boy" embarks on an international hunt for the best food in the world, a journey that we can experience this season without draining our bank accounts.

Story by Sarah Greenberg. Sarah is a yoga enthusiast, and University of Maryland student.

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