Thursday, 21 June 2012

Book Review: Heat, Bill Buford

Are you a foodie? Do you remember this guy?

The book basically follows an 'amateur' Bill Buford following the culinary discoveries of Mario. Mario had/has two restaurants in New York City that gained 3 stars. So it's serious business.

I got a glimpse into a world I would never, ever, otherwise peek into. Lack of interest, mainly, but lack of desire, lack of being a carnivore, lack of being a foodie.   If you tell me this dish you're about to serve me has chocolate in it, I'm good to go. That's about it.

It is disgusting. Very, very, disgusting. Want to know how your food is made, behind the scenes, when you pay $50.00 per entree? Want to really, realllllly know?  I'm warning you; you really don't. But, if you do... read Heat.  Then go to the restaurant.

What I liked about this book;

- I felt it was honest, unlike the Hells Kitchen TV show I never watched, but figured it's emphasized reality TV.  In Heat, Bill does tell you that there are some people who are screamers, and there are chefs who will tell you to 'Replate' if you did it wrong, even if you have a hundred orders behind you. But mostly, people are crazy, and passionate.  I believed that. I believe you have to be a little nutso to truly belong to your craft. Especially when your craft has you standing over fire for 14 hours a day.

- Bill spoke about vegetarians, and choosing to be vegetarian, with respect. He is CLEARLY a meat eater; but he KNOWS his meat. He went beyond the menu, learned about the calf, the cow, the bones, the muscles, the tissues, raw, cooked, brined, cured... he knows his meat. But, he talks about choosing to be vegetarian like it is a real choice. If you see/read what Bill has done, even he understands why a person would become vegetarian.

Here is a short excerpt I really liked;

"To my mind, vegetarians are amoung the few people who actually think about meat - at least THEY know what it is. I just believed people should know what they're eating. After all, at the green market, you overheard discussions about fertilizers and organic soils and how much freedom a chicken needs before it's free-range. Wouldn't it follow that you'd want to know what your meat is? And that's what I thought I was doing."
Bill Buford, Heat, Page 256.

He goes on to describe how people were being grossed out that he was carrying a freshly killed pig to his apartment. For the next week, he chopped and sliced and used -every- part of the pig, save the lungs. Only because, he needed a day off.

This book was thrust into my hands by someone I dearly love and trust, and even though she knows about my choices in life, if she wanted me to read this book -- I was going to read it. And I did. And I'm glad I did.

No comments:

Post a Comment