I love books about cooking, the science behind making food, and the nitty gritty of the restaurant, farming, and food complex industries. So imagine my delight when I saw an Anthony Bourdain book I hadn’t heard about, much less read. I loved The Nasty Bits, I’ve followed Bourdain since Kitchen Confidential, his take no prisoners style and strong opinions never made him fall prey to the elitism of others in the chef cult of personality (looking your way, Michael Pollan). I couldn’t wait to read more Bourdain, particularly in light of the fact that we don’t GET any more.
I’m really sorry, but there’s a reason this book isn’t well known. I hadn’t realized it was fiction, and as much as I love Anthony Bourdain, this book just doesn’t feel like him.
Bone in the Throat follows Tommy, a cook, and his mobbed up relative, who is something of a joke to his associates. Said mobster uses Tommy to off an associate inside of Tommy’s restaurant after hours, and Tommy has to balance underworld dealings, a recovering addict chef, and the fact that the mob used the sous chef’s prized knife to dispose of a body, ruining it in the process.
This is obviously based in Bourdain’s world given the restaurant setting, but the distance of fiction mutes his voice, and Bourdain’s authorial voice is his strongest suit. It’s not a miserable book, I didn’t hate reading it, but it definitely felt like the Monday morning fish special – I’ve seen this before, it’s not that fresh.
Thus, it no longer has a place on my shelf(-ie). But! Look how much progress I’ve made on the unread bookshelf! It’s not stuffed to the gills anymore!