December 8, 2006

Weekend Reading: Heat by Bill Buford

If you can't stand the Heat...well, maybe there's something wrong with you.

1400041201.01._AA240_SCLZZZZZZZ_V56508045_I came across excerpts from Bill Buford's excellent book about his experience as an apprentice to a Dante-quoting Tuscan butcher in The New Yorker, and couldn't stop talking about it for months. His account of ordering a pig from Union Square's Greenmarket, and transporting it home over the front tire of his Vespa scooter is just incredible.

Writes celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain,

Heat is a remarkable work on a number of fronts--and for a number of reasons. First, watching the author, an untrained, inexperienced and middle-aged desk jockey slowly transform into not just a useful line cook--but an extraordinarily knowledgable one is pure pleasure....

Secondly, the book is a long overdue portrait of the real Mario Batali and of the real Marco Pierre White--two complicated and brilliant chefs whose coverage in the press--while appropriately fawning--has never described them in their fully debauched, delightful glory....

Thirdly, Heat reveals a dead-on understanding--rare among non-chef writers--of the pleasures of "making" food; the real human cost, the real requirements and the real adrenelin-rush-inducing pleasures of cranking out hundreds of high quality meals. One is left with a truly unique appreciation of not only what is truly good about food--but as importantly, who cooks--and why.

The full title of Buford's book is Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany.

Buy it at Amazon.

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Posted by Jess Brooks at December 8, 2006 7:52 AM

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