restaurants, books, and Hell's Kitchen

I don't know what I'll do for next week's edition of Half-Naked Thursday. Women have so many interesting parts that HNT is a natural for them. Men, on the other hand, tend to have mostly hairy or lumpy parts--sometimes both in the same place!--and who wants to look at hairy and lumpy?

Today I ordered 3 books from Amazon and they all follow the theme I established with the book I mentioned two days ago by Ruth Reichl.

The first is The Perfectionist: Life and Death in Haute Cuisine, by Rudolph Chelminski. This book is about the famous French chef Bernard Loiseau who took his own life 3 years ago. He was proprietor of La Ca'te d'Or in the provincial Burgundy town of Saulieu, a 3-star restaurant according to Michelin. Loiseau was quite famous in France and his death caused quite a stir. The author was a friend of Loiseau for decades and the book is supposed to be quite good at setting up the mileau of international cuisine and the pressures and pleasures of that life. (on clearance at Amazon for $7.99 in HC)

Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany which is by Bill Buford who obviously has a flair for drama--at least in regards to naming his book. The Dante quoting chef referred to in the title is Mario Batali who's a celebrity chef here in the US with a background in Italian cuisine. His public persona is of an exuberant nice guy--but this book paints a very different picture. LOL It should be an interesting read though I suspect that Buford got pretty much what he deserved. Anybody that volunteers (Buford was having a midlife crisis and decided that a new career in food was in the cards for himself but instead he suffered a lot then wrote this book) in a high level restaurant with no experience is going to get some pretty lousy treatment. Duh! And Buford did "research" for this book for 3 years! Batali's kitchen was just the start but what a start that must have been. LOL Working for a prima donna chef would be very close to being in Hell. No wonder there are Dante quotes flying here.

Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan is a little different. While it's about food, it's a more political book. Pollan writes about how our food is grown and produced in this book. The book has three parts. First Pollan talks about industrial farming, the n he moves to organic food, and lastly, how to hunt and gather food for oneself. I became interested in this book after reading an article by Pollan in Smithsonian where he extolled the virtues and crimes of corn production in the country. The current issue of Fortune has a nice article that dovetails with this about how Wal-mart is starting to support organic agriculture and other green industries. Good article. I read it today while waiting for my car's paperwork to be finished at the Hyundai dealership.

Is anyone else watching Hell's Kitchen on FOX? I only saw part of last season because Chef Ramsay got under my skin. He's so domineering and annoying. But this season I've stuck it out to the end (the final episode is next week) and I'm glad I kept watching. It's impressive how much the contestants grow in ability during the course of the season. There must be a great deal of instruction going on that we don't see on the show 'cause the budding chefs would never be able to grow in capability like they have otherwise. Besides, I like both the finalists, Heather and Virginia. They're cute. :-) Heather is the better chef but Virginia might be the better organizer...

That's Heather over there to the left. One gross thing about the contestants--almost every single one smokes! I keep thinking about how that smell will get in the food. Ickers! (sorry, Heather!)


carli said…
I'm intrigued by Omnivore's Dilemma, but I'm so terrified to read it! I do, however, love ordering multiple items from Amazon at once. Enjoy!
And no, Michele didn't send me. I came here of my own volition. Michele doesn't own me! Nobody owns me!
cyndy said…
I haven't watched Hells Kitchen....but it does sound interesting. I love Iron Chef America.
Hi from Michele
carli said…
I don't watch Hell's Kitchen, but have you seen Top Chef? Best reality show EVER. It's not on now but season 2 will start sometime late this year or early next year.
kenju said…
Sorry to skip you at Michele's, Dave. So I came to remedy that. I hardly ever watch food shows or read food books, but I just got a subscription to Gourmet Magazine. It was free - otherwise I would not be taking it. I just got the first issue and the recipes look great, mostly, but they are almost all too involved for me to attempt. I like simple foods (if I have to cook them)....LOL
JayneSays said…
You would like my friend/blogger Neena ( she is a great cook and has read these books and more, I think. She also posts great recipes.

I like your kayaking pictures! My husband and I kayak (but we have the pedal ones) and love it.
(yeah, yeah, Michele sent me . . .)
Virginia said…
I tried to watch Hells Kitchen once, but I just couldn't handle it! I LOVE your template though. We get hummingbirds at our house almost all year long and I love LOVE them!

Michele sent me!
Tracie said…
I have watched at Hell's Kitchen off and on, but Ramsey really does annoy me! It is funny, but I always noticed how they all smoke too!

Love your new header picture!

Michele sent me, and thanks also for the kind comment you left me.
I also read the current issue of Fortune on how Wal-mart is going Green, interesting read for sure. If interested Organically Speaking a Seattle base website has released a conversation with Michael Pollan podcast (audio conversation). Interesting tidbits on farmers markets, CSAs, and more!

Some Podcast Show Note Questions:

Q) Why the price difference between conventional food and organic and how do we go about bringing down organic food prices?

Q) How can small local organic farmers remain local in a capitalistic system?

Q) What is the "Food Web" you briefly touch on in your book, The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals.

All the best,

Holistic Conversations for a Sustainable World Who Share Your Passion for:

* high quality organic food
* natural, sustainable lifestyle
* ecology
* holistic health
Yaeli said…
The book about the Dante quoting chef sounds interesting! I'll have to try to get my hands on it.
Sorry to see your sunburn photo for HNT. Not too sure if I should get into the HNT phenomenon or not...
I'm definitely watching Hell's Kitchen : and watching it on the edge of my seat ! Can't stand Chef Ramsey but then again, need to watch his show like it's running out of fashion !

Michele sent me. Have a great weekend !
barbie2be said…
i tried watching hells kitchen but couldn't stick with it. my problem is with chef ramsey... (and many others out there). just because you suffered in the trenches and have come out on the other side doesn't give you permission to be a complete and total f*ckwad to everyone trying to learn behind you.

here from michele's today.
verniciousknids said…
Lots of bloggers seem to be reading "Heat" recently. I've had "Omnivore's Dilemma" on my wishlist for a while now!

And Michele did send me!
Jean-Luc Picard said…
Gordon Ramsey is on of those on my 'most irritating' list.

Michele sent me here.
Sandy said…
My brother's wish list looks a whole like yours - right down to the cute female chefs. ;) Of course, my brother is a chef. The sad truth is, there are more guys like Chef Ramsey in the kitchen that you'd think.

Michele sent me over today! Glad to be back for a visit. It's been too long.
Pearl said…
Looks like it's up to me to answer the HNT question...a tough job but I think I'm up for it. :)

Any part in the right composition and low raking light of close up can be beautiful. And hair's a good thing.

Michele sent me
Robin said…
I'm surprised to see such a low sampling of HK fans! We not only watch it, we watch the repeats before the new episode after watching it the week before! I am kind of pulling for Virginia in a way...she has really just held on by her fingernails, hasn't she? Heather probably feels she has it in the bag...

I sent me over the hummers!
Kim said…
Love Hell's Kitchen but missed a few episodes. Can't figure out why people keep going to that restaurant expecting to get a meal on time. Attention seekers, I guess!

Michele sent me!
panthergirl said…
I love Hell's Kitchen!! And I agree with Kim...why would anyone volunteer to either eat there, or work for him!!

Michele sent me today, Dave!

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