Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Anthony Bourdain AMA on Reddit

I absolutely love the work that Anthony Bourdain does. To me, he's the man who gave the Travel Channel the much needed kick in the pants. Now that he's left Travel, he's doing work with CNN and ABC. Recently, he did an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit. It's basically just a glorified Q&A session, but it's also a lot more candid. In the AMA, he talks about his past as a drug addict, his work with television and writing, and his more recent ventures given his departure from the Travel Channel. Here are some of the more interesting questions asked by Reddit to Tony:

Q: What is something you never want to taste again?
A: Methadone

Q: What kind of person were you in your twenties? What were your goals and do you think you would have ever imagined you'd be where you are now?
A: I was a complete asshole. Selfish, larcenous, druggy, loud, stupid, insensitive and someone you would not want to have known. I would have robbed your medicine cabinet had I been invited to your house.

Q: You've said before that you are kind of overprotective of your daughter. If she decides that she wants to get into the culinary industry and become a chef, what would your reaction be?
A: Horror. Fear. Eventually pride that she'd want to do such a difficult thing.

Q: What does Tony Bourdain make himself for breakfast these days? What do you like cooking for your family?
A: I love cooking omelettes with my daughter.

Q: Which was harder to master? The art of cooking or the art of writing?
A: Cooking professionally is hard work. Writing is a privilege and a luxury. Anybody who whines about writers block should be forced to clean squid all day.

Q: You openly admit to being an ex-addict. Plenty of ex-addicts can't drink at all, because if they do it tumbles into drugs again. How are you able to still drink and continue to live your lifestyle without slipping? A: I am a VERY unusual case. You are correct. Most people who kick heroin and cocaine have to give up on everything. Maybe cause my experiences were so awful in the end, I've never been tempted to relapse.
Q:(A followup from the last question) What would you say your best/worst experience was on drugs?
A: Combing the shag carpet for paint chips in the hope that they were fallen crack bits. Smoking them anyway.

Q: How did you manage to get Alton Brown to a strip club, and then make him say "Make it rain"?
A: My proudest accomplishment. Watching Alton Brown at the Clermont. Im sure the people at Food Net were browning their shorts.

Q: Considering you and Ted Nugent are from pretty much opposite ends of the spectrum, what was it like to have him on your show? Did y'all joke around off camera?
A: I'm proud of the fact that I can be friends with someone with whom I disagree violently about absolutely everything.

Q: You seem to really hate Paula Deen, but do you like southern food that is not prepared by her? What is your favorite dish if you do?
A: The South is where the greatest American traditional food comes from. It's the cradle of American gastronomy. I reject the notion that what Paula was selling is traditional Southern food. Cheeseburger on a Krispie Kreme bun? Nobody's Grandma I ever heard of EVER made that shit.

There's a lot more that can be found here. I highly recommend reading his books and watching his shows. His book, Kitchen Confidential is a MUST READ for anyone considering going into the food industry.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Out of the Butts of Beavers

A friend on facebook posted an article from The Huffington Post that can be found here

You don't have to look very hard to find articles about food that shock the reader. And why shouldn't they be written? They generate a lot of views, and therefore ad revenue. Every now and then, they are also party to raising awareness on food issues that eventually lead to changes in the law. One of the "shocking" slides that particularly caught my attention was about Castoreum; a secretion from beavers near the anus that is used to flavor teas, juices, yogurts, etc.

What? Why beavers? Who thought of this? How did this discovery come into being? Who is farming this stuff from them?

Flavor Ingregients by George A Burdock claims that the industry consumes about 250lbs of this stuff every year, and that instead of being labeled as "castoreum", it's listed as "natural flavorings". What the hell is that supposed to mean? There's an endless list of what counts as a natural flavoring, and you just might be consuming anal secretion if that label is there?

At first, the HuffPo article got the intended reaction out of me, which was disgust. But after some thought, I wondered "do I really care about this?". No, no I don't. I already eat fungus (mushrooms), aged lactate from other mammals (cheese), snails, and I've even eaten crickets. Why not throw beaver butt juice to the mix?

On a side note, ladies, why not woo your man this valentines day with this perfume? The scent of beaver fruity vanilla will be irresistible to him.