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Paul Levy

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Bourdain’s ‘Spin’ Essay Is Pretty Thin Soup

Anthony Bourdain
No offense to one of our favorite writers, but Anthony Bourdain’s stories are starting to become as rehashed as the specials he warned us against ordering in Kitchen Confidential.. Yes, Tony, we know that during the year 1977, you were shooting up, listening to punk, and hitting the after-hours clubs — as we’re reminded in this essay in the latest issue of Spin. And we know about “the bathroom of CBGB, awash in turds, glassine bags, condoms, and used works.” (This may have been what Paul Levy meant about bravado-filled writing.) We’ll say this, though: Even if Bourdain’s essay doesn’t say anything new (couldn’t he have at least looted his boss’s charcuterie during the blackout?), the piece is worth a look just for the photo of the man sporting a machete and locks reminiscent of Howard Stern. We can just imagine the “bitter, delicious taste of heroin in the back of [his] throat”! Eat to the Beat [Spin] Related: British Toff Decries the Coarseness of Modern Food Writing

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British Toff Decries the Coarseness of Modern Food Writing

We’re still scratching our heads over an essay in Slate today, in which a British journalist, fretting over what he considers the unseemliness of today’s food writing, declares himself out of the game. Is it for real? Something about the piece had the whiff of a put-on, like Ernie Kovacs’s poet character, Percy Dovetonsils, or one of those stuffy authority figures who get hit with a pie in a TV commercial appealing to teenagers. “The food writing that’s in vogue today consists chiefly of a bellow of bravado,” writes Paul Levy, formerly of the British newspaper The Observer. Today’s food writers, he says, “thrive on the undertow of violence they detect in the professional kitchen, and like to linger on the unappetizing aspects of food preparation. The gross-out factor trumps tasting good as well as good taste.” Is he kidding?

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