Title: Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany
Author: Bill Buford
Heat's subtitle provides a thorough synopsis on its own. Bill Buford was a writer and editor for The New Yorker when he first embarked on his personal cooking odyssey. He begins by embedding himself in Mario Batali's kitchen at Babbo in New York, revealing the same pirate ship atmosphere Anthony Bourdain exposed in Kitchen Confidential. Curiosity eventually leads him to Italy to learn the old ways.
Buford covers a lot of bases on his journey from novice to master. He paints vivid portraits of all the colorful figures he meets in the culinary world. Ingredients and techniques are explored intimately. Food is the window to history, culture, the quirks of the mind and the passions of the soul. He reminds us that at its finest, great food is deeply sexy.
Heat is the sort of book that makes me want to learn more - always a strong sell. Occasionally, I feel Buford gets so bogged down in the details that the thread of the overall narrative is neglected for too long. But his enthusiasm for sharing his newly acquired wisdom is infectious. My own food knowledge lags far beyond that of my beloved. I expect that for her, part of the appeal of an adventure like Buford's is a thirst for comparable experiences of her own. I'm not ready to offer myself up as a kitchen slave at our local bistro but I can certainly appreciate the longing.
Please join us and share your own review of your best read from the past month. This month's link list is below. I'll keep it open until the end of the day. I'll post August's tomorrow. Meetings are the last Friday of each month. Next gathering is August 29th.