Just before Xmas I received a mysterious package. I wasn't expecting anything...I don't get many presents in the mail anymore. When I opened the plain brown box, I discovered a copy of The Nasty Bits by Anthony Bourdain. Oh joy! Months before, I had filled out an online form to receive the book for free. I have no recollection of why the site was making the offer...hell, I don't even remember the site.
Anyway, I finally started reading it a few weeks ago, and it lives up to and exceeds his Travel Channel show, No Reservations. He's a got a Noo Yawk punk attitude--bitterness, irreverent seriousness, and curiosity--about food and the places he goes to find it. Great stuff.
The other day I tweaked my dear friend Missus Tanya about her pro-Bourdain post. This is because T is a big fat (or skinny) vegetarian. And if you've watched the show or read his books, you know that Mr. Bourdain is against the veggie people because he doesn't think you should limit your eating curiosity to non-meat items. (See his scathing take on Woody Harrelson and the raw food movement included in full in this book.) As a fully recovered vegetarian I have to agree.
Aren't people who quit something--whether quitting meat or smoking, or even quitting not eating meat--the most annoying? They always feel the need to heckle the other side--often with little or no humor about it--as I am doing now (hopefully with some humor). But I do it with love as I remember all too clearly my family making me the butt of all food jokes during my 10 year sentence as a vegetarian. ("If he gets hungry on the way, we can just pull over to the side of the road and let him gnaw on a tree!" Much laughter and looking to see how the vegetarian will react.)
So I am on a plane reading the book and I had a laugh-out-loud moment. Bourdain is in shock when he is in a dingy old London pub and he discovers that, not only do they have a gourmet menu and call themselves a "Gastro-Pub," but
"A good pub should never have fine food. What's wrong with a good meat pie? Black pudding? Sausages? Shepherd's pie is a beautiful thing. I don't want truffles in it! And a vegetarian menu? In a pub? Vegetarians in a pub? For their own good, vegetarians should never be allowed near fine beers and ales. It will only make them loud and belligerent, and they lack the physical strength and aggressive nature to back up any drunken assertions."
Bah dum dump. Good stuff. Mrs. T is the one person who jumped into a fight with me many years ago, so I would never accuse her of not having an aggressive nature. But still, it's a good joke.