Thursday, August 13, 2009

If You Can't Stand the Heat...

Onto the next cooking-themed library book! It's called Heat by Bill Buford. It's half autobiographical about Buford and the other half biographical about Mario Batali. Oddly, the day before I started reading this book I saw a Chefography episode about Mario Batali on the Food Network. However, on Chefography they didn't include all the obscene quotes from Mario as well as all the details about the drugs he has done. Not surprising, I suppose.

I'm particularly fascinated by the chapters on Buford. He is an accomplished home cook and gets the opportunity to work in Batali's restaurant, Babbo. Right now in the book he's pretty much floundering and attempting to figure out how to hold his own in a restaurant. Mostly his issue is that he's too slow in comparison to anyone who has actual training. Reminds me of the scene from Julie & Julia where Meryl Streep/Julia Child starts off at cooking school cutting the onions slowly and carefully.

It definitely gives you a unique perspective about how things work back there in the kitchen. For instance, Batali pulled food out of the garbage that he thought someone was wasting and then they actually used that food! Not exactly appetizing. Also, when someone sent food back at Babbo (which probably rarely happens), everyone in the kitchen tasted the dish to see if the person had a right to send it back. Then Batali said he wanted the person's name so they could never come back to Babbo, but once he found out they were drinking a $475 bottle of wine, he changed his tune. Ha!


  1. OMG SO weird, and interesting! I need to read it. Stupid downtown library is so far away.

  2. Should I read it? should our book club? Had a wonderful chicken waldorf salad sandwich today at Coastal Catering (new). Add walnuts and chopped apples to chicken salad and it's yummy!

  3. I don't think it's really a book club type of book, but I like it a lot. I am almost done at this point. You might find it interesting because there is a focus on how food is really cooked in Italy and the traditions there.

  4. i read this a couple years ago. i was on a foodie book kick and read a bunch in a row. 'kitchen confidential' is awesome, and 'garlic & sapphires' was entertaining. that one was written by the former nytimes food critic and you will never want to eat so badly as when she describes food in that book ... she used to wear full-on costumes when she dined out so the restaurant wouldn't recognize her and give her special treatment.


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