Fascinating essay in slate by the formidable Paul Levy, lamenting the bad-ass school of food writing propogated by the commercial success of Mr. Bourdain. [Thank you Sam.] Is this long-time, highly-respected and oft-honored food writer jealous? Out of touch with Truth of the Zeitgeist? A pinkie-raising anglophile? Or does he have a good point? I found it compelling. But I’m also skeptical. He uses Buford as an example of machismo in the kitchen, quoting from Heat (which, yes, I read and found absolutely compelling)—but his choice of material from Heat is Buford whining about getting burned as he’s putting short ribs into a rondeau of hot fat. That’s not machismo, that’s namby-pampy writer-boy complaining. So I think Mr. Levy is little bit sensitive. But who knows? Bourdain, if you’re conscious and sober, or even if you’re working yourself back to life with the day’s first Hurricane, defend yourself. Buford, you write too slow to waste any time reading blogs, but you’re taken to task here, as are your esteemed colleagues gopnik and mcphee.
Update: Coincidence or Bourdain backlash? In my mailbox today I found an envelope from a foodie friend named Lee, living in the Netherlands, containing a clip from the UK's The Mail on Sunday: scroll down to "It's asparagus, not a Taliban raid, Marco." Not quite sure what's going on here.