cover image A Cook's Tour: Global Adventures in Extreme Cuisines

A Cook's Tour: Global Adventures in Extreme Cuisines

Anthony Bourdain. Harper Perennial, $14.99 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-06-001278-6

In this paperback reprint, swashbuckling chef Anthony Bourdain, author of the bestselling Kitchen Confidential (which famously warned restaurant-goers against ordering fish on Mondays), travels where few foodies have thought to travel before in search of the perfect meal: the Sputnik-era kitchen of a""less-than-diminutive"" St. Petersburg matron, the provincial farmhouse of a Portuguese pig-slaughterer and the middle of the Moroccan desert, where he dines on""crispy, veiny"" lamb testicles. Searching for the""perfect meal,"" Bourdain writes with humor and intelligence, describing meals of boudin noir and Vietnamese hot vin lon (""essentially a soft-boiled duck embryo"") and 'fessing up to a few nights of over-indulgence (""I felt like I'd awakened under a collapsed building,"" he writes of a night in San Sebastian hopping from tapas bar to tapas bar). Goat's head soup, lemongrass tripe, and pork-blood cake all make appearances, as does less exotic fare, such as French fries and Mars bars (deep fried, but still). In between meals, Bourdain lets his readers in on the surprises and fears of a well-fed American voyaging to far-off, frugal places, where every part of an animal that can be eaten must be eaten, and the need to preserve food has fueled culinary innovation for centuries. He also reminds his audience of the connections between food and land and human toil, which, in these sterilized days of pre-wrapped sausages, is all too easy to forget.