Something is Cooking

Anthony Bourdain has become quite the celebrity in the past couple of years. After his memoir Kitchen Confidential was published and zoomed to best-seller status, his previous career as a restaurant chef morphed into that of a celebrity author and TV cooking show host.

Bourdain, in case you haven't read his books (he has now penned three food-themed titles), is not a reserved individual. A native New Yorker, he's the sort of loud-mouthed "sex & drugs & rock 'n' roll" character that your mother warned you about. A bad influence, for sure. But oh what a wonderfully entertaining writer he is. Bourdain combines humor and outrageous antecdotes with skillfull prose. His latest book, The Nasty Bits, is a collection of essays and magazine articles that he has thrown together; a literary stew, if you will. In one essay Bourdain writes about the continual problem of finding good help to work in restaurant kitchens. But he raves about workers from "south of the border" (Mexicans, Ecuadorans, Salvadorans) as being the best and most dependable of all the ones he has worked with during his three decades in the restaurant business. He suggests, somewhat glibly, that the US should offer unrestricted immigration to those from Central and South American countries.

"It was once said that this is the land of the free. There is, I believe, a statue out there in the harbor with something written on it about 'Give me your hungry...your oppressed...pretty much everybody' - that's the way I remember it, anyway. The idea of America is a mutt-culture, isn't it? We are - and should be - a big, messy, anarchistic polygot of dialects and accents and different skin tones. Like our kitchens. We need MORE Latinos to come here. And they should, whenever possible, impregnate our women."

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