Thursday, July 20, 2006

July Editor's Pick (Books): Les Halles Cookbook by Anthony Bourdain

I know what you're thinking: "A cookbook?" Before you start clicking, hear me out. This is no ordinary cookbook.

Best known as the globe-trotting loudmouthed chef from his TV shows on the Food and Travel networks ("A Cook's Tour" and "No Reservations" respectively), Anthony Bourdain is something of a rarity in the TV world. He holds no punches, admits to many vices and wholely resists the kind of vaneer that most TV chefs seem to thrive on. He's a foul-mouthed wise-ass, and proud of it.

Now you will believe me when I say that his cookbook is far from the standard collection of recipes. You will believe that statement even more after I've mentioned that, underneath the book's unassuming dust jacket lies an embossment of a skull in a chef hat, biting a chef's knife which happens to be dripping with some unknown liquid. See? I told you so.

On the whole, this cookbook is first and foremost a great read-- even the recipes are entertaining. The best part, though, is that as entertaining as it is, this book still manages to hold quality and approachable recipes to some of the more common recipes found and loved in bistros and brasseries the world over, including the titular restaurant itself. It's like cooking with a friend at your side... a mercilessly snarky one at that.

Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook (Strategies, Recipes, and Techniques of Classic Bistro Cooking) by Anthony Bourdain

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