01820: Meeting You Through Books

The week that PJ died, it seemed highly ironic that I was in the middle of reading Machine of Death, which was a collection of short stories based around the premise that a machine exists that can predict how you'll die, but not when. And despite the cryptic little prediction, you'll still be surprised how things will end for you. Talk about ironic.

To sort of wash away the weird feeling of that juxtoposition of real life and fiction, I consciously decided to get to finally reading my copy of Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain. So yeah, after reading a book about the different ways one can die, I was more than ready to read a book about the life of a chef.

I've been quite the fan of Anthony Bourdain's food and travel programs over the years and so the book was something that I had picked up some time ago as part of a Kindle Daily Deal.  And since I started reading the book yesterday, I have to admit I'm pretty mesmerized. Sure I knew the book had been quite the success (including a failed effort to maintain it as a TV show), but I wasn't prepared for how good a writer he is. And it's not because of prose or complex words or anything like that. He's very plain and honest in his writing and you can totally imagine him narrating the book in his distinct voice as you two share a meal in some exotic back alley cafe somewhere. It's a pretty interesting book that reveals a lot about the kitchen life that may or may not apply to all restaurants out there.

I wonder if PJ ever got to read this book - people didn't always realize that he was quite the reader. Sure, he had a ridiculous collection of cook books like any other chef, but he had his share of fiction, too. And whether or not he read this one, somehow the experience of reading it is helping me better understand this side of his life in a roundabout way. It may not be accurate to his specific experiences as a chef, but at least it's something that I can take in and relish through the joys of reading.

I'm working on downloading Bourdain's various TV shows now. I've always been a bit of a completist.
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