I'm excited to start this new project, cooking out of Anthony Bourdain's last cookbook "Appetites". It's a project born completely out of "shelter at home". I'm actually really enjoying this time to myself, I'm rediscovering new passions that I haven't had time for, one of them being cooking.
I don't even remember when I first discovered Bourdain, it's as if I was just always a fan. I grew up eating street during my summer visits to my extended family in Taiwan and Bourdain made ethnic food and street food accessible to the general public.
This project was inspired by the movie and book Julie and Julia, the true story of Julie Powell, who blogged about her experience cooking through Julia Childs "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" in one year.
Her task was certainly more daunting than ours. First of all, I am partnering up with Kiki to cook the recipes and split Bourdain's cookbook in half. I haven't yet counted the recipes in his cookbook but if I were to guess offhand, I would say that there are roughly 50 recipes.
Julia Child's Cookbook has 524 recipes and Powell cooked them all in one year while working a full time job. We, conversely, are quarantined at home with an abundance of free time. Anyhow, it's not a competition but I am just highly impressed at Powell's commitment to her year long project.
One thing that'll we'll be doing differently from Powell's project is that we'll be filming each of the recipes on TikTok, which will be fairly time consuming.
This project is of course, an homage to Bourdain. I feel a connection to him, similarly, he also overcame a drug addiction but it's not clear whether he is in recovery or not. My innate feeling is that his recovery was related to his suicide in some way. He was not sober, as we regularly saw him drinking on his tv shows. I'm not going to dive into this however, it's none of my business and its not the place to discuss this.
His cookbook features the recipes that he cooked in his regular life, for his friends and family.
The book starts off with breakfast, as Bourdain was a short order brunch cook for much of his early chef career, and the first recipe is scrambled eggs. I'm not much of a scrambled eggs person. I think that the only time that I have scrambled eggs is at a buffet where it's only egg option.
If given the choice, I'll always opt for a version of the egg with the yolk intact, whether it be sunny side up or poached, etc. Scrambled eggs rob me of the decadent reward of splitting open golden yolk of the egg, watching it slowly ooze onto the plate, coating my bacon and home fries with its luscious butteriness.
However, scrambled eggs are fun to cook! His version is simple, just flavored with salt, pepper, and whole butter. I'd never cooked scrambled eggs with butter before and it filled my kitchen with a nutty essence that lingered for a few hours.
Ugh! Of course in the preparation of the scrambled eggs I failed to take a photo, so here's a shitty screenshot .
I can't wait to dive into the recipes in the book! In his introduction Bourdain writes "I became a father at fifty years of age....for me it was just right." It's interesting. I've never wanted kids, but the thought has crossed my mind once or twice in my life that the only time that I would be ready to raise kids would be after 50. Even then I couldn't see myself having kids. I imagine that Bourdain felt the same way at my age. I believe that we have the same restless wandering spirit that wants to explore the world.
Similarly, Julia Childs also had a late start in life. She never had kids and didn't enroll in culinary school until she was 37 years old. She later went on to publish her cookbook, one of the most famous in the world and of course host her own cooking show. I definitely want to cook her legendary beef bourguignon at some point during this grand experiment! Next up I'll be cooking Bourdain's eggs benedict!