Books about food, I’ve started to believe, are really self-help books in disguise–primers on personal growth for those who wouldn’t be caught dead with The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Each maps a path to happiness: master every challenge, cherish your friends, trust your instincts, respect the natural world. Reading Anthony Bourdain, one message drowns out all others: “Eat the cobra heart!” As the title of his latest book implies, The Nasty Bits: Collected Varietal Cuts, Usable Trim, Scraps, and Bones (Bloomsbury) corrals previously published miscellany to broadcast his philosophy: take risks, seize the day, grab life by the tits! Belligerent, hungover, street-smart, and for the most part blisteringly funny, the author of Kitchen Confidential turns tour guide here, burning from Vegas to Vietnam and back to his beloved New York and eating everything along the way. Now the host of the Travel Channel’s No Reservations, Bourdain is as much a celebrity and commodity as the brand-name chefs he’s scorned in the past. If The Nasty Bits lacks the underdog glee that made his debut such a juicy read, it shows he’s developed, if possible, even more joie de vivre. Tue 5/30, 7 PM, Borders, 830 N. Michigan, 312-573-0564.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Robert Discalfani.