Anthony Bourdain is a very descriptive story teller. Using the written word to present his childhood interactions with food, you can vividly imagine his first experience with “stinky runny cheeses that smelled like a dead man’s feet.” Couldn’t you almost smell the salty air when he described the taste of his first salty oyster (“this glistening, vaguely sexual-looking object, still dripping and nearly alive”).
If he truly did experience this at the tender age of nine and honestly did not recoil at smelly food or the look of a goopy oyster fresh from the sea…..then he must indeed have been destined to make a living and relationship with fine foods and acquired taste cuisines.
Perhaps his calling was planted when he was young and impressionable, visiting France with his parents and being exposed to a very different culture than I was as a child in a blue collar American household. We didn’t equate sensuousness with food. At least it wasn’t evident to my young palate or outlook on life. But then my parents were not able to whisk me away for a month long vacation in France.
I am older than Anthony Bourdain by a mere 23 days. We grew up in very different circumstances. For his summer vacations he was exposed to watered down wine, oysters and tangy cheeses. Me on the other, well I was ferried to Atlantic City New Jersey, the two hour ride bringing me closer to the salty air and promise of salt water taffy, hot roasted peanuts from a boardwalk vendor, raspberry fudge and a seafood dinner of fried clams at Captain Starn’s restaurant.
I am presenting one of my favorite French dishes, Chicken Chasseur, in honor of this book. The cookbook info and recipe for this delectable dish may be found at Squirrel Head Manor.