Kitchen Confidential: The Humble Beginnings

“But God protects fools and drunks, and we were certainly both foolish and drunk much of the time.”

—Anthony Bourdain, Kitchen Confidential

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Homemade macaroni and cheese topped with crumbles of bread.

In the “First Course” of Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain serves up a tale of his early culinary life. From the first taste of cold soup just after fourth grade to his graduation (and early successes) from culinary school, Bourdain’s image of the chef and life in the professional kitchen is, in a word, sensational. Bourdain’s descriptions of cooks strike me as something akin to describing all journalists as Hunter S. Thompsons (who, coincidentally, was an early idol of Bourdain’s, to absolutely no one’s surprise), but the idea that life in the kitchen could be so exciting certainly wooed this reader. Continue reading

Pasta and bread on a plate.

Is Vegetarianism Really Ethical?

“The moral rules of destroying our fellow biota get even more tangled, the deeper we go. If we draw the okay-to-kill line between “animal” and “plant,” and thus exclude meat, fowl, and fish from our diet on moral grounds, we still must live with the fact that every sack of flour and every soybean-based block of tofu came from a field where countless winged and furry lives were extinguished in the plowing, cultivating, and harvest.”

–Barbara Kingsolver, “You Can’t Run Away on Harvest Day”

I have never been a big fan of vegetables–unless you count broccoli drowned in melted cheese or potatoes in all of their glorious forms. (French fries are totally a vegetable, right?) It’s no surprise that I failed when my vegetarian brother challenged me to see how long I could go without eating meat. I made it a total of four days, that is, until my parents made breakfast for dinner. Without hesitation, I quit the challenge the second the smell of my dad’s juicy bacon hit my nose.

I can see why a person might choose to be a vegetarian. First, a vegetarian diet has health benefits. Well, it should have health benefits, but that is if you actually eat vegetables. (I was more of a pastatarian than a vegetarian.) Another reason, and probably the most popular reason, is because of moral beliefs. Many people are uncomfortable with the idea of having an animal killed for their eating pleasure instead of necessity. In addition to being killed, often times these animals live in awful conditions up until their death. These animals are purposely fed too much and are kept in tight, overcrowded spaces. Continue reading