So last night the latest edition of Wine Selector magazine hit the doorstep of Stately Prick Manor. On the cover: Anthony Bourdain, the self-styled hard-living, heavy-drinking, smokes-like-a-chimney bad boy of food. Like any good cook Bourdain loves his food and hates the big fast food chains. Fair enough. He’s also, over the past decade, made a small fortune by casting himself as the Christopher Hitchens of the kitchen, enjoying life to the full and skewering those who would stand in the way with an elegant flick of the pen.
Which is why it was so disappointing to read him tell Wine Selector his views on fast food.
“I don’t think this is an argument that can be won on facts. We’ve been publishing the nutritional ingredient list for years. Has it affected waistlines? Not at all…
“If people eat at those places, marginalise them, tax them. A fat tax is inevitable. Treat fast food like cigarettes. On every McDonald’s hamburger packet there should be a picture of some 700 pound guy wedged into his bathtub trying to wash himself with a sponge on the end of a stick, with some abscess where a chicken bone got stuck in a fold. That would be pretty cool.”
Ironically, or perhaps without any sense of irony, he goes on to lament that Australia’s street food culture is hampered by a culture of over-regulation.
Bourdain’s got quite a turn of phrase, and this may be nothing but a bit of “look at me!” hyperbole. It could be he’s channelled his ex-junkie’s zeal in another direction. Or it could be that as a celebrity he’s read the wind and figures that if you can’t beat the statists, join them. In any case, it’s disappointing to see that even food heroes can have feet of clay.
Or perhaps in this case, pigeons baked in clay.
Dunno about Bourdain. I just finished reading “Kitchen Confidential”. Very amusing (his description of his CIA training brought back eloquent memories of Regency Park School of Food & Catering in 1976). But something doesn’t gel. Tattooed gangstas cooking in fly-blown Mafia kitchens … hmmm.