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Book Review: No Reservations

Every Wednesday I review a cookbook and/or food related books to help weed out the good the bad and the ugly. This week I am reviewing No Reservations: Around the World on an Empty Stomach by Anthony Bourdain.

I am a huge fan of Bourdain, I have all of his books. I enjoy all of them. Amazingly enough, this book was signed by Anthony Bourdain himself.  I ran into him at the DC Central Kitchen Food Fight.  He was hosting it with Jose Andreas.  He is one tall man with cowboy boots on.

I will not the celebrity encounter hinder my review of this book.

No Reservations is photo book of Bourdain’s journeys while hosting the TV show No Reservations. I decided to do this review in a question/answer format. You will see why.

Is it a cookbook? No. No recipes included.

Does it contain words? Yes, but very little. Mostly are captions. The book is broken up into sections by continents that Bourdain visited. Bourdain does include a little intro with each chapter reminiscing about the places he visited that relate to the chapter. Descriptive? Not really. Mostly lost thoughts. To me it was more reminiscent of Jack Handy more than Anthony Bourdain. Each picture also has a caption. Although they all are not that descriptive. Take for instance this one, “women with shea nuts at market”, or “working the sandwich counter at Salumi”. If you love one liners this book is for you.

Does it have pictures? Yes. Are they good? Some are. Most are taken indoors or at night and are pretty poor in quality. They are either over or under exposed, poor color and some are just not that focused. For a book of pictures I wanted to see some better ones. But, there is a but, there are some amazing pictures in this book. The picture show a story about food and about culture. Plus, there is a food porn section starting on page 239. The pictures are about the same quality as the others, but you can see enough to make yourself hungry.

Overall this book seems quickly pushed together. Like they just wanted to get another book out. For a coffee table book that is full of images, this book falls quite short. I would totally recommend this book if it had great photos throughout, but it doesn’t. As a fan of Bourdain this book is really disappointing. If you love Bourdain, pick it up. You will see a lot of photos of him exploring the world. But if you want a great coffee table book, I would pass.

No Reservations is available wherever books are sold and is available on Amazon here.


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