Iconic Literary Food Moments

This year, cooking legend, writer and author Anthony Bourdain passed away, so it seemed timely to dedicate an Iconic Literary Moment to him.

Many remember Bourdain as a chef and producer of cookbooks, but he was also an author and writer of short stories. So it is not surprising that he incorporated a litany of great food moments into his works.

The quote we choose for this episode hails from his first novel, set in the mafia’s kitchen in Little Italy New York, Bone in the Throat, which was later adapted as a movie. The mind boggles at the scenarios a Mafia kitchen could offer a writer – if only the chopping board could talk. Needless to say, serving customers may not always have been a priority.

“No veal chop? No pasta? How about sausages? I thought this supposed to be some kind fancy French restaurant. You don’t got any fuckin’ sausages?”

The thing with Anthony Bourdain, is that there are just too many scrumptious foody quotes to stop at one, so we compiled a few more classics for the record.

“Food is everything we are. It’s an extension of nationalist feeling, ethnic feeling, your personal history, your province, your region, your tribe, your grandma. It’s inseparable from those from the get-go.”

“Life without stock is barely worth living, and you will never attain demi-glace without it.”

“An egg in anything makes it better.”

“Margarine? That’s not food. ‘I can’t believe it’s not butter’. I can. If you’re planning on using margarine in anything, you can stop reading now, because I won’t be able to help you.”

“Garlic is divine. Few food items can taste so many distinct ways, handled correctly. Misuse of garlic is a crime … Please, treat your garlic with respect … Avoid at all costs that vile spew you see rotting in oil in screwtop jars. Too lazy to peel fresh? You don’t deserve to eat garlic.”

“Food had power. It could inspire, astonish, shock, excite, delight and impress. It had the power to please me … and others.”

“Our movements through time and space seem somehow trivial compared to a heap of boiled meat in broth, the smell of saffron, garlic, fishbones and Pernod.”

“Good food and good eating are about risk.”

For this episode, we have chosen a recipe for Italian veal chops. It’s very simple and delicious. Farewell Anthony Bourdain, and thank you.

  • 2 loin veal chops (about 2.5cm thick)

  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

  • 1 carrot julienned

  • 1 tomato cut into eight wedges

  • 125g green beans

  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced

  • 1/4 cup non-fat Italian dressing

  • 2 tbsp dry white wine

  • 1 tsp chopped rosemary


This one’s easy peasy.

Season the chops on both sides with the pepper and place in a shallow dish with the carrot, tomato, green beans and onion.

Mix the dressing with the wine then drizzle it over the chops and vegetables.

Toss to coat. Let stand at room temperature for five minutes.

Spray a non-stick ridged chargrill pan with oil. Set the grill pan over a medium heat and cook for about seven minutes on each side for medium, or to your liking.

Just as the chops are settled in the pan, spray a separate large non-stick frying pan with oil. Transfer the vegetables and any liquid remaining in the dish to the frying pan, then sprinkle with rosemary.

Sauté until vegetables are just tender, about five minutes.

Divide the vegetables evenly between two plates and top with a veal chop.

Image Credit: By Peabody Awards (Anthony Bourdain) [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons