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Heat Hardcover – 13 Jul 2006

3.9 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 13 Jul 2006
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape; First Edition edition (13 July 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 022407184X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224071840
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 2.8 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 724,885 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Gastro-memoirs can be clichéd, but Bill Buford has injected lyricism and authenticity into the format." -- Vogue Magazine

"It’s funny and very well-written." -- The Observer

"a story of seared flesh and unadulterated pork butchery"
-- Scotsman: Saturday Fiction Round Up. Rev by Elizabeth Luard

'The author is a world-class wordsmith.' -- The Economist

'one of the most evocative testaments to our - and his - current obsession.' - Steven Shaplin -- London Review of Books

Heat brims with fascinating observations on cooking, incredible characters, useful discourse and argument-ending arcania. -- Anthony Bourdain on Amazon.com

crackles with energy, erudition and cinematic narration
-- Financial Times

‘Funny, well written and slightly exhausting’ -- The Observer

‘It’s a messy, brilliant book, a high brow kitchen soap opera…’ -- The Telegraph, July 15th 2006

‘a dazzling and fun account of two magnificently mad years’. -- The Guardian, July 15th 2006

Book Description

In the tradition of Orwell's Down and Out in Paris and London and Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential, a brilliant book about working in the kitchen of one of New York's most fashionable restaurants and with one of its most charismatic chefs. (2003-10-17)

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I was astonished when I saw the other reviews of this book. I think that Heat will appeal to anyone who is genuinely interested in cooking and, more particularly, in the history of cooking. Bill Buford starts by providing fascinating insights into the mechanics of a modern restaurant kitchen, interspersed with biographic sections on Mario Batali and Marco Pierre White. He goes on to describe his attempts at pasta making and butchery. Heat is both a memoir outlining Buford's developing obsession with cooking and a biography of Batali and White, and also a partial history of Italian cooking. All three strands are told with a journalistic and entertaining style. I honestly enjoyed the lengthy investigation into the egg's introduction into pasta-making. I believe that everyone with an interest in Italian food and restaurant cooking will enjoy this book.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a charming 200 page book. After that it becomes tedious and meandering and in the end a real slog to finish. Buford's obsession for the "jus just" is funny and entertaining for about 2/3 of the story. After that it becomes mired in uninteresting anecdotes and trivia (historically when did the egg get added to the recipe for pasta is intriguing for half a page, not ten)that overcooks by many hours the final product. He is the kind of writer who thinks everything that interests him will interest you, but he is wrong. Perhaps a better writer could have pulled that off, but Buford is an editor who is writing a book about his love for cooking and in the end that distinction shows. What begins as a love letter from an obsessive becomes in the end the ramblings of a self indulgent food flaneur.
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Format: Hardcover
Discouraged by the negative comments I found here I managed to locate a copy of Heat in a local library and borrowed that. Whilst I enjoyed the sections dealing with Batalli and Babbo, I thought the book came into its own when Buford made his way to Italy to round off his culinary education. His writing (and passion) reminded me of Jeffrey Steingarten.

I thoroughly enjoyed it
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of the best if not THE best book written about food and what it is like to work in a professional kitchen- plus so much more.
Love it so much have bought it for friends and family. It is laugh out loud funny as well as informative and beautifully written.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm staggered by the other reviews: were we reading the same book?

This was one of the best books I read all year. Halfway through it, I was phoning friends to recommend it, and have since bored countless people at parties by raving about it.

Fantastically written, laugh-out-loud funny, fascinating about a New York journalist who interviews a chef, wants to know more and starts work in a professional kitchen.

He then gets the bug; or rather, goes more than a little loopy obsessive: works nights, gives up his job, moves to Italy to learn to make pasta, comes back, moves to Italy to learn how to butcher a pig... And so one, so on.

Levels of drinking, decadence & utter, complete, insanity even Hunter S Thomson (who has a walk-on part) would be daunted by, all based on a totally absorbing discussion of food and what we have lost in terms of quality of eating and quality of life as a result. There is even the odd recipe thrown in too.

The fact is some of the best writing around doesn't hurt: fluent, vivid - and hysterical.

I agree it does go on: the last few chapters flag. And, yes, some of the historical research gets a bit dull.

But who cares: the sheer pace, vividness insight into life rarely seen and flair make it totally worth while.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book suits those who are really really really into food and can cope with the minute details about the egg in pasta, how to butcher and animal and the antics in a restaurant kitchen. I found it engaging and funny and watched a chef on TV last using the stab and flick method when butchering a veal rib - it all made sense having read the book.
One for good obsessives
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Format: Paperback
This is a charming 200 page book. After that it becomes tedious and meandering and in the end a real slog to finish. Buford's obsession for the "jus just" is funny and entertaining for about 2/3 of the story. After that it becomes mired in uninteresting anecdotes and trivia (historically when did the egg get added to the recipe for pasta is intriguing for half a page, not ten)that overcooks by many hours the final product. He is the kind of writer who thinks everything that interests him will interest you, but he is wrong. Perhaps a better writer could have pulled that off, but Buford is an editor who is writing a book about his love for cooking and in the end that distinction shows. What begins as a love letter from an obsessive becomes in the end the ramblings of a self indulgent food flaneur.
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Format: Hardcover
The starters are very good, the main course looks appetizing but disappoints and the desserts non-existent.

The first one-third or so of the book was an excellent insight into the workings and tricks of the trade of a flourishing famous New York restaurant run by a larger than life aberrant celebrity chef.And there it petered out - lost in a mass of not very interesting debate on the question of " Jus versus Sauces" and other such culinary wranglings. What a shame!
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