I loved this book. I see why it's one of the best sellers this year. Buford is the former fiction editor for The New Yorker. In 2002, in his 50s, he went to intern at Mario Batali's Babbo. A good home cook he wanted to see what it was like to work in a professional kitchen.
This is more than about cooking. It's also about relationships, how food defines a culture and the larger than life Mario Batali.
Buford retraces Mario's steps and goes to Italy. He learns to make pasta and later works for a Dante quoting butcher in Tuscany. If you are a vegan the butcher chapter might be a little difficult to read. One thing he brings up is how disconnected many of us are from our food source. I know what he means. I had a hard time eating chicken one summer in Anguilla. My aunt broke the chicken's neck, plucked it etc. and we were going to have chicken for dinner. I passed and eat tuna from a can (hello were we not on an island surround by amazing fish?). I couldn't eat the chicken I just saw clucking around chilling on the farm with his friends. Yes I know that chicken had a good life. Clean air, good food and wasn't stuck in a little pen or something. However, I was used to seeing my chicken pre-cut, pre-plucked and wrap in plastic. Don't get me started on curry goat.
Anyway if you liked Anthony Bourdain's KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL check this book out. It's also a great read if you love food, Italy and good writing.