NEAL CONAN, host:
This is TALK OF THE NATION. Im Neal Conan in Concord, New Hampshire.
A decade ago, Anthony Bourdain's memoir "Kitchen Confidential" eviscerated New York's culinary world, sliced open the unseen mysteries behind the kitchen doors and became a bestseller.
The book made Bourdain a star. In the years since, he's traveled the world for his television show, "No Reservations," wrote books about his adventures, hit the lecture and panel circuit and issued up-and-coming chefs the occasional kick in the pants as a guest judge on the reality TV show "Top Chef."
Now, Bourdain is back. His new book "Medium Raw" is equal parts paean and rant, a new tour through the food world and a guide to the weird and talented, and as he points out, sometimes totally bogus people that inhabit it.
So let's hear from the cooks and the chefs in the audience today. If you're in the food business, if you have questions for Anthony Bourdain, give us a call, 800-989-8255. Email us, firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also join the conversation on our website. Thats at npr.org. Click on TALK OF THE NATION.
Later in the program, the story of a Depression-era ballpark still in use today, where part of baseball's color line was erased back in 1946. But first, Anthony Bourdain's book is called "Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook." And he joins us from member station KCRW in Santa Monica, California. Nice to have you on the program today.
Mr. ANTHONY BOURDAIN (Author, "Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook"): Good to be with you.
CONAN: And you wrote a bestselling book 10 years ago. So then what happened?
Mr. BOURDAIN: Well, overnight my life changed. I mean, I wrote "Kitchen Confidential," I was standing next to a deep-fryer for, you know, 14, 16 hours a day. And that was the world as I knew it, and, when I wrote the book, the world that I thought I'd pretty much be in for the rest of my life.
And in fact, in very short order, I found myself traveling the world with the best job in the world, doing pretty much whatever I wanted, eating whatever I wanted, drinking too much and given the creative freedom to tell stories about those experiences any way I liked. So -very quickly became a ridiculously privileged person.
CONAN: And you no longer describe yourself as a chef.
Mr. BOURDAIN: Well, I think I've said that if I'm walking down the street, and someone calls out the word chef, I still automatically snap my head. Twenty-eight years of my life, that's what I did. I think I earned that title. But the fact is also, it is true that it's been 10 years since I've worked as a chef. I don't go home, you know, with a sore back and swollen hands every day.
You know, that's not who I am or what I do anymore. So, you know, it's an important distinction. I'm happy to be called a chef. I was never a great chef, but it's been 10 years now since I was engaged in an everyday, useful way in the work of a kitchen.
CONAN: There's an episode you describe in your book. You did for a TV show back in, I think, 2007, and you went back and worked on the line at the restaurant you worked at, Les Halles.
Mr. BOURDAIN: I went back to I thought it would be a great idea for a TV show if I went back in and worked my old double shift, you know, all day from starting at 8 o'clock in the morning and finishing at 12 midnight - lunch and dinner, continuous service, straight through.
And I've got to tell you, I barely made it through that one shift. But, you know, I didn't delude myself at the end of the day. I mean, I managed to not screw up too terribly, but there was no question at my age of returning the next day and performing with any efficiency. It's a young person's game, and you know, it's a good thing this celebrity chef scam is working out because the timing couldn't have been better.
(Soundbite of laughter)
Mr. BOURDAIN: I mean, I was 44 when I wrote "Kitchen Confidential," and I didn't have that many years left.
CONAN: In fact, you continually describe the cooking and the chef business as a young man's game or a young person's game, talking about the difficulties people who, later in life, even as late as their early 30s, seek to go to culinary school. Well, you say, unless they're doing it for love, you're making a big mistake.
Mr. BOURDAIN: Well, I mean, I just think that before anyone goes to culinary school or considers culinary school, they should at least work in the restaurant business for six months, a year, in a busy restaurant to see if you're the sort of person who loves the business, because it's a very hard business, a very unforgiving one.
If you were just starting out at age 32, a lot of forces are going to be stacked against you. It's going to be very, very hard. It is a young person's game, and you'll have a lot you're at a serious, serious disadvantage. Thirty-two, you're Methuselah in the kitchen if you're just starting out.
(Soundbite of laughter)
Mr. BOURDAIN: And of course, a lot of people need to understand, too, that when they get out of culinary school, it's going to be a couple years at, you know, $10, maybe $12 an hour, you know, chopping onions and cleaning squid.
CONAN: So it's, the first part of the business, you say, even if you're 22 and hoping to go on to a career as a great chef, well, you're likely to be paying money those first few years.
Mr. BOURDAIN: Well, if you're lucky, because if you're lucky to find yourself in a situation where you're essentially working for free or paying, that means that you're probably in one of the great kitchens of the world, where it's worth your making that kind of sacrifice.
You know, you spend two years working for Joel Robuchon or Alain Ducasse, Sir Eric Ripert or Thomas Keller at Farenadria(ph), you never need a resume again. That's a worthwhile investment.
CONAN: Let's get some callers in on the conversation. Our guest is Anthony Bourdain. His new book is called "Medium Raw," 800-989-8255. Email us, email@example.com. We'll start with Patrick(ph), and Patrick's with us from Grand Ledge in Michigan.
PATRICK (Caller): Hi, Mr. Bourdain.
Mr. BOURDAIN: Hi, Patrick.
PATRICK: I'm a big fan. This is actually quite a privilege. I've been a fan of your shows, as well as your writing. And I've worked in the restaurant business for a few years now. And I actually had a question about your books.
I was actually an art and English major in college, and I was wondering how you got started writing and what your, you know, how you learned how to write so well. You know, did you learn by doing or reading or what?
Mr. BOURDAIN: I mean, I read a lot. I've always read a lot. I'm a very fast reader. But I, honestly I think, I didn't really study writing. I was a college dropout. I had good English teachers in high school who taught me the importance of language.
But to be honest, I write, I think, the way I talk. I come from an oral tradition. I'm not somebody who's sitting there struggling over the perfect sentence. I think that's clear from my books. I'm not a guy who was sitting around writing unpublished manuscripts for years.
I was given the opportunity - based on an article - I was given the opportunity to write a book, and I did the best I could. And it's written very much in a conversational style, the way I talk.
I think I'm more of a talker and a storyteller than a writer, to be honest, and I kind of come out of that tradition of, you know, people standing around in kitchens telling each other stories, hopefully in an amusing way.
PATRICK: Well, thank you, and I just want to say, I really, I love your show. I think it's such a fresh take on, you know, culinary and travel. I appreciate it. Thank you.
Mr. BOURDAIN: Thank you.
CONAN: ...email is firstname.lastname@example.org. One of the things we mention you do is you're an occasional judge on "Top Chef," which you describe in the book as the best of the cooking contest shows on TV. How would you do as a candidate, as a contestant, on "Top Chef"?
Mr. BOURDAIN: Well, you know, what's asked of these, what makes that show so fascinating to me and so much fun to judge, is that what we're asking these people to do is very, very, very difficult for just about anybody. You know, few people can be good at both pastry and savories. I'm certainly not.
I think, to be honest with myself, that I might survive. I might be able to skate through five episodes and only through guile, you know, sneakiness, craft, experience, years of experience and luck.
(Soundbite of laughter)
Mr. BOURDAIN: Not by any particular genius on my part. I might be able to skate through five, but no way am I getting in the finals.
CONAN: You describe a guy you know, a friend of yours, who came on as a contestant, and you had an utter and complete disaster, surviving only because somebody else's disaster was even worse.
Mr. BOURDAIN: Well, you know, that's one of the forces of the universe. You know, there's always somebody worse than you, or at least, you know, you hope so.
CONAN: We have an email from Kerri(ph) in North Hollywood, California: Anthony Bourdain promotes foie gras on his show, even visited a foie gras farm to defend the practice. The way to find out if somebody is abusing their animals is not to give them a warning and show up with a camera crew.
Every investigation of foie gras farms in the United States and Europe has documented sick, dead and dying animals, some with holes in their necks from pipe injuries. If he wants to earn the respect of animal lovers everywhere, he will speak out against the practice of painfully force-feeding ducks and geese for something as insignificant as taste.
This is an issue you come down firmly on in your book, on the other side from Kerri.
Mr. BOURDAIN: You know, it is absolutely true that a lot of the producers of foie gras in this world produce their foie gras cruelly, and I don't know any chefs in America who buy that stuff or would ever buy that stuff.
It is a proven fact and a deeply held principle of most chefs I know, who are very interested in sustainable and cruelty-free to the best extent they can, that stressed, unhappy animals do not make good eating and particularly something as delicate as foie gras.
The two major producers in this country, in fact, we had no problem going anywhere we wanted, anywhere we wanted on that foie gras farm.
Any chicken ever raised or sold by Kentucky Fried Chicken had a much, far, far, far worse life. This the way the foie gras is produced in this country at the two major producers is a fairly ideal situation as far as the degree of cruelty, living conditions.
We spent a lot of time wandering, like I said, anywhere we wanted, saw the entire process from beginning to end. I understand that there are a lot of films of other foie gras facilities that are atrocious. It's certainly awful-looking, but if you keep an open mind and look at it in the full spectrum of what we do to animals in order to raise them for food, this is a false issue.
It looks lurid. It makes good television. It's an issue that the PETA folks have at winning, which I think is why they concentrate on it, but I'm afraid I just have to disagree. One can, you know, raise a foie gras fairly responsibly and certainly far better than the vast majority of factory-farmed animals in this country. It's a false issue.
CONAN: In a chapter you have called "Heroes and Villains," you trash Wolfgang Puck precisely on this issue because he, perhaps in the best position of anybody to stand up on this issue, would not. He took foie gras out of his restaurants.
Mr. BOURDAIN: I think it was a financial decision, on his part, I wish he hadn't made because you're right. He had it would seem, at least, that of all people, he was in a position with the sort of authority, level of success and connection and influence. It hurt the cause for him to sort of, as I saw it, abandon his peers.
CONAN: We want to hear from chefs and cooks today. If you'd like to talk with Anthony Bourdain, 800-989-8255. Or drop us an email, email@example.com. We'll talk more about his book "Medium Raw" in just a moment. Stay with us. I'm Neal Conan. It's the TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News.
(Soundbite of music)
CONAN: This is TALK OF THE NATION. Im Neal Conan, broadcasting today from the studios of New Hampshire Public Radio in Concord.
There's not much Anthony Bourdain won't do to keep his kids out of fast food places. He opens Chapter 10 of "Medium Raw" with this story: My wife and I are speaking in hushed tones directly outside our daughter's bedroom door, where we're sure she's pretending to be asleep. Shh, she can hear us, says my wife, with a theatrically intended-to-sound-conspiratorial whisper. No, she's asleep, I hiss, a little too loudly.
We're talking about Ronald McDonald again. Bringing up the possibility of his being implicated in the disappearance of yet another small child. Not another one, gasps my wife with feigned incredulity. I'm afraid so, I say with concern. stepped inside to get some fries and a Happy Meal, hasn't been seen since.
The conversation gets even more sinister from there. You can read more about the propaganda they use to turn their daughter against Ronald McDonald and the evils of fast food. That's in an excerpt at our website, npr.org. Click on TALK OF THE NATION
The new book is titled "Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook." If you're in the food business, you want to talk with Anthony Bourdain, 800-989-8255. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also join the conversation on our website. Thats at npr.org. Click on TALK OF THE NATION.
And let's go next to Amanda, Amanda with us from St. Louis.
AMANDA (Caller): Hi. I'm an archaeology and anthropology student, and I also "No Reservations" is one of the very few shows that I record and watch religiously. Two of my favorite episodes are Tahiti and Laos, and I'm wondering, I actually study cultures in Southeast Asia and in the South Pacific, and I'm wondering, I guess, if I'm sorry if you have any reservations about going into an area...
AMANDA: Sorry, it's a bad pun. If you do have any fears about going into some of these really remote areas, that people watching this would want to themselves go in, and then it creates a big tourism industry, and then you start seeing things like Starbucks in Laos.
Mr. BOURDAIN: You know, it's something we, we, all of us on the show ask ourselves all the time. We are aware that by on one hand, we want to celebrate these wonderful places that have often been ignored, that people are unaware of, often very poor areas, but they're from our point of view, they're beautiful, they're unspoiled.
We find little places, little, you know, roadside stands or tiny mom-and-pop local restaurants or food stalls that are serving indigenous cuisine. We love them because they're out of the way and unspoiled, and by celebrating them on television, we're helping to destroy them or at least destroy their charm.
On the other hand, I've spent some time in the Amazon and - with some farmers there, and they asked me, I'll never forget, they were living in a dirt poor, you know, dirt floors, you know, very, very rough life, growing manioc or yucca. And I remember, they asked me, you know, how do you like our village?
And I said, you know, it's lovely. And they said, yeah? You can have it. They want a satellite dish. They would like a motorbike. They would like to make some money. They would like to send their kid to a good school.
So, you know, as much as I want to keep the world, you know, unspoiled and beautiful, and I would prefer that if they do make money they not open up a Starbucks, you know, I could only hope that the business, the additional business, is good for somebody.
AMANDA: Yeah, I saw the same thing in Fiji last summer, doing some fieldwork there, people who don't even have electricity, but they have generators powering satellite dishes.
Mr. BOURDAIN: It seems to be the first acquisition that, you know, we want to share in the worldwide dialogue. You know, people want a satellite dish and a motorbike, and I don't think we can, you know, look down on that from our comfortable perch in the first world.
AMANDA: It's creating a whole new anthropology. I mean, what do you do when the people you're studying now are on Facebook? It's so different.
Mr. BOURDAIN: It could hardly get worse in Polynesia. The French did such a thorough job of destroying that culture that, you know, a few more satellite dishes could hardly hurt.
CONAN: Oh, there could have been a few more atom bomb tests.
(Soundbite of laughter)
Mr. BOURDAIN: Yeah...
AMANDA: I also wanted you to know that you would be very proud of me. I ate a whole pig's head in Fiji last summer. I didn't know what it was. It was dark.
Mr. BOURDAIN: Excellent.
AMANDA: But I ate a pig's head.
Mr. BOURDAIN: Excellent. Good to hear it.
CONAN: Thanks very much for the call, Amanda.
AMANDA: Thank you.
Mr. BOURDAIN: Thank you.
CONAN: And it's interesting, after reading your chapter in which you write about the pho in Hanoi, who could stop themselves from getting on the next plane and going to Vietnam?
Mr. BOURDAIN: Yeah, I mean, I'd like to think, I mean, you know, the caller makes a really good point, and it is a bitter irony of what I do that I am helping to destroy in some ways what I most love, but I can't help but think that anyone who finds himself in Vietnam sitting on a low plastic stool eating a bowl of pho and looking out at everyday - taking in everyday Vietnamese life, I can't help but think that in some way they become better, that, you know, there's no way that that can't be good for the world.
CONAN: Here's an email, this from Michelle(ph) in Phoenix. How do you feel about food blogs? Many of the guests on your show that you eat with are bloggers. Do food bloggers get the same kind of respect in the industry as other critics and food writers? Do they help inform how you choose the places to visit?
I ask because I'm a writer prepping a food blog here in Phoenix, and you have been here, but only to Coopertown(ph), which does not at all highlight Phoenix's culinary cuisine - culinary scene.
Mr. BOURDAIN: I love making fun of bloggers on the show and at every opportunity. I mean if you can't make fun of bloggers and food nerds, comedy's pretty much dead.
But I absolutely believe that conventional food writing as we know it is pretty much doomed, that the future well, it's already here. You know, we make most of the decisions - our major resource for the show for research is, in fact, local bloggers.
How can a major media outlet ever compete, for instance you know, if we're looking where to go in Saigon, chances are there's somebody there - in fact, there was someone there, who's spent like six years eating just at street stalls around Saigon and blogging, you know, thoroughly about it and taking pictures of each place.
This is an invaluable resource that even the New York Times could hardly compete with for sheer volume and depth of research.
So that's the future, and I don't know whether bloggers will ever be treated with the kind of respect of the entitled class of conventional food writers, and that's probably a good thing, if only because there will be so many of them.
The blogosphere is one big white bathroom wall, where anybody can write anything, and at the end of the day the new readers will make their decisions based on some kind of consensus and some kind of intelligence analysis of all that information. I think it's a very positive thing. I think it's long overdue. But I'm still going to make fun of food bloggers.
CONAN: Let's go next to Frank. Frank's with us from San Jose.
FRANK (Caller): Hi, Chef Bourdain. I just want to tell you, I'm a big fan of all your work and your books and the show. They're absolutely great.
I'm a high school teacher. I also teach Italian cooking classes and worked in restaurants before I got my degree and had a catering company for a while. So just everything you do is really fantastic.
I had a question about the Les Halles cookbook and - which I absolutely love. It's covered in stains.
Mr. BOURDAIN: Good.
FRANK: One thing about, you know - what was the process like putting the cookbook together? And also, when making the veal stock, you know, Chef, how long am I supposed to let the veal stock reduce? I use about 10 or 12 pounds of veal bones that I get from a butcher, who I got I got the book and looked for the butcher and and you know...
Mr. BOURDAIN: Right. Once you get the bones in the pot...
FRANK: ...I have my denny(ph), but just not sure how long it should reduce...
CONAN: Frank, Frank, Frank, hold on to get your answer. Hold on, Frank.
Mr. BOURDAIN: Once you get your bones in the pot, we're talking about eight to nine hours before you strain it, and then after you've strained it, you reduce it down again. After you've strained it thoroughly, reduce it down with some red wine - until it's thick, until it's thick enough for your purposes.
You know, that could be depending on how much, it could be anywhere from an hour to four hours - just a low simmer, never let it boil, and until it, you know, sort of coats a spoon, if that's how thick you want it to be. But you're not going to get much more out of the bones after nine hours or so.
FRANK: Yeah, you know, it went overnight. So, you know, I just put it on that real low heat...
Mr. BOURDAIN: That'll work. I mean, you almost can't let it go too long. I mean, unless you're using the stuff for the French Laundry, you know, where you're really going to be psycho about the quality. I think for your purposes overnight is fine.
As far as what it was like writing the book, a lot harder than I thought. You know, at first I thought is this going to be easy, you know, with my partners, we'll just put, you know, we'll just scale down some recipes. How hard can that be? In the end, I ended up rewriting every recipe so it was in my voice and, you know, making sure that all of the recipes worked.
It was a very long, very difficult process, but at the end of the day, I'm really, I'm happy with the result.
CONAN: Frank, thanks very much, and good luck with your...
FRANK: Great, thanks. Have a great day, Chef.
Mr. BOURDAIN: Thank you.
CONAN: ...veal stock. Bye-bye. I wanted to ask you about two of the people you write about in your book, and one is in the chapter on heroes and villains. It's one of your heroes, a man named Terrance Brennan, and in writing this you taught me a lot I never knew about cheese.
Mr. BOURDAIN: Uh-huh. Well, one of the things you need to know is you really can't make money with a good cheese course in a restaurant. And so what was really heroic about Terrance Brennan was that he decided I'm going to accent cheese, I'm going to find a way to maybe at first lose a little money and then hopefully break even and maybe, maybe, maybe someday find a way to make money. But I going to regardless of the conventional wisdom, I am going to offer the kind of cheese courses that the great restaurants of Europe take for granted.
And that was an outrageous thing to do and a suicidal thing to do when he started to do it. And he's made - he's raised the expectations for cheese in this country. You know, one of the real prime movers in doing that. And, you know, the good, stinky cheese - anyone who opens the world up to good, stinky cheese is a hero in my view.
CONAN: The other is - and she's not in this particular chapter. She gets one all to herself - Alice Waters, about whom you are, I think, a little schizoid.
Mr. BOURDAIN: Ambivalent. I'm, you know, I'm constantly at war with myself over this subject. I mean, one cannot understate how important -you know, one should never understate or neglect to recognize how important, how vital to - how revolutionary the restaurant that she created was and how important she is to American - was to American gastronomy.
And I also sympathize or agree with most of her stated desires for the way she'd like the world to be. But she's just so spectacularly tone deaf and constantly saying the wrong thing that she's a polarizing figure for a cause that should be, in the best-case scenario, sort of a ground-up, grassroots kind of a movement.
I shouldn't be the spokesman, and I'm afraid to say she shouldn't be. I mean, she keeps saying the wrong thing. I mean, we were talking on stage, and somebody asked us both what our death row meal would be. And her answer was shark fin soup.
CONAN: Shark fin soup?
Mr. BOURDAIN: That's not sustainable. That's about as far from sustainable as it gets and as far from local as it gets. I think Alice is an elitist. I think that's what makes her wonderful, actually, that she's a sensualist who loves the food and wine of France. But every time you - the contradictions in her argument are so glaring, you know, when making a sustainable local meal for Lesley Stahl in "60 Minutes," you know, she's cooking two eggs over, you know, a roaring wood fire in Berkeley, you know, highlighting vegetables from Chino farms in San Diego.
You know, and even when asked a simple question, like: Well, what are everyday working people who can't afford these expensive organic vegetables, you know, what are they - what should they do? She seems to be tone deaf to maybe a more diplomatic way to answer.
And then, finally, given an opportunity to at least show a little bit of proletariat cred, somebody asked her, well, you know, what about fast food? Is there any fast food you like? What about In-N-Out Burger? Well, here's an opportunity to, you know, say, you know, well, they're not bad. That's a pretty - as fast food goes, that's a pretty good operation.
She says, no, no, no, I wouldn't eat that. I'd rather eat street food in Sicily. Well, we all would. But, you know, I think it's going to be very difficult to change hearts and minds when it's a wealthy, privileged person. I've described her - listening to her talk, it's sort of like, you know, hearing Alec Baldwin or Barbara Streisand support your political candidate. You know, it happens often. It's like, oh, you really wish they wouldn't.
CONAN: We're talking with Anthony Bourdain. His new book: "Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook." You're listening to TALK OF THE NATION, from NPR News.
And let's go next to Russ, Russ with us from Monroe in Wisconsin.
RUSS (Caller): Hello, Mr. Tony. Thanks for taking my call. You - I'm a huge fan, by the way. I've followed you for 10 years and own all your books and have given many away. But you've achieved rock star status in the culinary world, for sure, and I imagine you feel - you can sense that out there amongst the cooks and chefs that you bumped into on your travels.
To me, it seems like you've influenced a whole crew of younger chefs that are - kind of got a little more pirate view of things. They're kind of smokers, though you've quit smoking. But do you sense that? What kind of response do you get from the cooks that you run into around the world?
Mr. BOURDAIN: Well, around the world, I mean, it seems like every young cook everywhere I go has read the book in one language or another. And I'm still astonished by it. I'm flattered by it. I'm thrilled by it. I still can't really get it fully into my head. When I wrote the book, I -"Kitchen Confidential," I - my highest hope was that it would be maybe sort of a cult favorite of chefs and cooks and restaurant people in the New York Tri-State area.
So to be, you know, translated into, like, 29 languages or something like that and be able to, you know, walk into restaurants all around the world and have young cooks, you know, look at me and give me the Ronnie James Dio devil horns, you know, that's pretty cool. It feels good. It beats working.
RUSS: I'm sorry. I would just want to add that my wife and I opened a restaurant eight months ago, and it's doing pretty good. I'm 50, so I'm probably crazy. But your book, I've read that several times, and I read it a couple more times in preparation for opening the restaurant. I have to say, I got a lot of really great pointers from you, especially what to expect from a life in the day - day in the life of a cook and stuff. So I personally appreciate it. And we're doing pretty good, but it is a lot of hard work.
Mr. BOURDAIN: Thank you, man. Good luck with it. Good luck.
RUSS: Thank you.
CONAN: Good luck, Russ. You mentioned the New York Tri-State area. In fact, I realized that, reading your book, that we grew up as mortal enemies. You grew up in the leafy suburb of Leonia, New Jersey. I grew up in the town next door, Englewood, which I read something else that you'd written, that you regarded as the stuck up guys in a rich suburb next door. Of course, we never noticed that because we were just as angry about the even more stuck up people in Tenafly.
Mr. BOURDAIN: Yeah. Well, I went to school in Englewood so, you know, no ill will there.
CONAN: Okay. All right. As long as - all right, we can compromise.
Mr. BOURDAIN: I'm over them.
(Soundbite of laughter)
CONAN: Here's an email from Everine(ph): I was curious about flashing your Chase Sapphire card at the Istanbul - in the Istanbul episode. Doesn't that go against your previous views about selling out? Also, give me a call if you want some good Turkish food places.
(Soundbite of laughter)
Mr. BOURDAIN: Yeah, product integration, it's a painful fact of life. The fact is, nobody watches TV in real time anymore. Advertisers know this. They know that everyone watches - the majority of the audience watches on TiVo or DVR or downloads. So the only way that - you know, increasingly, the only way that advertisers want to pay for your show is if their product is actually in the body of the show. So, yeah, I mean, I sold out. I'd like to say I took one for the team. But, you know, it's fair comment. I address this in the new book. I mean, the first chapter...
CONAN: You do. Yes.
Mr. BOURDAIN: ...is called "Selling Out." And...
CONAN: Done that Imodium spot yet?
Mr. BOURDAIN: Yeah. It was never about integrity. It was just vanity. And, you know, in the end - well, you know, what I can say? The thing speaks for itself.
CONAN: The conclusion you come to, that as soon as you had a daughter -who's now, what, three years old - that this all changed for you.
Mr. BOURDAIN: Well, you know, I'm still not going doing any Imodium ads.
CONAN: Anthony Bourdain, though, will be selling his new book: "Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook." Thanks very much for your time today.
Mr. BOURDAIN: Thank you. It was fun.
CONAN: Coming up, a return to historic Holman Stadium and its role in breaking baseball's color line. Stay with us for that. I'm Neal Conan. You're listening to TALK OF THE NATION, from NPR News.