Paula Deen’s Ugly Roots

In “Kitchen Confidential,” Anthony Bourdain exposed readers to a raucous, raunchy restaurant culture and made heroes of the piratical cooks he chopped and sweated alongside on the line. Some of the more memorable moments have to do with the sexual chaos backstage: a cook, a bride, and a fifty-five-gallon drum of pig slop; a female cook dry-humping a groper (“How do you like it, bitch?”); a male pasta cook who posts “ugly hard-core pornography” at a different female cook’s station. Bourdain’s book seemed unbridled and un-P.C. (“Pacific Rim-job cuisine,” e.g.) but its sensibility was actually very Vassar (his alma mater). In his account, the coolest of the cool are the black and Latino cooks; white boys like the author and his fellow cooking-school graduates are the dumb fumblers.