It’s been more than two years since the debut of Ruth Bourdain, the sensational and often raunchy Twitter persona whose name and sensibilities are a mashup/spoof of former “Gourmet” editor Ruth Reichl and outspoken celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain.
The true identity of Ms. Bourdain is still under wraps, but her tweets show her to be veganophobic (“As predicted by the Mayans, the global bacon shortage will ultimately lead to the vegan apocalypse”), opinionated (“I would only eat Candy Corn Flavored Oreos if I got the munchies while freebasing a pumpkin”) and poetic (“Cool. Smoking orange peel flecks rolled in pumpkin pancakes. Snorted lines of nutmeg, ginger, clove. Head feels like thick dark maple syrup.”)
Her irreverent takes on food trends, foodies and famous chefs have earned Bourdain a hearty fan base — more than 58,000 followers and counting. But she’s more than just another novelty account. In the wake of nabbing a James Beard Award for Humor in 2011, Bourdain has released her first book, “Comfort Me with Offal,” an invaluable “Guide to Gastronomy” that offers essential advice on how to remove unpleasant foodstuffs from your mouth at mealtime, get the most out of your waiters (“keep a bag of treats on hand”) and know yourself better through what coffee you drink.
Now a bona fide fixture in the food world, Bourdain e-chatted with Zester about lamb taints, Tom Colicchio, TV chefs she’d like to hop into bed with and all manner of inappropriate topics. So make yourself a Phil Collins (a Tom Collins with four times the gin, per Ruth) and indulge in the musings of the food world’s Lady Gaga.
What is your perfect breakfast?
That would have to be a quickenrichelet. That’s a quail egg omelet stuffed inside a chicken egg omelet stuffed inside an ostrich egg omelet. It’s the turducken of omelets.
Please share you philosophy on salad.
Yes, salad philosophy. I used to be very influenced by Immanuel Kant when it comes to vegetables, but lately I am much more of a Nietzschean about greens. To paraphrase Friedrich, “Mesclun is dead.”
What savory or sweet thing do you reach for in the middle of the night?
If I understand the question correctly, you’re talking about when you’re having a threesome with Mario Batali (savory) and Nigella Lawson (sweet) and there’s a reach around? I reach for Mario every time. He smells like prosciutto.
Say three nice things about Guy Fieri.
1. His hair is one of the most effective pot scrubbers I’ve ever used, hands down. Simply fantastic for cleaning. 2. As ridiculous as his backwards sunglasses-wearing may appear, there is a silver lining: I wouldn’t trust any other chef to drive in reverse on a sunny day. 3. His flaming shirts may be absurd, but they are great for grilling steaks.
You have a lot to say about celebrity chefs’ coifs in your tweets. Let’s settle this once and for all: Which celebrity chef has the best hair?
Tom Colicchio. Smooth and shiny, his lack of hair is perfect for buffing silverware and wine glasses. But, more important, his soul patch is a wonderful “palate palette” that collects all sorts of crumbs and foodstuffs. It’s like a miniature mis-en-place of flavors, aromas and essential oils. Tom would be nothing without it.
In your new book you include a questionnaire to gauge a reader’s Gastronomical Quotient. The range runs from Velveetan — for the cheese-like treat — to Kellerian, for deified chef Thomas Keller. Where do you fall?
I’m a 49/50, a total Kellerian.
When it comes to booze, do you have a daily limit?
I think it was Michael Pollan who once said, “Drink liquor. Far too much. Mostly absinthe.” I’d stick with three to four bottles and then move on to stirring up a Phil Collins if you really want to slur “Sussudio.”
“Comfort Me with Offal” features an illustration of a pig head on a plate on the cover. What’s the best part of the pig and when is the best time and place to eat it?
Lately, I’m getting really into lamb taint. Where and when I enjoy my taint is none of your business.
What is the one kitchen tool you could not live without?
I cannot live without Rocco DiSpirito. He is such an incredible tool.
Tell us about the most magical meal you’ve ever had.
The most magical meal I ever had was the still-beating heart of Doug Henning. Just magic. In fact, it may have been an illusion. He’s tricky that way.
Photo: Ruth Bourdain