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entertainment

If You Can't Stand the Heat. . .

Everyone loves the tell-all book.

But Kitty Kelley gets a little tiresome…and there’s really only so much one can read about the Kennedys.

But food? Grime? The nasty things that go on behind the swinging door at your favorite restaurant?

Enter Anthony Bourdain’s much talked-about Kitchen Confidential (Bloomsbury; $24.95). Twenty-seven years in the kitchen (he’s now the executive chef at Les Halles), and baby, the man has seen things you’d rather not know.

So, like 11-year-old girls skipping to the dirty parts of Judy Blume’s Forever, we mined for the juicy restaurant revelations larded throughout the book.

Herewith, The DailyCandy Cliff Notes.

If you like your meat well-done, you’re a sucker. That order of thoroughly cooked steak is a godsend to the thrifty chef. Iffy cuts of meat, usually difficult to sell, are “saved for well-done,” because the extra minutes in the saut? pan or under the broiler will mask any shortcomings. (p. 69)

The reason why the risotto at trattoria X tastes so luxurious? Buttah. And lots of it. Nearly every restaurant dish begins and ends with a very healthy chunk of the delectable, fattening stuff. (p. 80-81)

Just as you suspected, the bread in that charming straw basket has probably been recycled from another table. (p. 68)

Chili and shepherd’s pie are NOT recipes. They are synonyms for “leftovers.” (p. 69)

When it comes to seafood, never on a Monday. Tonight’s tuna-steak special is likely to have arrived on Thursday, the day of the previous fish shipment. (p. 65)

Have another Bloody Mary, folks, because brunch is the time for the chef to unload anything and everything he couldn’t sell on Friday and Saturday nights. In other words, the food is in as sorry shape as you are. (p.67)

Hollandaise sauce must be kept at a lukewarm temperature to prevent separation. Conveniently, this tepid climate also favors the growth of bacteria, such as salmonella. Forget the eggs Benedict. (p.67)

Common kitchen wisdom dictates you should discard opened or broken mussels before cooking, as those are the ones likely to make you sick. Most line cooks do not subscribe to common kitchen wisdom. (p. 66)

Many months ago practically every chef took swordfish off the menu due to the imperiled population statistics of the critter. But swordfish is back. A reason not to pine for its return: the “three-foot-long parasitic worms” that occasionally burrow into its flesh. (p. 69)

When not preparing food, cooks engage in many kitchen extracurriculars, including sex, examining each other’s sores and lesions, dusting their nether regions with cornstarch, stabbing each other with meat forks, sculpting severed appendages from various ingredients, and shedding copious amounts of blood. (pgs. 24, 218, 108, 124-125)

Anyone for eating in tonight?