Cage Match: Ruth Bourdain vs. Pim

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Ruth Bourdain collage with Pim, Anthony Bourdain and Ruth Reichl
collage by Wendy Goodfriend

The Twitterverse is getting all hot and bothered over the latest Ruth Bourdain stunt. Some are wondering: food blogger and celeb Pim, should you "watch your back"?... and if so, what does that mean in the online world? Ruth Bourdain--a widely followed (4,652 as of 3 p.m. PST on April 8) and mulled over Twitter account is a funny and glam parody combo of two famous personalities: the well respected food Editrix Ruth Reichl and Culinary Bad Boy Anthony Bourdain. This week, Ruth Bourdain's identity is under closer speculation after some online Twitter mudslinging with blogger Pim Techamuanvivit of Chez Pim fame. On Thursday, Raphael Brion reported on Eater that "After blogger Pim Techamuanvivit tweeted '@ruthbourdain was funny for about a day. No parody comes close to @restaurantgirl,' Ruth Bourdain dropped the hammer, tweeting: '@chezpim Don't mess with me. Watch your back. Seriously. Because I will kick your ass, cure it, slice it thin, and eat it with baguette.' "

To us, the Ruth Bourdain tweet sounds like it's an attempt at something straight out of a teenage horror flick. The intended target does not seem scared. Pim told Bay Area Bites, "I didn't reply anything back (to Ruth Bourdain's tweet). I got offline and didn't read it 'til later today… I think it's funny." Pim added, "I don't take it seriously at all. I know it's all an act. I am familiar with Internet trolls."

Officially, Reichl and Bourdain consider the Ruth Bourdain account to be something of a mystery just like the rest of us. Bourdain and Reichl speculated last month on the gender and identity of the Ruth Bourdain Twitter account on Bourdain's Turn and Burn SIRIUS radio program, that was co-hosted by Chef Eric Ripert. Bourdain said, "It is kind of genius. I love it. I'm a total addict. I'm hooked already and, frankly, flattered and disturbed in equal measure." Anthony Bourdain told Bay Area Bites over email on Thursday, "(I have) no idea who Ruth Bourdain is --though I really enjoy her work." Perhaps there's more to that comment? Is Bourdain calling the Twitter holder a female, or falling into using "her" because the name Ruth Bourdain sounds female?

Cynics may point to the fact that Ruth Reichl has a new book out this week, titled For You Mom, Finally. If Reichl knows or is a part of the Ruth Bourdain Twitter account act, this latest dust up can only be a boon for people thinking about her and perhaps wanting to buy the latest tome. Or, she may just be having fun reading and thinking about it like the rest of us.