I talk so much about Anthony Bourdain that I figured it was time to have an article dedicated to him.
I love Bourdain. His ability to show a different perspective on misunderstood areas of the world such as the Middle East and Africa. His focus on food as a window into different cultures. His willingness to try anything and everything. His humanity. He showed me how to travel, how to eat, how to open myself up to people and experiences.
I wish there were still more episodes coming. More countries to explore through his eyes. And more words of wisdom. But there is plenty to look back on. I’ve included a few of my favorite quotes of his below, but would love to hear yours!
Africa’s influence on American food
“It’s like I’m eating shrimp and grits in Africa.”
The Israeli-Lebanese conflict
“I just saw that there were realities beyond what was on my plate, and those realities almost inevitably informed what was — or was not — for dinner. To ignore them had come to seem monstrous.”
“Nowhere else I’ve been has the disconnect been so extreme between what one sees and feels from the people and what one sees and hears from the government…This is not a black-and-white world — as much as people would like to portray it as such.”
Our shared love of food
“Who does not like barbecue? They sure like ’em here [in Libya]…BBQ may not be the road to world peace, but it’s a start.”
Food is more than just food
“Food is everything we are. It’s an extension of nationalist feeling, ethnic feeling, your personal history, your province, your region, your tribe, your grandma. It’s inseparable from those from the get-go.”
“Meals make the society, hold the fabric together.”
“The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body.”
“Your body is not a temple, it’s an amusement park. Enjoy the ride.”
“I learned a long time ago that trying to micromanage the perfect vacation is always a disaster. That leads to terrible times.”
“I’m a big believer that you’re never going to find perfect city travel experience or the perfect meal without a constant willingness to experience a bad one. Letting the happy accident happen is what a lot of vacation itineraries miss.”
“Nothing unexpected or wonderful is likely to happen if you have an itinerary in Paris filled with the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower.”
“Travel. The joy of being wrong.”
“Maybe that’s enlightenment enough: to know that there is no final resting place of the mind; no moment of smug clarity. Perhaps wisdom… is realizing how small I am, and unwise, and how far I have yet to go.”
“Do we really want to travel in hermetically sealed popemobiles through the rural provinces of France, Mexico and the Far East, eating only in Hard Rock Cafes and McDonald’s? Or do we want to eat without fear, tearing into the local stew, the humble taqueria’s mystery meat, the sincerely offered gift of a lightly grilled fish head?”