The irreverence of Anthony Bourdain’s CNN series, “Parts Unknown” always struck me as a sign that behind this foodie’s yen for travel and exotic eats was a beat soul. One segment had him on an island off Italy fighting with the fishermen. In Tangier, a city I know well, he found the funkiest place to shoot a crackerjack Moroccan feast. His programs did not feel over-produced. He allowed for the mayhem of spontaneity. And I loved that.
This celebrity food maven sniffed out countries of smelly dysfunction over orderly functionality. And Iran surprised him with a people that had the attitude, ‘Are you American? We don’t care what the government is doing; welcome, we want to know you.’ He recounted an incident in a Teheran restaurant where they put flags on diners’ tables. They apologized, ‘Sorry, all our American flags were burnt.’ Congo, he said was perhaps the most dangerous, run amok with warlords and militias. “You don’t want to mess around. One minute you are fine, and the next everyone is glaring at you for being CIA.”
Known for his culinary adventures to these exotic locales, when he’s back in the states, Bourdain said he loved best a bite at the deli; the flipping of burgers in his Hamptons backyard filled him with bliss.
At this sad time, I’m happy he knew bliss.