Welcome to the Bourdain Show, co-starring sex and enslavement

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Ingredients: -Rowdy crowd packed to the rafters at the Kentucky Center -Tall, lanky food and travel guy -Jabs at vegetarians -Jeers at overweight people -Jokes about FoodTV stars -The principles of good food (including enslavement and sex) Stir together; pepper with some self-deprecating stories and a plug from Captain’s Quarters that brought down a booing house and you’ve got Anthony Bourdain’s Kentucky Center show at the Idea Festival last night. Bourdain was exactly what he is on television and in his books; coarse and clever, insightful and incendiary. He strode onto stage to wild applause and launched right into a sometimes raunchy, nearly always funny monologue. In typical Bourdain fashion he delivered equal opportunity insults at overweight folks, those of us that don’t eat meat, and the Rachael Ray/Sandra Lee crew throughout his talk on what exactly makes good food. His commentary on the principles of what make up a good food culture were sound and thought provoking: Pride – when one village claims superiority over the next in cooking, it’s gotta be good Occupation, war and slavery – Invaders may do terrible things, Bourdain explained, but they leave great food behind, to be mixed with the traditional local food Time and cruel aristocracy – what else did French nobles have to do but demand amusement in the form of elaborate food? Poverty – “The engine of gastronomy is poverty,” Bourdain argued. What is confit? A farmer without a refrigerator looking for a way to preserve food; he decided to cook it in fat, preserve it in fat, stick it in the cellar and hope it doesn’t rot. He veered into a fascinating side conversation about the reversal in what wealthy and poor people eat, with rich folks now paying top dollar for offal, hooves and other “nasty bits” that the poor learned to eat long ago. And because this is Bourdain after all, sex. People from different countries having sex with another for generations leads to good food. Bourdain went on to tell us some of his thoughts on travel. These coming from a man who spends 10 months of the year crossing the globe, I was inclined to agree. He fervently preached the principle of opening yourself up to new things, new foods, new experiences when traveling. “You’ll never have the greatest meal of your life if you don’t risk the worst meals,” he said. “We have so little time at the table, make the most of it.” He finally summed up his life in the spotlight succinctly: “Not giving a shit has turned out to be a pretty good business model for me so far.” And P.S. The answer to the 64 million dollar question? He ate bison at Proof on Main.