I spent the majority of my 20’s avoiding the legend, the god, the absolute master of all things pretentious and arrogant – Anthony Bourdain. Blasphemy, I know. But what you need to understand is that the root of the aversion was by no fault of my own. Bourdain became a phenomenon among my peers during their first year as college graduates. It was like they’d entered the adult world, had a secret society meeting and chosen the man as their new leader. The only problem was that i’d known many of these individuals for a number of years and I knew some of their deepest, darkest secrets. I had proof their palates were stunted somewhere between the Mac N Cheese and its breadcrumbs.
As the only of my close friends with a middle eastern background, I spent my childhood finger-painting with hummus, listening to my dad refer to rabbit and frogs as food and convincing my mother I could survive Kibbeh Nayyeh. I began to hate the man for his ability to do what I couldn’t. For taunting them and pushing them to try the foods they’d insisted they “couldn’t eat”, “didn’t like”, or my absolute favorite – were “allergic to”. Needless to say, many of these dedicated followers faded, but my annoyance and judgment did not, and so began my decade-long hate for the man.
They say we make incredibly stupid decisions when we’re young. Here was mine. My blatant arrogant and pretentious attitude did my love for food the biggest disservice of all time…until one week ago. I finally did it, I finally caved. At the suggestion of a friend, I cracked open Kitchen Confidential and devoured it in what seemed like just moments. All it took were three little words: “food had secrets”.
Electricity flooded my entire body. I found, in that moment, the place where my love for food and love for writing had been hiding – the place where they’d met years ago, which I had failed to discover.
So thank you, Tony – not that your ego needs it, but I needed what you gave me and one of us has to chuck our pride for the sake of this new relationship.