When I went on maternity leave 12 years ago, my sister introduced me to this travel show she watched religiously, “No Reservations” with Anthony Bourdain, some foul-mouthed former chef from New York.
E. came to help out for a couple of weeks after the baby was born, and we watched a bunch of “No Reservations” episodes while I tried and failed to nurse. (Long story. F. ended up being a formula baby, and she turned out fine.) I was hooked, and looked forward to periodic Bourdain marathons on the Travel Channel. I also downloaded episodes on Amazon. I was less enamored with his show when it moved to CNN and became “Parts Unknown,” but I still watched occasionally.
Even so, his death a few years ago devastated me. Knowing he was in pain clouds my watching of his shows with sadness. Bourdain’s passing remains such a loss to the world, not to mention his family and loved ones. This place needs his humor and generous lens on the world more than ever.
I’ve been getting reacquainted with him after discovering the 24/7 “Anthony Bourdain RIP” feed on Twitch. There is something comforting in this nasty and brutish time about the empathy, astute observations, and smart-assed genius in one “No Reservations” episode after another.
I spend too much time stewing in my rage about the corruption and incompetence that plagues our country. The state of the country is one of insularity and hate; “Making America Great Again” no doubt thrives on an us-versus-them mentality (“them” being other countries, other races and ethnic groups, even the elderly and physically fragile who somehow endanger one’s right to get a haircut) that will kill us all.
Watching Bourdain get to know “the other” across the planet, one meal and family and conversation at a time, is restoring my beaten-down faith in humanity.