This was not the blog I set out to write this week, but sometimes events overtake plans…..
This week we learnt of the sad and very untimely death of Anthony Bourdain. A chef, a writer, a traveller, a story teller, a champion of the underdog, a drinker, a drug taker, someone who touched the lives of millions with his laconic smile and no bull shit attitude.
My life precludes me from following his route and travelling the world eating in out of the way places, and meeting the people, for whom, food is a passion… But thru his shows I was able to live vicariously. I learnt about many cultures that so differed to my own; I got introduced to meals I never knew existed… and his approach and often requoted thoughts reinforced for me how food is more than just physical sustenance, but a tie that binds, a story waiting to be shared…
His iconic meeting with Obama in a small family restaurant in Hanoi, sitting on plastic chairs, drinking beer from a bottle, to eat Vietnam’s most famous dish – prepared in its simplest form, was a snapshot of pure Bourdain….. Simple food, interesting people, all about living in the moment. I’m often asked which famous people I would have to dinner – normally none, what would I say? But Anthony was definitely one I would have welcomed….
Trawling through Social media over the past couple of days – and I have only run across 3 trolls! The rest is people, like me, disbelieving that someone they so related to, was gone. Chefs who I admire, were stunned, saddened to lose another of their own; people who had never met the man, grieving his loss.
Was he a saint? Ha ha ha… far from it! But it was his roughness, drinking, wish to keep moving and learning and exploring that touched so many of us.
I know he wrestled with his demons – as so many people who seem to burn bright do. And it’s pointless to wring our hands after the event and “Wish we’d known, so we could have helped”. And it also may be pointless to ask those who have The Black Dog living with them to seek help before it’s too late – simply because the point of seeking help, may have already passed…. It is more incumbent of those who are around to promote kindness, respect, generosity; understanding for those who live on the fringe, who don’t quite “fit the mould”; and not buy into Hate commenting… I don’t know why he chose this time, when it appeared he had everything to live for, but that is the very nature of depression – it doesn’t play by the rules….
If you do have this fight, I wish you strength and hope.. If you have someone in your life who wrestles The Black Dog, I wish you strength and hope, hold them close, and take care of yourself…
So tonight, I will gather my family to the table, we will eat something simple, homely and (hopefully) well cooked…. And we will raise a glass to a man who opened our eyes to the world…..