One Reason for Bourdain to Lose the Spikes

By Karen

This week No Reservations visits Liberia, where Anthony Bourdain became deathly ill from a plethora of palm-based products, but either I’ve been stricken from the mailing list or Brandon at Room 214 dropped the ball, so I have no scoop except the trailer.

While I was poking around, I found the upcoming No Reservations in Kerala in southern India, where Tony traveled after Liberia. The episode features numerous scenes of Tony eating assorted piles of mush with his fingers, but I’m sure they were all delicious.

I also watched a special episode called “Where it All Began” that features 44-year-old Tony in 2000, working at Les Halles in his early Kitchen Confidential days. I found out he’s a speedy two-fingered typist, but I’ll let the rest of the content surprise you. I think you’re really gonna like it.

Mrs. Bourdain tweeted recently that Tony was off to Madrid for No Res, and I think he hit town just as Spain won the World Cup.

Bourdain has mentioned Iran as a possible destination, but if he ever books it, he might want to revisit the crewcut. Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance has banned decadent Western male hairstyles, including mullets, ponytails, and excessively-gelled spikes.

Tony blogged a touching tribute to the recently deceased Harvey Pekar, the man behind the American Splendor comic books who played a prominent role in the Cleveland episode of No Reservations, which Tony says is his all-time favorite.

Denver Westworld graciously accepted Bourdain’s on-air apology for past slights and approved of his treatment of their cuisine in last week’s “Heartland” episode.

But The Daily Page in Madison, WI, wasn’t thrilled with the coverage their neck of the woods got, to put it mildly.

Overall, it was a slow Bourdain week, although entries to the Medium Raw essay contest continue to pour in, standing at 918 the last time I looked. Which raises the question, what else could there possibly be left to say about cooking well?

Medium Raw remains at #2 on the New York Times bestseller list.

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3 Responses to One Reason for Bourdain to Lose the Spikes

  1. Adele says:

    It’s certainly not on my list of vacation hot spots, but I thought Tony did a helluva job on last night’s Liberia NR. He’s said elsewhere that it was a hard show to write (not to say a hard show to do), and it was certainly a hard show to watch — the extreme poverty, the haunted looks on the faces of many, the ruins of Monrovia, which was once a fairly modern city, but as the NR team does in its best work, the spirit and hospitality of people shone through. It was beautifully photographed.

    I was also struck by the familiarity of so many of the faces. There was a woman outside the church, who could easily have been Alfre Woodard, but I’ve seen many of those faces in Chicago. I guess it’s not surprising, because most African-Americans have West African lineage, but the sense of familiarity made me feel the devastation more keenly. Even the church service reminded me of the Full Gospel services I’ve attended here.

    Although Liberia was an independent country, colonialism takes many forms, including economic exploitation. And then, as in so many places, the world has no problem turning its head when violence erupts. Last night’s No Reservations did a good job of showing humanity in the midst of devastion. Wouldn’t the world be a lovely place if we could all recognize and honor the humanity of others?

  2. catsworking says:

    Adele, Brandon at Room 214 came through with a link to the episode yesterday afternoon and I watched it online. I agree with you. It was one of the best ones Bourdain has done in a while. It reminded me the first few years of No Res, when he was wondrously soaking in a lot of places for the first time.

    The scenes that really touched me were of the bottle he accepted from the son in Liberia and delivered to the father on Staten Island, becoming temporarily the link between them.

    Shows like that make me wonder why we’re stilling sinking fortunes into places like Afghanistan where there’s so little hope of success, when people in countries like Liberia would be so grateful for any help in turning their country around and work like dogs to make it happen.

  3. Adele says:

    Karen, I so agree; there are so many places in the world where our money might actually make a difference, assuming of course that it was distributed equitably and without corruption. There was probably a window in Afghanistan where we could have made a difference, but that window has been closed for several years.

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