Saturday, October 24, 2009

Bourdain Ordained

Some of you may or may not know that Anthony Bourdain is absolutely one of my heroes for his brazen lust for life, foul mouth, and traveling culinary adventures. Recently, I got a chance to read his book Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly. I found his titillating expose of his experiences working in various kitchens across New York City to be absolutely enthralling both for his debauched lifestyle at the time and his compellingly pure view of food. For Bourdain, food is all about pleasure, the physical sensation and satisfaction that comes from eating a simple and carefully crafted meal. He doesnt care about fancy pretensions, expensive ingredients, or elaborate, adjective-laden menu items. Food is purely and simply for oral enjoyment and satisfaction. And that's mostly how I feel.

I'm pretty into food and definitely pretty into cooking, so coming across a chef who shares some of my sentiments regarding these things was both enlightening and exciting. For me, food is part of a great, life-long soul-searching endeavor; it is part of my everyday life. Well, that isnt entirely true. My time in Europe has been jam packed with incredible culinary experiences, but these experiences have not been everyday. Instead, my bouts with excellent and enlightening food have been embedded within a larger matrix of missed meals and empty stomachs. But in the end, these circumstances have helped to shape a new outlook on food for me, one where i go into eating with full knowledge of the hunger I have experienced in the past and a desire to dive head first into whatever new culinary adventure happens to come my way.

And this desire for new and exciting thing is what has typified my time in Europe; I have thrown caution and inhibition to the wind. My life- seemingly more debauched and nearly reckless than ever- is marked by a thirst and lust for new, enriching and even, mind-altering experiences. I see my time here as absolutely vital to my self cultivation, to my passing from the naive and misguided days of everything prior and into something more nuanced and informed. I am learning to live life as intentionally as possible in a very haphazard way. Now, that may sounds like a contradiction- and maybe it is- but I believe that it is better to live haphazardly on purpose than it is to float around and hope for the best. I am tired of floating. Even though it got me to a lot of places, I feel like I wasted a lot of time.

So thats why, maybe following in Bourdains footsteps, I think that it is absolutely okay for me to live a debauched lifestyle for the moment. Whether or not this new mindset of intentional haphazardness has any real longevity is yet you be seen. But, for the time being, I am fully aware that my time in Europe is nothing by temporary and in being aware of such, I am perfectly okay with living in a decadent haze. And that is owed precisely to the temporal nature of this lifestyle. It will no doubt change when I return to America, it has to, but that doesnt mean that I shouldnt suck the marrow out of this continent to the fullest extent possible.

And I plan on doing just that.


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