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Post by TomQC on Wed Jun 12, 2019 9:27 am

Anthony Bourdain wrote:

"Americans love Mexican food. We consume nachos, tacos, burritos, tortas, enchiladas, tamales and anything resembling Mexican in enormous quantities. We love Mexican beverages, happily knocking back huge amounts of tequila, mezcal, and Mexican beer every year. We love Mexican people—we sure employ a lot of them. Despite our ridiculously hypocritical attitudes towards immigration, we demand that Mexicans cook a large percentage of the food we eat, grow the ingredients we need to make that food, clean our houses, mow our lawns, wash our dishes, and look after our children. As any chef will tell you, our entire service economy—the restaurant business as we know it—in most American cities, would collapse overnight without Mexican workers. Some, of course, like to claim that Mexicans are “stealing American jobs.” But in two decades as a chef and employer, I never had ONE American kid walk in my door and apply for a dishwashing job, a porter’s position—or even a job as a prep cook. Mexicans do much of the work in this country that Americans, probably, simply won’t do.

We love Mexican drugs. Maybe not you personally, but “we”, as a nation, certainly consume titanic amounts of them—and go to extraordinary lengths and expense to acquire them. We love Mexican music, Mexican beaches, Mexican architecture, interior design, Mexican films.

So, why don’t we love Mexico?

We throw up our hands and shrug at what happens and what is happening just across the border. Maybe we are embarrassed. Mexico, after all, has always been there for us, to service our darkest needs and desires. Whether it’s dress up like fools and get passed-out drunk and sunburned on spring break in Cancun, throw pesos at strippers in Tijuana, or get toasted on Mexican drugs, we are seldom on our best behavior in Mexico. They have seen many of us at our worst. They know our darkest desires.

In the service of our appetites, we spend billions and billions of dollars each year on Mexican drugs—while at the same time spending billions and billions more trying to prevent those drugs from reaching us. The effect on our society is everywhere to be seen. Whether it’s kids nodding off and overdosing in small town Vermont, gang violence in L.A., burned out neighborhoods in Detroit—it’s there to see. What we don’t see, however, haven’t really noticed, and don’t seem to much care about, is the 80,000 dead in Mexico, just in the past few years—mostly innocent victims. Eighty thousand families who’ve been touched directly by the so-called “War On Drugs”.

Mexico. Our brother from another mother. A country, with whom, like it or not, we are inexorably, deeply involved, in a close but often uncomfortable embrace. Look at it. It’s beautiful. It has some of the most ravishingly beautiful beaches on earth. Mountains, desert, jungle. Beautiful colonial architecture, a tragic, elegant, violent, ludicrous, heroic, lamentable, heartbreaking history. Mexican wine country rivals Tuscany for gorgeousness. Its archeological sites—the remnants of great empires, unrivaled anywhere. And as much as we think we know and love it, we have barely scratched the surface of what Mexican food really is. It is NOT melted cheese over tortilla chips. It is not simple, or easy. It is not simply “bro food” at halftime. It is in fact, old—older even than the great cuisines of Europe, and often deeply complex, refined, subtle, and sophisticated. A true mole sauce, for instance, can take DAYS to make, a balance of freshly (always fresh) ingredients painstakingly prepared by hand. It could be, should be, one of the most exciting cuisines on the planet, if we paid attention. The old school cooks of Oaxaca make some of the more difficult and nuanced sauces in gastronomy. And some of the new generation—many of whom have trained in the kitchens of America and Europe—have returned home to take Mexican food to new and thrilling heights.

It’s a country I feel particularly attached to and grateful for. In nearly 30 years of cooking professionally, just about every time I walked into a new kitchen, it was a Mexican guy who looked after me, had my back, showed me what was what, and was there—and on the case—when the cooks like me, with backgrounds like mine, ran away to go skiing or surfing or simply flaked. I have been fortunate to track where some of those cooks come from, to go back home with them. To small towns populated mostly by women—where in the evening, families gather at the town’s phone kiosk, waiting for calls from their husbands, sons and brothers who have left to work in our kitchens in the cities of the North. I have been fortunate enough to see where that affinity for cooking comes from, to experience moms and grandmothers preparing many delicious things, with pride and real love, passing that food made by hand from their hands to mine.

In years of making television in Mexico, it’s one of the places we, as a crew, are happiest when the day’s work is over. We’ll gather around a street stall and order soft tacos with fresh, bright, delicious salsas, drink cold Mexican beer, sip smoky mezcals, and listen with moist eyes to sentimental songs from street musicians. We will look around and remark, for the hundredth time, what an extraordinary place this is.

The received wisdom is that Mexico will never change. That is hopelessly corrupt, from top to bottom. That it is useless to resist—to care, to hope for a happier future. But there are heroes out there who refuse to go along. On this episode of “Parts Unknown,” we meet a few of them. People who are standing up against overwhelming odds, demanding accountability, demanding change—at great, even horrifying personal cost."
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Post by brigitte on Wed Jun 12, 2019 9:32 am

It hits home as one ecologist wanting to preserve trees and anmals was just shot in Chiapas... Bourdain hit the nail on the head with this one.

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Post by Jreboll on Wed Jun 12, 2019 10:26 am

Oh, this guy had a way with words!

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Post by CanuckBob on Wed Jun 12, 2019 10:38 am

Great article. He truly nailed it particularly on the "hypocritical" immigration system and the amount of work and services provided by Mexicans within the USA.

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Post by brigitte on Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:56 am

Since he worked in restaurants which are full of illegals, he knew about the broken system and the drugs and so on..

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Post by barbicheesecake on Wed Jun 12, 2019 2:02 pm

Thanks for a great article.
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Post by ComputerGuy on Wed Jun 12, 2019 2:33 pm

And yet he came here for two broadcast episodes, purportedly on the cuisine, and spent most of each episode verbally ripping the country apart, based almost solely on opinions garnered from the myopic American press. he saw no cartel action, he encountered no murdered journalists, he met with no politicians. He simply took the widely-accepted notion that beautiful Mexico is a living hell, one that only outsiders take. In the news up north, a murder takes place "in Mexico". Well, this is a fairly big country, and that's like asking me "You're from Canada? Do you know Mike from Canmore?"

I never watched another episode of anything in which he was involved.
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Post by brigitte on Wed Jun 12, 2019 2:37 pm

He knew plenty of Mexicans from working in the kitchens.. so his vison was probably party their take on Mexico, everyone has their opinion.

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Post by ComputerGuy on Wed Jun 12, 2019 3:40 pm

Yes, he did, and he really should have known better. Look, here's a guy who sweeps in with a huge entourage, getting everyone excited and about as high as you can get without drugs. There is no "reality" in that. He did the same thing in dozens of countries, and he sends scouts ahead to find these people. He once did an episode on Canada, and if you believed him, the only food we make is by gourmet chefs who catch all their fish under the ice in winter outside of Quebec City. His commentary about Canada and its peoples was so cursory as to be laughable.
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Post by CanuckBob on Wed Jun 12, 2019 3:45 pm

I'm sure he met with lots of different people off set while shooting in Mexico. Each episode probably was filmed over a couple of weeks.

BTW....he also did an episode in Vancouver.


Last edited by CanuckBob on Wed Jun 12, 2019 3:59 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by CHILLIN on Wed Jun 12, 2019 3:58 pm

You sure have a different memory than I do ComputerGuy. He always reminded of a line in a Carlos Santana song "make it real or forget about it". I remember one Mexican food story about a Chilies franchise just this side of the U.S. border, just a small distance from original restaurant in Mexico that prepared nacho cheese snacks for military servicemen wives.
Any fine food distinctly Canadian IS laughable, and any coverage should be cursory. I read an article about those Quebecois chefs in Saveur magazine, and yes they are incredibly talented and dedicated.
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Post by ComputerGuy on Wed Jun 12, 2019 5:58 pm

CanuckBob wrote:I'm sure he met with lots of different people off set while shooting in Mexico. Each episode probably was filmed over a couple of weeks. BTW....he also did an episode in Vancouver.

Of course he met with lots of people. And yet he managed to stay an incorrigible, self-centred jerk, with a myopic view of every country he visited. Just look at the list of famous chefs who agree: Wolfgang Puck. Emeril Lagasse. Sandra Lee. Paula Deen. Guy Fieri. Ramsay.

Okay, I know there are lots of people who like him. I don't. Whatever you post here won't change my mind, so let's not argue.
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Post by ltollefs on Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:04 pm

ComputerGuy wrote:
CanuckBob wrote:I'm sure he met with lots of different people off set while shooting in Mexico. Each episode probably was filmed over a couple of weeks. BTW....he also did an episode in Vancouver.

Of course he met with lots of people. And yet he managed to stay an incorrigible, self-centred jerk, with a myopic view of every country he visited. Just look at the list of famous chefs who agree: Wolfgang Puck. Emeril Lagasse. Sandra Lee. Paula Deen. Guy Fieri. Ramsay.

Okay, I know there are lots of people who like him. I don't. Whatever you post here won't change my mind, so let's not argue.

Argument from Authority. Textbook.
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Post by ComputerGuy on Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:30 pm

??
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Post by brigitte on Wed Jun 12, 2019 8:07 pm

Most good and great chefs are self centered jerks.. There are a few nice ones but very few...Their job is very difficult and stressful and the successful ones usually have big egos. They have to be tough and demanding in the kitchen and that is part of the job. I sold wines for 30 years and also prepared menus and events with famous chefs, they all have one thing in common, they are demanding, perfectionists, difficult to deal with that is the nature of the job.. They are also lots of fun love to get together with other chefs and raise hell.. so Bourdain was not very different from the other famous chefs..

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Post by ComputerGuy on Wed Jun 12, 2019 8:16 pm

I understand all that, and hold them no ill will or think any less of them. But I'm not talking about his cooking skills, his bedside manner in the kitchen... none of that. I'm talking about his holier-than-thou attitude towards a whole country. On public display.
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Post by brigitte on Thu Jun 13, 2019 8:41 am

I think that was his stick.. he was arrogant and know itsll and it sold....that was part of hs pubpic image..

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Post by ltollefs on Thu Jun 13, 2019 9:36 am

<pedant>
schtick
</pedant>
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Post by CHILLIN on Thu Jun 13, 2019 5:51 pm

Tony loved and supported the Ramones. Good enough for me. Also an early New Yorker - Lou Reed. Why do my most go to artistes end up dead? At least Iggy Pop gets a minor role in the newest Zombie movie, which will be funny as heck for the Cannabis crew!
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Post by ltollefs on Thu Jun 13, 2019 8:17 pm

Jarmusch!
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Post by brigitte on Thu Jun 13, 2019 10:11 pm

yes sorry.. schtick

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Post by Zedinmexico on Fri Jun 14, 2019 7:49 am

For people who have Global steaming boxes you can go to TV Series and they have all his CNN parts unknown episodes. I think he is one of those people you either like or dislike. My opinion is he made some of the best food and culture shows ever done. Others will think he is a horses ass

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Post by gringal on Fri Jun 14, 2019 9:09 am

Could we agree that he was a sad horse's ass who made good food and culture shows? We know of his sadness because of how his life ended. I enjoyed the shows and am sorry they are gone.

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Post by brigitte on Sat Jun 15, 2019 7:49 am

I went once to Les Halles, and really never heard of anyone in NY bragging about his food. He was a celebrity chef but was not that known for his food in NY.. Maybe I ran with the wrong crowd.. Hs friend Eric yes..
He was a strong talented personality, good showman and knew how to entertain.. Yes he was a sad character but there are lots of sad people out there that dd not have his talent.

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Post by Zedinmexico on Sun Jun 16, 2019 8:03 am

Ok so he is a mediocre chef but he made some of the most thoughtful interesting cultural/food shows around. I feel very sorry for his child and I am quite pissed at him for leaving his family and us. He had a knack for making me think and usually something I had not thought about.

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