Food As A Philosophy

This past Saturday I dragged my husband we went to see Anthony Bourdain speak! He started off with talking about his hatred for Food Network, Rachel Ray, Giada DeLaurentiis’s unusually large head, and wanting to light chain restaurants on fire. But as he went on, his true passion for food began to emerge. This is why I relate to him. He understands that food is not just something you stuff into your mouth to hold you over until your stomach is growling again. It’s the common thread between every culture in the world. It breaks all language barriers. He also pointed out how personal food is. It is the direct result of a person’s history. When someone cooks you a home-made meal, they are sharing their life story. He also discussed travel. Anthony made a great point. He said so many tourists are hesitant to try “street food” in order to avoid getting sick. If you try the club sandwich or the chicken caesar salad at a chain hotel restaurant, the cooks know you are traveling, the food is probably a few days old, and they know they will probably never see you again. The guy down the street with the line of locals standing at his food cart is a much better bet. Those people live in that village. They see the guy day in and day out. He’s clearly not poisoning people (plus they probably know where he lives!).  He said something that struck a chord with me. He said something that I realized only within the past 7 or 8 years. He said “Try everything”. Try all the food you come across, you never know until you try. That’s how you will taste the best food in your life. That’s how you have those memorable nights! The time the car broke down and you stumbled into a random bar and had the best night of your life. The unplanned and the unknown are where life’s greatest surprises are. At this point of the show, I was completely mesmerized. I’m sure some people in the audience took this part at face value, and I feel sorry for them. It was so much deeper than “You’ll come across some good grub if you don’t always order the usual”. It was my travel philosophy. If you are in Jamaica, don’t order the burger. Order the jerk chicken and try the callaloo (callaloo is AWESOME!!! I tried it on our honeymoon along with ginep a local fruit). If you’re in Mexico, order the margarita not a Chardonnay. Immerse yourself in the culture. Fill your body with the tastes of your surroundings. It’s my philosophy of life. Try everything. Be curious. I’m not saying I would uproot myself from my job, my family, leave everything to move to Morocco for a year (although that does sound pretty admirable). If opportunities to try something new present themselves (free concert tickets to a band you’ve never heard of or an entrée you’ve never tried on a menu), give it a shot.

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154 responses to “Food As A Philosophy

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  3. I love trying the local flavor when I go somewhere new to me. Street food is usually the best and I don’t mind waiting b/c if I figure if there is a long line of people waiting for it, it has to be good. Just like you said, how will you know if you don’t like something if you never try it?

  4. Such a great post. I love it.
    I always apologize to new guests at my table that being Orthodox Jews is a very gastronomic experience. Not everyone has eaten gefilte fish, ground up fish with horseradish, or marrow bones in their soup. My boys still argue over the marrow fighting for larger portions. We offer the guests who often decline this treat. But the best is kishke in the cholent. Stuffed derma (cow intestine) cooked in a stew of potatoes meat and beans.
    When you come to my house to eat, I will encourage to try everything!
    Only afterward tell you what you ate.
    Thanks!

    • Sometimes that’s the best way to do it! Tell them after. When I was little, my dad used to tell me everything was chicken until after I ate it. I tried shrimp, veal, and so many other things from his little trick! Ha! Loves it!
      xo
      Mindy

  5. awesome post. You have just worded what I have been doing all through my life, but couldn’t pen it down appropriately. “Try everything” and “Immerse yourself in the culture” are the two points i couldn’t agree more.. and the street food logic is absolutely correct.
    thanks for this post mindy. I would recommend to read this in my network :)

    balu.

  6. I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot recently — especially with some anthropology studies out there that name food as a representation of identity. For example, when living abroad a lot of us keep ties with our home country by importing the foods we’ve grown up with (Greek sausage, Indian spices, peanut butter…) or give away where we’re from by how we treat our meal time. It’s more common for an Americans and British to eat a quick sandwich, alone, while walking than say for an Italian or West African. But weirdly enough, this quick lunch trend is gaining popularity globally and also shows how globalization is permeating attitudes about time and convenience.

    Basically, there’s a lot to be said about food and kudos for bringing up some good points about it!

    Jessie

    • Globalization of the sandwich! That is big. That does reflect attitudes about time & convenience. It kind of makes me sad. I was recently in Jamica, and the culture forces you to slow down. Not too much grab & go food. The slower change of pace forces you to stop and smell the roses. Thanks for you view Jessie!
      xo
      Mindy

  7. Thank you for sharing. I too believe that food is much more than just satisfying the need to eat. It is about community, history and relationships. What a wonderful experience so many people are missing out on. So glad you are able to experience and share with us.

  8. Excellent article! Great photos. Delightful comments. I enjoyed this. Thank you.

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  10. Yeah, we love Tony in this house. He’s not false and smiley about everything. We love his snark and sarcasm and the fact that he doesn’t love everything he tries.

    And I hate Giada primarily because she cooks fatty, calorie rich Italian food but looks like a model. Just not fair. ^_^ Oh and her teeth creep me out. Rachael Ray just tries too hard to be cool and people 50+ seem to think she is. The rest of us know better. Bourdain is cool for the same reason anyone else is, because he’s himself and he just doesn’t care if people think he’s cool or not, he’s just himself. Which of course is a total food bad-ass.

  11. Anthony Bourdain is one of my absolute favorites. He’s genuine. He says what is going through his head, no sugar-coating. What I especially love about his show “No Reservations” is that he picks out particular places, cuisines, food artists and brings them to the forefront, pointing out their “individuality” and exquisite traits. He makes food “personal”, bringing you in and engaging you in the conversation, making you feel a part of the encounter. Dining in many cultures has always been an act of intimacy – sharing a meal and engaging personally with those around your table. I think he is keen at driving this concept home, bringing diversity in culture to light, while weaving the common thread of humanity and service to each other in each episode.

  12. This post is awsome. I love Anthony Bourdain. :)

  13. Great post!! I love his “No Reservations” show… Travellin and food – brilliant combination… “try everything” is a motto i try to live by too.. :)

  14. Awesome Post! Bourdain is awesome and I totally agree with the thoughts of “Try Everything.” It’s definitely made things a little more exciting!

  15. The best analysis I’ve read recently about the obsession with food is in the Atlantic Monthly; go to http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/03/the-moral-crusade-against-foodies/8370/

  16. Congrats on the Fresh Press. Love this. Anthony Bourdain is pretty inspiring! Thanks for sharing! :)

  17. It’s always been my dream to have my own cooking and/or traveling show. LOL I think trying a different country or culture’s food/street food is not just about being bold or adventurous. It’s also about openness to new experiences or perhaps to a different culture. The world is infinitely wonderful, there’s just so much to see, so much to experience and SO MUCH TO TASTE ! :)

    Thanks for this post Mindy! :)

  18. The margarita is’t big deal, try the “pulque”.

  19. Very well written post and conveyed Anthony ‘s thoughts even better in layman’s words…its a gr8 post..
    I’m from India …and street food is the place u’ll get to taste the authenticity, variety and burst of flavours..even the country’s #1 five star hotel can’t hold a candle to that..it’s such a shame like Anthony says…people avoid street food…even urbanized Indians do the same, but they lose out on so much … If u r ever in India…try the Pani puri’s (or) Gol Gappe’s on the street ..u’ll love it…Cheers!!!

  20. Amen, Ms. Mindy…nice job and congrats hun, on being FP’ed!

  21. I love your SilverLinings blog. Very positive and touching. Great photographs! Rare to see food and real families in one photo together.

    Also, love Anthony B. Like that he says try everything and sees that food and culture are intertwined. Also, that food cultures come from other food cultures, whether by fleeing a country or immigration, or intermarriage of cultures.

  22. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading.Nice blog,I will keep visiting this blog very often.

  23. Yes, it is very important for our heath to be very conscious in food balancing..and i am happy by your post really it’s very important..thank you.

  24. Hahaha damn your deep girlll with your hole understanding of food i like that persepcitve i mean my moddo is quantity not quality soo i mean im good with like 2 boxes of lil ceasers pizza but thats not me
    anyway nice article your cute btw

  25. Great post! I love Anthony Bourdain. Kitchen Confidential was great, and he’s dreamy. I’m a tad jealous that you were in the presence of my food husband.

    Good advice, too. I remember eating street food in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Even the locals said, “you ate that?” Haha. It was cheap, tasty, and I didn’t die, obviously. :-)

    Congratulations! Well deserved.

    • HaHaHa! Food Husband! Awesome!

      I’ve been to Santo Domingo (on the “Day of theCow”!!) It was crazy in the streets! I didn’t eat because we were just passing through (by accident of course) but I’ll never forget that experience. Thanks for reminding me of that.

  26. Nice post…i like it. Congrats on being freshly pressed.

  27. I’m so jealous you got to hear him speak! I missed him when he was in San Diego. I have to agree with you that curiosity always keeps life interesting, even if it’s scary at the time. Take a chance, you’ll never know what you get. I spied your blog on the WP front page and I must say I love your sense of humor. Keep it up :)

    And yes, Giada’s head is MASSIVE.

    -N

  28. i loved ur blog… food being my favorite all the time… truly loved your post….

  29. Great Post! Tony is my culinary and literary hero. I have been waiting for him to come speak in my neck of the woods. No such luck yet, maybe I will have to travel to see him, and try something new while I am there. Thanks again for the great read!

  30. Love Anthony, he is a true foodie. Not afraid to eat REAL food and really be with the people that prepare it. I would love to meet him as well.

  31. Mindy,
    Congratulations on your FP!!!! you always have to try something new ….. or you will never know! This was a fantastic post. I enjoyed each and every word. I have to say you are now the “Big Cheese” (no pun intended : )
    Enjoy !!!!

  32. You had me at Anthony Bourdain! For the most part when reading random blog I glance through them but I read it all and enjoyed it! Thank you

  33. I totally did this a few weeks ago at a restaurant our friends took us too. I ate fried smelt and cod cheek!

  34. I love this post. I grew up with callaloo so I get it home made, but if it were new to a person I can see them hesitating. It’s green, viscousy, and can be seemingly questionable. But it’s home to me, it tastes great with stewed chicken. I love food adventures, I’ve bought tamales from some chick in the parking lot and they were sooooooo gooooood. I’ve gambled and lost, but those are the risks you take. You have to accept that every time you eat out anyway. Just today I tried a Thai place recommended on yelp and it wasn’t so great. But now I know.

    But I would say that I think the people don’t get sick because they are used to that food, they’ve built up a tolerance. Some people have finicky tummies. Just the way I see it.

    • Callaloo reminded me of the flavor of my great grandmother’s stuffed artichokes. Not the texture, but the garlicky, complex flavor. Yelp is hit or miss for me.
      xo
      Mindy

      • You know what’s funny, if I smell garlic I know my taste buds are in for a good time. I’m Chinese/Venezuelan/Caribbean with lots of other bits in. So I love garlic, but I’ve noticed a lot of people don’t like the smell. Callaloo uses an interesting blend of green veg (okra and spinach base) and layers it with garlic. Toss in shrimp or crab and serve with traditional stewed chicken. It’s a rib sticker. Plus really healthy.

        Yeah, not the first time yelp has let me down. But it doesn’t deter me from trying new things.

      • I’m Italian so garlic is a constant. That garlic smell is what enticed me in the first place. I love it! I talk trash about yelp, but on occasion, I use it too. Urban spoon is nice too. I’ve also found that googling for example if you’re going to be in New Haven, CT “New Haven’s Best Pizza” and see what comes up. A lot of times, cities publish a local survey of the “best of” cuisines. Locals know their food best.

  35. Very cool article, A Bourdain it’s one of the greatest guru of street food around the world…thanks to share it, great blog!! greetings from Mexico

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  37. Nice post. You’ve got a great attitude. Here’s my take on foodies: http://www.popmatters.com/features/060815-foodporn.shtml

    Resist the fetish. Enjoy,
    Paul

  38. hi! i came across this post on WordPress’ frontpage. i really admire Anthony Bourdain and reading your blog makes me really looking forward to getting that vacation i’ve always wanted. ‘you’ll never get the soul of the place until you’ve tasted the local food’, this is the best way to experience the culture. thanks!

    p.s. i’ll be following your blog starting now. :)

  39. I used to be the kind of person that when I went to a restaurant I ordered the same thing ever time, but now when I eat out I try to get something different. It’s a hit or miss but definitely makes for a good adventure :D great post.

  40. Great blog! And it’s so true that you should “Try everything”! How else would I have found ginger or green chile ice cream in Mumbai, suckling pig in Bali or every kind of juice under the sun in Colombia or Brazil?

  41. I completely agree with the notion that food is part of our personal history. But I also think that food culture is also an essential part of human history and is often overlooked in the great histories of the past civilisations. Along language food is the best and easiest way to learn about your fellow human beings!

  42. I’m so happy to know I’m not the only one who notices Giada’s ridiculously large head!!! Great post!

  43. I wholeheartedly agree with your philosophy on eating and travel.

  44. Mindy,

    My girlfriend stumbled across your blog and sent it to me. We are both new to the blogging world, but this one you wrote sums up a lot of things for us. We both started blogs so we could keep in touch with each other, last month I left home in the U.S. after a lot of years of planning because we decided it would be best for me to go abroad for 18 months to study food/wine and culture. It’s my passion, and even though leaving her was tough, she was super supportive because she knew how much it meant to me. And it only means that much to me because of all of the things you listed in your blog. Great read. Glad you are able to see life this way.

  45. Anthony Bourdain was one of those little closet cool dudes that I have been following since his first book was published. Being a closet gourmet, it was refreshing to read and subsequently watch the exploits of such a free and kindred spirit.

    As time goes on, more and more people are finding out who he is and what he stands for, which I view as a very good things. Thank you for sharing this post.

  46. Great post. You make me want to take a very long trip and some cooking lessons. :)

  47. That’s cool you got to see Anthony Bourdain speak! Also, great pictures you included with the article, they really capture the personal, story-sharing side of food

  48. I clicked on your post because of the picture of Tony Bourdain…I love him!!! I watch no reservations close to everyday and your post was awesome! Ever since I started watching no reservations I have been trying a lot more food…I use to look at the food and if it looked different or like something I wouldnt like I just wouldnt even give it a chance.
    Again awesome post and congrats on being fp (:
    http://newzealandbakerdreamer.wordpress.com/

  49. Great pictues! Thank you!

  50. nearlynormalized

    LOVE ANTHONY!!!! Food and culture, right there and it is it’s own language–universal.

  51. Nice.

    I like Anthony Bourdain a lot. He is one of very few television personalities I feel deserve to be on TV.

    Nice post.

  52. WOW! Great read Min… I really enjoyed it. ALOT! CONGRATS!

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  54. Hi Mindy

    OMG, you hit EVERYTHING right on the nail! Thank you for writing such an insightful post. I love coming across people who understand food as culture, history, and biography all in one.

    First off, it’s great you support Anthony Bourdain! No Reservations is by far one of the top shows out there–the guy’s so likable. Your opening paragraph caught my attention, but your second, third, and fourth paragraph sealed the deal!

    I wish more people would have this kind of philosophy in life with using food as a means to open their minds and experiences. I really think there’s a whole new world out there that can be opened up for people who are able to see food as more than just sustenance. And YES, street food is a must when traveling. It’s the only way to fully immerse yourself into a culture…and more importantly, it’s a way to expand your horizons which will leads to other new connections in the brain so that your entire world view broadens.

    Be curious, try everything…I like your philosophy in life Mindy:) Thanks once again for sharing this most-important-of-issues many don’t pay attention to in the humdrum of their lives.

  55. I think “be curious” is a great way to live. Life would be so boring if you weren’t.

  56. Great advise on trying everything (something I do) and I really like the pictures!

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  58. All County Insurance - Brea, California

    Great post! Even though I am a vegetarian I still have a similar philosophy and even before I became a vegetarian I had tried some interesting ‘food’ from around the world. I definitely agree that you’ve got to try the stuff on the streets! They know what they’re doing, they’re more personable and most of the time it’s less expensive! What’s that food in the 3rd picture down? It looks like something I tried on the streets of Ecuador, a kind of cheese pancake, I don’t remember what they called it but it was amazing! Congrats on being FP!

  59. He is quite the character and sure does speak his mind…but I guess that’s why we like him. He seems like a real person. He sure does grab life by the ba##s and live it to the fullest! What’s so funny is I agree totally with his depiction of his “rivals” and love that he has “No Reservations”, ha, ha!

  60. Mindy, congrats of FP. What a great post! I actually met Anthony Bourdain on one of the Food Festivals. He was wonderful and surprisingly very down to earth. I absolutely love his show his books. Congrats again!

    • I’m loving his books too! He was actually a writer for a while in addition to being a chef. Since he narrates his show so well, as I read, I swear I can hear his voice narrating the book! I’m currently reading Medium Raw. Thank you!!
      xo
      Mindy

  61. Mindy, thank you so much for this great post. I am married to a Le Cordon Bleu trained chef and greatly admire the absolute hard work that goes into preparing for such a career. Anthony Bourdain is one of our favorites. His complete honesty on topics is one of his traits I admire. Your post is fantastic and one of the few Freshly Pressed that actually should be here. I will certainly be visiting often. Congrats on FP! Well deserved!
    Please take a look at my wife’s very first fondant cake. I think she is a natural.
    http://wp.me/p17r6L-qM

  62. Great post. I love to try everything once. If I dont like it, never again. But if I do … watch out! Congrats on being Freshly Pressed.

  63. anthony bourdain is the shit. his outlook on food travel and everything about it is amazing. i would have loved to see him talk about everything food.

  64. I enjoyed reading your post. I’ve followed Bourdain for a very long time and I admire his candid and honest approach to food and life. Cheers.

  65. Thanks for this- great read! I had never, ever thought of that before- regarding eating from the street vendord whilst on holiday. And he is absolutely right! So obvious! This is going to change the way I explore food in other countries…

  66. Food–the cultural imperative–so true. I love Anthony Bourdain! Congrats on being freshly pressed!
    blogging from Haiti,
    Kathy

  67. Love Anthony Bourdain. My husband likes to tease me about my crush on him…..We missed him in Houston so I’m glad to read a little about his talk! Great advice, all of it.

  68. You should check out the TED talk on eating insects (ted.com)

    • That might be the only thing I won’t try…… :( Bleh! crawly! It took me a while to try crabs because I think they look too much like giant spiders.

      • Haha! That’s funny. And crabs are actually giant spiders. They are part of the arachnid family. I loved your post by the way. I am a huge fan of Antony Bourdain and a fellow advocate of enjoying what you eat rather than shoveling food into your face. I have to admit that I have eaten insects, but only when I was traveling. I stayed in a few indigenous pueblos in Mexico and you kind of have to eat whatever they put in front of you (I also have to admit that they were quite good).

      • I knew it!!! LOL! That’s quite the experience you had! When in Rome! I’d probably eat it if it had buffalo sauce on it ;)

  69. It’s a philosophy I wish every traveller had. When I first visited Hiroshima I’d heard about the okonomiyaki and wanting to avoid a chain place I asked the people at the hostel where they went to buy it. I ended up sat in what was pretty much a 90 year old lady’s kitchen and the food was just incredible!

    Congrats on being freshly pressed by the way!

  70. I lovoe anthony!! He came to austin once and I about died. I totally agree with his food philosophy, yes…TRY EVERYTHING! its about the experience. :)

  71. I heart Anthony Bourdain…this is the perfect Valentine’s Day blog post.
    :)

    Thanks so much!

  72. “Try everything. Be curious.” Allow me to add “never decide you have it all figured out.” Great post. Thanks for sharing, I would love to see AB speak!

    Crystal

  73. I truly enjoyed reading this post, and living in a country which has more language that I can ever count – trying everything is what brings out the best in all of us!

  74. Anthony B is awesome. And Giada does have an unusually large head, it annoys me.

    I love trying the local flavor when I go somewhere new to me. Street food is usually the best and I don’t mind waiting b/c if I figure if there is a long line of people waiting for it, it has to be good. Just like you said, how will you know if you don’t like something if you never try it?

  75. This is such a great post. I always love reading your blog.Your pictures are always so awesome! I had a milestone on my blog this past week and I wanted to Thank You for helping to make it possible by you coming to my blog and posting comments. Thanks Again!

  76. i love this!! he is a bad ass. i really love that he talked about his hatred for rachael and giada’s big head. hilarious!

    • LOL! Yeah, he went off about Food Network characters for about 10 whole minutes! He likes & dislikes the same people as me coincidentally. He likes the Barefoot Contessa & Alton Brown. He likes Giada’s recipes just not her head HAHAH!
      xo
      Mindy

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