Sunday, October 23, 2011

New Pots, Anthony Bourdain, and why I occasionally miss the Midwest

Well, that birthday was unexpectedly culinary.

My parents, who are both crazy and understanding of my vision of exuberant aesthetics (that's what I'm calling it.  Sounds better than, "Likes loud colors and running around in circles!"), sent me a brand spanking new set of cooking pans. Orange cooking pans. 

Be still my October-baby heart.

Not to be outdone, THE best boyfriend on the planet bought me a very expensive ticket to see Anthony Bourdain speak in Oakland.  Super awesome.  Hilarious. Would have probably been a little bit better if the dumbest vegetarian on the planet wasn't sitting next to me.  Before you bite my head off, I have no problems with vegetarians, as long as they aren't telling me that I should be one.

This particular vegetarian was sitting in the expensive seats at an Anthony Bourdain event. Complaining. Loudly.  

...It's Anthony Bourdain.  He's written several books. Chapters on the wonders of pork fat.  A whole introduction in one book about how fantastic it was to eat a small endangered (illegal) French song bird. What on earth were you thinking, vegetarian girl? I doubt very much you know who this man is. I'm sorry for any confusion, but could you shut it while the man talks so that those of us who desire to put bacon in our faces can enjoy the thought of a home roasted pig from far away lands?

Somebody finally leaned over and asked her to be quiet.  She left. In a huff. What she was doing there, I will never know... but I almost wish she would have made it to the question and answer session.

As for the people that did make it to the question and answer session... It was really amazing how well Bourdain dealt with them.  It's a bit sad that I actually have to say things like this about an evening with a celebrity chef.  Why was this a war zone?  Because PETA is trying to outlaw Foie Gras, that's why.  And let me tell you something... those birds are treated alarmingly better than most (if not all) other livestock.  Knowing where your animal products come from is the key. But I digress.  

We were in Oakland, just North of San Francisco, so you can bet my seat neighbor wasn't the only pissed-off vegetarian in the audience.  Another well represented group in the audience were the people with the insane ideas about nutrition.  Crazy pants "I'd rather eat chemicals than calories!" people. Bourdain was able to calm these people down so easily... I wish I could take lessons from him in just that skill.  

Audience member: "Americans are fat. The problem is butter! They should stop eating butter!"
Bourdain: "Well, here's a list of reasons that fat is relative, no one should tell their children they should be a certain size. However, if your neighbor calls for help, you shouldn't be so fat that you can't get to them in a reasonable time. So, if you can't climb a flight of stairs, you've got a problem. Also, you should eat butter. Just don't deep fry it and use it for show."
Audience member: "Yes, Sir! You're so right! Thank you!"

Amazing. And humble. And I want his job, oh my god how I want it.

PS: The most amazing thing Anthony Bourdain said was something I've thought several times (and who doesn't love it when their heroes agree with them?).  Why do chain restaurants work so hard to make simple delicious recipes bad for you?  Cause, it takes work to do that.  It also takes work for you to insert something like canned soup into a perfect, simple recipe.  Why do people do this?  Somebody needs to bring back Home Economics for all students, or we're going to end up with more crazy like this:

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