Somewhere on a lake in Quebec, a wooden shanty sits on three feet of ice above twenty feet of water.
The unpainted, wooden walls are bare and undisguised, exposed to the cold air and the smoke escaping the stove. The sight in the center of the room seems strangely out of place. A white table cloth, beautiful wine glasses and vintage dinnerware are a sharp contrast to the unpolished interior surrounding it.
Even more surprising is the meal about to emerge. Boneless wild hare a la Escoffier, doused in a silky, thick ribbon of sauce (made with its own blood–not as gross as it sounds, America.) A delicate heap of black truffles adorns the top, and to complete this decadent and surprising meal is a thick slab of foie gras, seared straight on the top of the stove.
If I could steal this meal right off my television screen, I would. Anthony Bourdain is crooning over this Quebecois dish via Netflix, and I’m so enthralled by the highbrow/lowbrow feel of the shack and fine dining together that I stop, rewind, and watch it again. Then I write it down. And I underline the important parts, like…well, pretty much all of it.
Of course, not everyone is food obsessed, but I’m sure someone out there knows the feeling. I just want to eat every meal in the world, okay? There is so much good food out there from so many countries! How can I ever manage to taste it all?
For those of you that don’t watch Parts Unknown, a relatively unpublicized travel show hosted by Anthony Bourdain, it’s on Netflix, and it’s fascinating. I have a love/hate relationship with Anthony Bourdain–his writing is amazing, his sense of humor is both crude and eloquent and he reports on more than just the food, including the families and politics, occasionally alluding to his own dark past. And he doesn’t hide behind editing–he shows the gritty bits of the culinary and travel underworld.
And he’s probably had more good food than anyone ever has a right to.
But, like many people in this industry, he’s unabashedly vulgar at times, and that taints my enjoyment a little.
Either way, I find a lot of his shows entertaining and educational. It makes me want to eat at a sugar shack in Canada and try pancakes cooked in duck fat. I want to eat ceviche in Peru, fresh fish with a squeeze of lemon, maybe some octopus in there. I want to travel with Eric Ripert to study cocoa trees deep in the jungle! Take me there!
I’ve begun to concoct a culinary bucket list. It pretty much contains every food item on earth, but I am determined to try it all. Somehow, some way.
And I’m going to have to take up some serious cardio or you’ll have to roll me out of here. It wouldn’t be fair to eat all that food and be skinny, too.