The Loss of Anthony Bourdain

June 8, 2018 (Last Updated: May 17, 2019) - As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

I need to take a few minutes to talk about Anthony Bourdain. He passed away and it kind of hit me in a way that not many celebrity deaths do. It is saddening to learn about his death and I am sure that his family is devastated right now. It sucks to lose our loved ones, particularly when it isn’t expected and/or untimely. So, it isn’t that kind of loss for me, but I do feel a loss of sorts. I am going to take a second just to talk about what Anthony Bourdain does mean to me. He is cool, a badass, and one of the first people to show me that food can be more than a list of ingredients.

First Things First

Mental illness and suicide is no monkey business. We all need help sometimes and if you find yourself in a spot where you can’t deal with it yourself, get that help. 1-800-273-8255 is the number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Someone cares about you. Find that person.

The Coolness of Anthony Bourdain

A few months ago in a different post I wrote:

I don’t need to wait for an Anthony Bourdain or celebrity chef to tell me what tastes great or what is worth eating.

Perhaps you think this is a bit of a dig, but it isn’t. It speaks to the influence he has on people. When he says something, people listen. If he goes to a place and films it or writes about it, assuredly, others will follow.

He takes a thing that others may ridicule or mock in the haute food world and makes them cool. Whether he is hanging at a Waffle House or writing an intro to a book named “Grand Forks: A History of American Dining in 128 Reviews”, he changes the game and can help people find an appreciation for the unappreciated or ignored.

I have written two letters to celebrities in my lifetime. One was to Alyssa Milano when I was about 12 or so. I had a crush on her. The other was a few years ago to Anthony Bourdain. I also have a crush on Anthony Bourdain.

The Badassery of Anthony Bourdain

Remember when he went to Beruit?

How about Iran?

Not only the sheer badassery of choosing to be in these places, but maybe there is a badassery in something else. Bourdain worked to bring the world a bit closer together.

He changed things for me

I am no Anthony Bourdain, but the website you are reading is partially inspired by him. All food has a story to tell and Bourdain was a storyteller. If he was traveling to Amsterdam or talking about the street food of Thailand, he was doing more than just reviewing the food. He was trying to find the story behind the food and the little bits and pieces that we all can identify with.

One of the purposes of Ramshackle Pantry is to bring food and the meaning of that food a little bit closer to us. Maybe we can appreciate each other a bit more. Perhaps by identifying why molasses became a thing (most likely, slaves invented it), we can appreciate our shared timeline and humanity just an iota bit more. Fancy food, street food, and ALL FOOD! It can bring people together.

How Anthony Bourdain told his stories absolutely has impacted me and how I view food.

A note

Sigh… you didn’t have to do this and there is a world grieving you not being on this planet today. I hope you are meeting up with all the people you have missed. I’d recommend grabbing lunch with Jim Harrison, but you probably know that. Thank you for inspiring me and so many people on this big ol’ spitball of dirt.

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  • Reply
    June 9, 2018 at 6:47 am

    Bourdain’s death has me. He seemed so full of life, it’s hard to process. Of course I didn’t know him, but from what I’m reading even his close friends are in shock. I guess you never know.

    I can’t say he played quite the role in my life that he did in yours, but I can say that his was one of the very, very few food shows that I actually watched and enjoyed. He was the real deal. I enjoyed the fact that he sought out good eating wherever he could find it, whether that was a shack in Borneo or a 5-star restaurant in Tokyo. He was the real deal.

    • Reply
      June 9, 2018 at 9:59 am

      You never know what people are going through. No matter the ‘status’ or apparent happiness, I guess.

  • Reply
    Jeff the Chef
    June 10, 2018 at 6:52 pm


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