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“RIP” Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain on New Orleans food

“In America, there might be better gastronomic destinations than New Orleans, but there is no place more uniquely wonderful. … With the best restaurants in New York, you’ll find something similar to it in Paris or Copenhagen or Chicago. But there is no place like New Orleans. So it’s a must-see city because there’s no explaining it, no describing it. You can’t compare it to anything. So, far and away New Orleans.”

— Anthony Bourdain, host of the CNN travel show Parts Unknown, when asked in a CNN interview to name the one U.S. city he thought people should experience for food.

I thought it was impossible to have a better life than Anthony Bourdain. But his final bittersweet gift just knocked me on my ass with the stark reminder that adventure, love, prosperity, prestige…anything we aspire to at all…is really just the currency we use to buy the four things that really matter: dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins. Realizing that even that kiss that melts your heart… only melts it because those four fairy godmothers waved their magic wands and turned your brain into a freakin princess. But if our brain hits us with a really shitty exchange rate, if suddenly winning that Academy Award only buys us a day’s ration of serotonin, then how the hell are we supposed to stock up for our whole lives? That Anthony Bourdain can stand on the highest mountain and feel nothing but a desire to move toward oblivion is all I need to kick me in the ass and ask the most important question, how’s my exchange rate? What can I do to get more joy out of everyhting I’m presented with, big or small? How does anyone do that? I guess there begins one’s lifelong quest for God, psychedelic drugs, transcendental meditation, or whatever the hell else you need to do to bring true value to the external pleasures of the world. Anything that promises, not pleasure, but perspective. There’s a good case to be made that those are the things worth seeking first, before even love and success. Because watching my little boy flood his brain with happiness because he found a cool stick on the lawn is all the evidence I need that “how you experience” is so much more important than “what you experience.”

Anthony Bourdain on New Orleans food

“In America, there might be better gastronomic destinations than New Orleans, but there is no place more uniquely wonderful. … With the best restaurants in New York, you’ll find something similar to it in Paris or Copenhagen or Chicago. But there is no place like New Orleans. So it’s a must-see city because there’s no explaining it, no describing it. You can’t compare it to anything. So, far and away New Orleans.”

Anthony Bourdain, host of the CNN travel show Parts Unknown, when asked in a CNN interview to name the one U.S. city he thought people should experience for food.

I thought it was impossible to have a better life than Anthony Bourdain. But his final bittersweet gift just knocked me on my ass with the stark reminder that adventure, love, prosperity, prestige…anything we aspire to at all…is really just the currency we use to buy the four things that really matter: dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins. Realizing that even that kiss that melts your heart… only melts it because those four fairy godmothers waved their magic wands and turned your brain into a freakin princess.

But if our brain hits us with a really shitty exchange rate, if suddenly winning that Academy Award only buys us a day’s ration of serotonin, then how the hell are we supposed to stock up for our whole lives? That Anthony Bourdain can stand on the highest mountain and feel nothing but a desire to move toward oblivion is all I need to kick me in the ass and ask the most important question, how’s my exchange rate? What can I do to get more joy out of everyhting I’m presented with, big or small? How does anyone do that?

I guess there begins one’s lifelong quest for God, psychedelic drugs, transcendental meditation, or whatever the hell else you need to do to bring true value to the external pleasures of the world. Anything that promises, not pleasure, but perspective. There’s a good case to be made that those are the things worth seeking first, before even love and success. Because watching my little boy flood his brain with happiness because he found a cool stick on the lawn is all the evidence I need that “how you experience” is so much more important than “what you experience.”

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