Culture Crash 18-52: Anthony Bourdain

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Welcome to Culture Crash, where we examine what’s new and old in entertainment.

As the year draws to a close, it’s the time on the calendar when we take a look back at who we lost this year. One such cultural giant was Anthony Bourdain, the famed chef and author turned travel documentarian.

His death is a curious one for me personally, because at the time of his death on June 8, I had very little exposure to his work. I had seen bits and pieces of his TV shows, but the night he died was the first time I ever watched an episode of Parts Unknown in its entirety. Bourdain’s library will be familiar to many of you: In each episode, he traveled somewhere in the world- it could be Houston or Chicago, Hong Kong or Puerto Rico, The Greek Islands or Hanoi, Vietnam. He would explore the terrain by eating their food and talking to locals about the cuisine and culture of whatever place he was in. By the time I went to sleep that night, I had zipped through four episodes, and was in love with his writing style and his adventures.

Since his passing, I have spent a lot of time with Anthony Bourdain. Before traveling to Melbourne last month, I made it a point to seek out an episode of his old show No Reservations where he went to Melbourne, and my wife and I modeled much of our trip after Bourdain’s. We sought out Middle Eastern food at two restaurants: Rumi and A1 Lebanese Bakery, both at Bourdain’s recommendation. We ventured into Chinatown, just as Bourdain had. I ate red chilis, barbecue quail, and a sausage at the Grand Victorian Market, just like Bourdain had. I was trying to retrace his footsteps, yes, but also he just had a way of describing food that made me absolutely have to try some of it for myself. Anyone on that trip to Australia with me heard me say his name at least a few times, because he became something of a travel guide for my trip. And the results were tremendous: the food was delicious and diverse. His words took us outside of the main Central Business District and urged us to take a trip to culturally rich corners of Melbourne I wouldn’t have even known about without him.

Since returning, I have spent the past few weeks reading his debut book Kitchen Confidential, where I have been able to learn so much more about him as a person: passionate, kind, and, yeah, rough around the edges with a certain brashness that lets you know he knows what he’s talking about.

When Anthony Bourdain died in June, I knew very little about him. But through his shows and his writing, I have gotten to know him like a friend. I’m so grateful for all that he left behind, and I so wish he hadn’t left the world of his own volition. There were more places that could have used a visit, or a return visit, from such a compassionate world traveler.

Resources for those contemplating suicide are always available at or by calling 1-800-273-8255.

Anthony Bourdain was 61. 

I’m Evan Rook. 

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18-50 Segment 2: Tips and Tricks for Holiday Cooking Success

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Cooking for holiday parties can be a major source of stress. We have big groups at our house for hours at a time, and you want to impress them with your culinary skills. But some of us don’t really have many culinary skills. We talk to Julia Turshen for some insight into how to impress with our holiday cooking this season.


  • Julia Turshen, author of Small Victories: Recipes, advice + hundreds of ideas for home cooking triumphs

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18-16 Segment 2: Tips and Tricks for Cooking at Home

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Sometimes it is nice to enjoy a meal out, but too many meals out at restaurants can become really expensive and make it difficult to maintain a diet. But, not everybody enjoys cooking, and some people may even find it difficult to cook a good meal. Most people would agree that eating out and staying in are two different experiences. Chef and author of Dining In Alison Roman agrees, explaining that being able to have people over and cooking for people you love provides a different way to spend your time and money. Cooking can make people feel good, however this feeling usually relies on the outcome of the meal.

In her cookbook, Roman does a few things in order to encourage people to try the recipes. She explains that the recipes in her cookbook contain accessible ingredients and doable tasks in order to make her recipes appear approachable. If a person understands what the recipe requires, they will feel more encouraged to cook it. Furthermore, she explains that the names of the recipes also play an important role. People are going to be more interested in trying a recipe that sounds appetizing or sounds like something they would make. Another way Roman makes her cookbook more inviting is by taking recipes and adding her own twist to them with different ingredients and techniques. By doing these things, Roman hopes her cookbook can play an important role in people’s lives at home. Cooking does not have to be a daunting task, and with a little practice, it can become something you love to do.



  • Alison Roman, chef and author, Dining In

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16-35 Segment 2: Kids and Nutrition

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It’s tough for many parents to make sure that their kids eat nutritious meals, what with all of the advertising for less than healthy fast foods on the market. We talk to a nutritionist and a chef about strategies and foods that parents can use to help their kids make better choices at mealtime and in between.

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