Travel shows are a mixed blessing. On one hand, they show us parts of the world we may never get to see in person, experiences we may never get to have, which is a bit sad. But there is also a positive spin, in that there are places we simply cannot get to, and these shows literally open up the world to us. Clearly it would be better to see and experience something in person, but to be able to have the experience at all, on a TV or computer screen, is something that can still bring us a bit closer together. These experiences are definitely worth having.
On the other hand, they also show us places that we may not have known about, but now have a very real desire and chance to get to. Travel shows can open up a literal world of possibilities.
Cooking shows have the same power to get our chef brains going, challenging us to replicate recipes and try new things. There is often a thrill and excitement. Many techniques and tips I use today come from watching those shows. Learning is power.
And yet, according to Anthony Bourdain, Parts Unknown was neither a cooking show nor a travel show. There are elements of those shows, of course, but I would agree. It was, more importantly, an exploration of cultures… a study of people, places and times… history lessons… life lessons. It was a show about the world, for the world.
It gave many of us a wish list, a bucket list, and for a lucky few, a check list and potential travel guide. It gave all of us, hopefully, a desire to talk to other people… to go outside of our comfort zone and explore this huge and yet small, beautiful, miraculous and amazing world.
There was a new episode of Parts Unknown on Sunday. How is that possible? I mean, I know how that’s possible… but how is that possible???
This is for all of us who need soothing… who need a guide, a reminder. It is not enough to stop and smell the roses. We must really see them, smell them, gently caress them, taste them, and by all means, hear them even when it seems they may be silent. They are never silent.
Let the roses see the life in our faces, the light in our eyes. Let them smell us just as we are smelling them.
Plant a garden
Watch it grow
Learn the things
You do not know
Love the music that you make
No matter how out of tune
Love the limbs that you shake
As you howl at the moon
Sing as if no one is listening
Dance as if you don’t care
But what is in your heart
That music you must share
Take a chance
Make a bet
Say that I love you
Every chance you get
A RECIPE FOR LIFE
Seeds or a Seedling
A Pen and Some Paper
A Pan or Pot
A Quest For Knowledge
A Knife and Fork or Your Bare Hands
An Open Mind
An Open Bowl
Plant a GARDEN from the seeds… or a seedling. Read a book if you don’t know how. Learn. Always yearn to learn.
Dig your hands into the soil. Move it through your fingers. Really feel it… hold it… Understand its potential. Get dirt under your fingernails. When you’re done, wash your hands with a garden hose.
Cover up the herbs, veggies or fruit seeds… and wait. Patience and nurturing will serve you well.
Grow anything that will give you pleasure.Nurture the garden with water and food. Talk to the plants. Realize the miracle that plants and trees are. From seeds come wood… food… sustenance…
From trees come literal life… the oxygen we breathe.
If you don’t have a yard, get a planter box or pot…
Even just one plant will make you smile.Go to a FARMERS MARKET.
Walk from booth to booth… aisle to aisle.
Look and smell and taste, and talk… talk.
It is beyond just a market… a place to shop. It is a chance to make new friends, to connect with other human beings.
To know where you food comes from is to understand it.
To know who grows it and makes it is to understand and appreciate another.
Find the very best ingredients you can. They don’t have to be expensive or fancy. Sometimes simplicity is deeper and far more complex and soulful. If you find the perfect lemon, everything that comes from it will be just as elegant, just as perfect.
And if you find the perfect lemon, what else do you need?
Cook with what you plant and what you grow.
Food can be holy. Food is passed down from generation to generation. Remember your Grandmother in the kitchen, toiling over her Honey Cake. Remembers the sights and smells, remember how every one of your senses was alive and present.
Sit down for a FAMILY DINNER… talk and talk… and talk. Food brings us together. Food is holy. The dinner table is your Church or Synagogue. Be thankful for what is on your table and who is around it.
Recognize this before you eat. Take a moment… close your eyes… say a prayer or just be grateful…
Food is sustenance and keeps us alive, but many go without. Food is beyond just fuel and energy. Food is a miracle. See the daily miracles in your life… eat and drink and travel, but most importantly, connect with others… be a human being… start a conversation… be curious about other people and what makes them tick… who they are.
Walk a mile in their shoes, spend an hour at their table… eat what they eat, see what they see, hear what they hear… and share. Life and love must be shared.
Here’s to Anthony Bourdain… and to all of us… to breaking bread and mending fences…
This is my recipe for life. So mangiare, cheers and L’Chaim!