Sunday, June 10, 2018

RIP Anthony Bourdain : A look back to his visits to Egypt and to Palestine

The world was shocked earlier Friday to know that beloved and renowned chef Anthony Bourdain passed away.
According to news reports, the award-winning chef and TV personality died of apparent suicide in France.
Bourdain was a familiar face for me seeing his promos on CNN as well on Discovery and Travel channel.
To honest, I do not recall watching him and I feel sad that I only knew him after his death.
I feel angry that I allowed myself to watch old Rosanne episodes "they are not that funny" when I had a chance to see that guy roaming the earth tasting food in very faraway places.

I also found out that he recorded a beautiful episode in Egypt for his hit TV show “No reservation” on Travel TV channel.
It was episode 15 from season 4 and you can watch it here after the break.

Bourdain tried Egypt’s top breakfast “Ful Mamdas” from a street food cart and that’s an excellent choice.
The best and tasty ful you can get in Egypt is not from fancy baladi chic restaurants but from street food carts. Anthony Bourdain tried also stuffed pigeons from the famous Farahat restaurant in Al-Azhar quarter.

Stuffed pigeon is a true Egyptian delicacy from the Egyptian cuisine.
To be honest I do not like to eat it from restaurants because I feel the pigeon must be clean and washed very well.
In the old good days of Egypt, the stuffed pigeons are stuffed with rice, pigeon liver, raisin, roasted almond, Cinnamon and other spices. After stuffing the pigeons, they boiled and then they are deep fried till caramelized.
The main course in its own way, the stuffed pigeon can be presented with rice and Molokhia as sides.
In Upper Egypt, stuffed pigeons are made with freekeh.
The Molokhia is usually made from the pigeon soup.
FYI , the pigeon soup is too heavy to the level I do not know how Bourdain drank it so easily.
Late Bourdain tried also Kushary from the famous and overrated Abo Tarek.
Kushary Tahrir is much better and more Tasty than Abu Tarek.

BY the way , the Kushary’s Wikipedia entry is completely wrong.
Egypt knew Kushary in the World War I when the Indian soldiers arrived to the country introduced “Kushtri” {I hope I wrote it right} to the Egyptians where they cooked lent with tomato sauces. The Egyptians added to it rice and pasta , garlic and onion.
In less than 50 years , Kushary became Egypt’s common food for working classes besides ful mamdas as its ingredients were cheap to be found.

Now back to Anthony Bourdain, I wish he discovered more our underrated Egyptian cuisine for real.
His episode to Egypt to be frank does no stand out yet his episodes from Jerusalem, Gaza and West Bank do stand out.
Anthony Bourdain did something Arab countries and leaders failed to do in a very simple way , in a visit to a kitchen of a Palestinian lady in the second season of his CNN award-winning TV show Parts Unknown.
Here is a part of the episode.

I think CNN should correct the title and say Palestine instead of Israel.
oh by the way, hummus is not Israeli but rather a Levant appetizer.
Falafel is not an Israeli food, it is an Arab food too.
I just wish the Israelis would stick to the Yiddish cuisine and leave our cuisines as Arabs alone. Is not it enough that they took the land but also the cuisine !!

Back to Bourdain; after watching him, I would say simply showed Palestinians are normal human beings like other human beings to normal viewers in the United States and in the World.
Anthony Bourdain and Palestinian Children in Gaza
Anthony Bourdain and Palestinian Children in Gaza 

“The world has visited many terrible things on the Palestinian people, none more shameful than robbing them of their basic humanity. People are not statistics. That is all we attempted to show.” This is what he said about his visit.

It took many decades since 1948 that someone in the US mainstream media with such audience to say such thing about the Palestinians.
He fought for that episode to be aired as far as I read. I am no surprised. Bourdain was vocal when Israel attacked Gaze in 2014. He was more humane compared to many Arab celebrities.

I feel sad that I did not follow him when he was alive. My only condolence is that his work is there for us online.

Now I see all that love and admiration Anthony Bourdain as well Kate Spade earned with millions around the globe mourning them around the globe , I wonder if knowing that kind of love and support existed for them would have saved them.
Please if you feel any tendency for committing suicide , go and seek help with the nearest suicide line.
Life is tough already. Be kind to each other.

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