Losing Bourdain

documentary, Florida, food, geek, italy, mexico, musings, new mexico, Scotland, Travel

I started watching Anthony Bourdain in No Reservations when I was a teenager. He had a wit about him, and an elegant but no nonsense means of writing about the world. He sucked me into his journeys in Ireland or Kenya and he did everything from drinking cow’s blood in Kenya to vegetarian dishes in India with humor, grace, and intelligence.

Bourdain moved through the world as something of an enigma. He was fully engaged with his location, yet he had a distance, a perspective, an observer’s mind as he met people and filmed a story. He existed in and out of the scene all at once, which made for a compelling look into his mind and craft.

Sure, he condemned vegetarians and Colorado, both which are near to my heart, but I forgave the grumpy uncle figure that could WRITE.

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He could WRITE. Bourdain pieced together vignettes that made the viewer stop and think, or day dream, or question their perspective on the world. He spun tales and myths and legend on his own that no one dared question. They were eloquent and smart, thick with descriptors and layers of thought and depth that many of his peers could never match.

I loved watching Bourdain in his element, elbows deep in meat and alcohol, talking with a local chef about the importance of animal innards to make distinct flavors and dishes. Bourdain was a compelling force, a person that could not be tamed or cut down, he just existed, and he shared with the world what that looked like.

“Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life—and travel—leaves marks on you.” 

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Travel Inspiration Shows 2018

documentary, food, geek, Travel

While having down time, I often seek out some great travel inspiration (travelspiration) via shows. Often Netflix is my new favorite land of travel shows that offer an intense, personal, and inspiring reflection on the world.

Here is my list of what you should watch to learn more on the world around you.

For Foodie Travelers

It should be a given, but chef’s table is an awesome way to see what the top restaurants in the world offer. I am quite fond of what I consider the more obscure places that reflect a deep and rich cultural identity such as Central and Gaggan.

Weird Food Lovers

The travel channel loves cornering the market on this, but between Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern, there are dozens of shows to watch on the oddities and snacks that exist in the world.

Hotel Lovers

My absolute favorite one from the last few years, and one I binged in 24 hours was Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby. This fantastic show did more than just show where you can stay and what is up for offer. This well-planned, and elegantly executed show delved deep into what it takes to make a hotel work. It also questioned the ethics, social, and economic impact of these global locations. This paired with fantastic shots, enjoyable and informed hosts, created a wonderful show for information and inspiration.

For Those that Love Cultural Reflection

Even if Bourdain is an old fart that complains about vegetarians, I do love his writing style. This amazing writing and ability of this chef turned travel journalist offers an enjoyable look at the world. In Parts Unknown, I especially enjoy the episodes that visit places that have been forgotten or are only now being discovered. 

For the Spiritual Travelers

Believer was a phenomenal look at religions around the globe. Regardless of the politics of Reza Aslan, he’s a great researcher and writer. As a researcher and professor of theology, his books and media works show a truly in depth glance at the systems of belief around us. See the few episodes that were released, because they are really great. 

Travelers that Love to Laugh

My house is one that loves to laugh, so An Idiot Abroad is the best option for my husband and I to sit, and just die laughing at. The show matches wit, with the goofiness of a candid camera show, and just attempts to torture the said “idiot”. Ricky Gervais is one of the mad men behind the scenes, so you know it was a level of humor that can’t be beat.

Happy Travels, even from the couch 😉

travelspiration

Orkney Islands Part II- Adventure of the Week

adventure of the week, food, Scotland, Throwback Thursday, Travel

Part II, Orkney Journey

Stromness, Orkney
May 5,
Written May 7, 2018

As many of you know I took a side trip to the Orkney Islands or as many people around that area call it simply Orkney. Oh and don’t call them the “Orkneys” for some reason this doesn’t settle well, or at least that’s what I’ve been told and read.

So I was in Orkney in the seaside village of Stromness and I was taken ill by some sort of cold. Originally I had planned to go to Orkney is search of probably their most famous bird, a puffin. However, due to my lovely little cold I was in no state to rent a bicycle and peddle out to some rural cliffs to find these rare birds. Thus, I walked around the village briefly and more or less went to bed at 2, woke again at 4, got organized and packed for the next days early morning journey and then bought come groceries for the morning and decided on bed. Though that sounds dreadfully boring, I plan to go into a little detail on what I did see, smell and taste while in Orkney.

I started the day about 11:30, I walked down the winding old stone streets along, that were almost abandoned. The city felt like this town was left behind, even to the point where one can see men with large beards and pipes and newsy hats standing by the bay. Stromness truly feels like a portal to about 100 years ago, just the feel of the people, the hostel, the town, the smells in the air aren’t modern, the streets still remain small and bumpy. Horses graze on the steep grass slope just above you; and the rest of the town is fenced in with old stone walls. It is just so calming and mind blowing at the same time with how something could hold onto its original identity for so long. Of course, it is not that the town hasn’t been exposed to anything modern, it’s just that the core of it has stayed the same.
My first moment of realizing the distinction of the city was when I was walking the main sort of street, which is really about five different streets all linked together. Suddenly from nowhere, I see a hearse winding its way down the road, where I then realize it in fact has a coffin in it. So I stop to let it pass. Being that the streets are so narrow one can barely fit any car through it, yet alone a hearse. The coffin was simple wood and then covered in a rich and kind array of flowers. A large van followed, probably filled with close family and friends but after that I was truly surprised at the 30 to 40 people walking behind the van and hearse, all in mourning.

All of the mourners walked behind the hearse, dressed in their black suits, all with solemn looks on their face. Of course it’s by no means weird a funeral and all that happens with it but I was truly surprised on the group walking to the cemetery. It was really like something out of a movie.

Of course, I don’t know how Scottish Tradition works around funerals, and really how it functions outside of Colorado. Yet I had gone into the world under the impression it was very much like at home where we drove, because everything was so far spread out.

So this rare sort of intimate sight was another conformation on how little this area has changed. It was just beautiful and tragic and heartfelt and something, though sad, I won’t likely forget. 

After seeing the funeral procession and snapping photos of the town along the way, I made my way to the small local Museum of Stromness. So small and low on visitors I was only charged £2.50 and was told I could come back as many times as I liked in the next week.

For being such a small museum they really had some interesting items from a local and famous shipwreck dating back to the 1700’s. As well as a more modern German fleet from the first world war. It was a fascinating to look on these items with barnacles and sea urchins still attached from their ocean graves. They also had interesting bits on whaling, fishing, arctic explorations, and trade in Canada. All of which was fascinating but I felt so ill I had to hurry to start heading back to my bed because nothing sounded better. 
Scrimshaw on walrus tusk
I admittedly stopped in a gift shop and bought some local honey and a wool hat. The hat was made from the wool of a rare type of sheep that lives only in that area. The hat is adorable and so warm!

The honey, however, is simply the best I have ever had in my life. At home I’m a total honey junky, commonly eating spoonfuls daily. While I’ve been traveling, my honey eating has been few and far between, so I felt like spoiling myself and and helping my sore throat in one go. The best way to describe the honey, is the taste is the same as the smell of the entire island. That may sound unpleasant, but it’s one of the single most pleasurable tastes and sensations one can have with food.

The smell of the island is rich, salty ocean, earthy, grassy, fields and with it’\s lack of modernization it almost smells like an antique. Not quite musty and not really mildew, not rust but just a calming and beautiful sensation. The honey, of course, seems to have captured this in the perfect means, which makes it so delightful, soft, and just a work of perfection! So thank you you little Orkney bees! 

After my honey venture I picked up some fish and chips for a quick lunch and found myself a small stuffed toy puffin to try and satisfy my anguish at not seeing a wild one. I truly can’t win everything but I have done so much, I can’t complain! 

The next morning I did have to get up at 4:15am to get myself ready to get on the ferry that left at 6:30am back to Scrabster. I wasn’t overly groggy either and left 30 minutes earlier than my sort of last call out the door I had planned. This time I found my way to the dock with no problem! Oh and the odd thing about being so far north is it never gets truly truly dark! It’s more a gray overshadow all “night” and then the sun eventually may peak through the clouds. It’s rather odd and charming at the same time. 

The ferry was a nice ride back to the mainland, I joyfully watched the large beasts of islands show up out my window and take over the plain of vision. Sea birds happily diving in the water for their breakfast and the thick deep blue cold water churning around the boat peaking into small wisps of light blue as it beat upon the side. It made me realize how much I love being on the sea and in that environment. Maybe my next adventure will be buying a boat or buying a ticket on one that travels around for a time. I think that would be a grand adventure right there! 

One of the many islands we ferried by

HAPPY TRAVELS future and past!

orkney2

A Vegetarian’s Take on Memphis Meat

food

Have you heard of Memphis Meat?

Founded in 2015 and based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Memphis Meats was created to provide a solution to many of the problems associated with conventional animal agriculture: environmental degradation, animal suffering and food products that contain high amounts of  fecal matter, antibiotic residues and other contaminants. The team combines decades of culinary and scientific expertise to develop a way to produce delicious, real meat (not plant-based meat substitutes) directly from animal cells, without the need to feed, breed or slaughter actual animals. The process is expected to be significantly better for the environment, the animals and human health. Memphis Meats is backed by SOS Ventures, New Crop Capital and Efficient Capacity, among others. For more information, visit www.memphismeats.com.”

It’s a pretty cool thing. It’s basically taking cells from “meat” AKA animals and allowing the cells to grow into what we know as meat. It’s actual meat from a scientific standpoint.

It’s meat with a minimal impact to the environment and animals didn’t have to die in the making of every hamburger and chicken breast.

It’s actually really cool in a wonderfully Frankenstein and scientific way. Take away any ethical concerns and at its base is a wonderful alternative. It also means that we have the start to remove ourselves from the horrors that is the commercialized meat system.

Many vegetarians would consider this a good chance to “eat meat again” and while I might consider it at some point another reason that I don’t eat meat is because I don’t crave it or miss it. Eating meat used to make me extremely sick to my stomach and when I stopped eating it a lot of my symptoms subsided. This is all in tie with my having celiac disease and a long story, however, “missing meat” is not part of my story.

I imagine a lot of vegetarians might agree.

However, what excites me the most, is that those I love, my fiance and my family, I could buy “meat” and not feel a nagging guilt on having anyone consuming it. I wouldn’t feel bad about animals dying, because animals didn’t die. That also means that I would have a relief of not having to worry about animals being treated cruelly. I also would lack some of the concerns around environmental impact and what the meat industry does. There would also be a reduction in health-related problems by being able to make meat more healthy and with less of the fat and problems that contribute to poor health.

That is, if Memphis Meat proves to be the viable company and production, which everything I have read is showing it will.

All around it could also mean an end to the meat industry and its environmental impact that is one of the leading contributors to global warming and pollutants. lobal warming and pollutants. 

Until Memphis Meat hits the market, and naturally some competitors, there are a few ways one can help without going veggie. It really all comes down to consuming less and being picky about what you consume. Eat meat with only one meal a day, or have a few days a week that are all veggie. Not only is it good for you, but it’s also good for the planet. Our power as consumers is also choosing how and what we buy and using our money as a vote for the kind of products we want to be available.