“I’ve learned something on the road. I doesn’t do to waste. Even here – I use everything” (274).
This was the last phrase of Bourdain’s book “A Cook’s Tour” really struck me not only because it was the end, but also because of how direct and powerful it was. To me, there can be two different interpretations of this, the surface level and the deeper meaning. What can be taken at face value from this statement is that what Bourdain learned through his experiences traveling around the world to find the ‘perfect meal’ is that people should use everything when preparing a meal. As much as I’d like to settle for this simplistic answer, I feel as though there is much more going on.
Here is a man who has spent a large part of his life battling an addiction to drugs and probably feels as though he missed out on a lot of experiences because of that, yet he has gotten past those struggles and is now able to have the life he wanted. While he was writing this final chapter, he was with his wife on vacation in the French West Indies, realizing the simple pleasures in life are the most important. It is about living in the moment.
I have gone through phases in my own life where is has been one giant pity party. Months have gone by where the majority of my time is spent letting something small take over my life, making me believe that my life will never recover, rather than being grateful for my health, my family, my mental sanity, and enjoying the present moment and what it has to offer. I am really cautious about getting into these things I call ruts because it is hard to get out of them, but if I consciously try to make a mental note of the little things in life, I end up being a happier person overall.
While reading that last word of wisdom from Bourdain, I couldn’t help but smile. Sure, this guy knows he can be an asshole, is arrogant and at some points rude, but he is able to recognize how lucky he is, where he comes from and what power comes along with being who he is. This book is not only a showcase of different countries, cultures, lifestyles, and ultimately food, but one man’s journey to find a ‘perfect meal’ that leads him to a bit of self appreciation and self realization.
I truly believe that in order to lead a happy, healthy life, one needs to recognize the small things in life that make them happy. It is too easy to get caught up in the business of everyday life and forget to look around and see what is going on. For Bourdain, this trip was able to give a chance to get up close and personal with all different types of people and lifestyles. It really is about living in the moment and never wasting what precious time we have.