July 18, 2019

Anthony Bourdain's Birthday

“In Japanese culture, kintsugi is the labor-intensive method of repairing broken pottery by reattaching pieces using a lacquer mixed with gold. The reconstructed item, glistening with golden “seams,” is in many ways more beautiful than it was before—gifted with new meaning and purpose. The ethos of this art is often applied to people and the scars we bear, both physical and emotional, that mold us into wiser, more empathetic beings.

Last June, when news broke that chef, author, and television personality Anthony Bourdain had died by suicide at 61, culinary historian Michael Twitty tweeted out what many of us in the food-writing world felt at the time. “Anthony Bourdain was special,” Twitty said. “He called Africa the cradle of civilization, took his cameras to Haiti, honored the hood with Snoop, broke bread with Obama like a human being. [He] was an inspiration. He was so damn problematic, but embraced his cracks and filled them with gold.”

Twitty’s followers immediately drew the kintsugi analogy, and I pictured Bourdain, a self-admittedly flawed individual, tending to those flaws with his own heart of gold. Whether he would have expected it or not, the world mourned the broken pieces.”

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