Haibun: June 25th

Haibun: June 25th
“It’s been an adventure. We took some casualties over the years. Things got broken. Things got lost. But I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.” Anthony Bourdain – Parts Unknown

Today would have been Tony Bourdain’s 63rd birthday. But he was dead by his own hand, hanging himself in a French bathroom. But today was a day of celebration. declared by his two closest friend – Eric Ripert and Jose Andres. So I am celebrating it in true fashion. I went to Waffle House and had a pecan waffle. This was introduced to him by Charleston chef Sean Brock. I then went to volunteer at the local food bank and soup kitchen where I have been putting in time cooking for several years. Most people do not know Tony volunteered a lot of his time – teaching, cooking, sorting foodstuff. He encouraged the lower echelons of the kitchen – dishwashers and was their most fierce advocate. After which I went home and began preparing our meal for the night – pommes frites in duck fat, steak au poivre, ceasar salad with an appetizer of uni on toast. His favorite meals seemed to be at someone’s home among the residents of the city or among the restaurant workers. So I lift a beer to you Tony. Happy birthday. You left behind many of us who knew you and loved you, although we couldn’t save you.
birthday celebrant –
another year without you –
here but sadly absent

 

Although this is from Waking Ned Devine, it is one of my favorite songs, sung at my grandfather’s funeral as his casket was taken out of the church.

#Bourdain Day

 

42 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. map195
    Jun 25, 2019 @ 14:42:18

    nice share

    Reply

  2. Laura Bloomsbury
    Jun 25, 2019 @ 15:06:11

    you have cooked up a sincerely good birthday meal and elegiac haibun
    p.s. my husband often used to sing the ‘parting glass’ so this was very poignant for me too

    Reply

  3. Charmed Chaos
    Jun 25, 2019 @ 15:33:48

    Toni- this is absolutely lovely.

    Reply

  4. sanaarizvi
    Jun 25, 2019 @ 21:48:49

    This is incredibly heart-stirring, Toni!

    Reply

  5. Sherry Blue Sky
    Jun 25, 2019 @ 22:15:29

    I loved this, Toni. Some good eats at your house, from the sound of it……..I love that you volunteer.

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Jun 25, 2019 @ 22:25:28

      Thank you Sherry. What good is all the hard work to become a chef if you don’t use it for something to help people? If you only work to feed those who can pay?

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      Reply

  6. Kerry
    Jun 26, 2019 @ 05:22:28

    Although i was not familiar with Bourdain, I read several articles and quotes of his today and fully understand what he meant to people around the world. It is wonderful to see how you have kept his memory alive.

    Reply

  7. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    Jun 26, 2019 @ 16:16:16

    I do love this tribute… and of course the best way to remember him is to cook our favorite meals…

    Reply

  8. Rosemary Nissen-Wade
    Jun 26, 2019 @ 21:26:31

    You clearly are a chef! (One thing in which we are not twins.)

    It’s good to celebrate as well as mourn, and I enjoyed the way you wrote about it.

    Reply

  9. Glenn A. Buttkus
    Jun 27, 2019 @ 15:42:45

    Kudos, hugs–celebrating a life richly lived. I’m still watching the Bourdain re-runs on CNN; like sweet and sour dishes, smiles and tears. I marveled at his poetic prose narrations, and his celebration of the common folk.

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Jun 27, 2019 @ 16:26:49

      He suffered deeply from depression. Few people are aware how deeply. One good thing to cime from this: support groups and counselirs are working with restaurant wirkers. We are an isolated group of people. Every day, in this country alone, a kitchen worker of some kind commits suicide.

      Reply

  10. msjadeli
    Jun 27, 2019 @ 15:58:57

    Toni, your celebration of Tony’s birthday is one he helped create by his presence in your life. How you did it is quite touching. Cheers!

    Reply

  11. msjadeli
    Jun 27, 2019 @ 15:59:17

    p.s. wonderful haibun

    Reply

  12. Jane Dougherty
    Jun 27, 2019 @ 16:01:35

    I don’t know him, but you serve up a delicious tribute.

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Jun 27, 2019 @ 16:03:15

      I knew him ages ago and he was just like he was then that he was when he died. He loved life so much. It must have been a dark dark hour in his life.

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      Reply

      • Jane Dougherty
        Jun 27, 2019 @ 16:17:34

        If he lived life so fully, the gaps in it must have seemed deeper than for people who just trundle along.

        Reply

        • kanzensakura
          Jun 27, 2019 @ 16:23:27

          Like most of us former drug addicts and alcoholics, he suffered deeply from depression. One good thing to come from this, restaurants are starting supoort groups and access to counselors. Every day in this country alone, a kitchen worker commits suicide. Few outside of the industry are aware of this.

          Reply

          • Jane Dougherty
            Jun 27, 2019 @ 16:27:14

            Kitchen workers are among the lowest of the low, exploited and over-worked. It’s good to hear someone is trying to bring it to public attention.

            Reply

            • kanzensakura
              Jun 27, 2019 @ 16:29:46

              Tony stood up fir the lowest of the low abs the highest of the high. By kitchen worker, I mean from floor mopper to executive chef. None of us are immune in our isolation. Years ago, I almost suicided but a cat saved me.

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              • Jane Dougherty
                Jun 28, 2019 @ 03:42:10

                I knew Bernard Loiseau through a mutual friend. You couldn’t get much higher in the restaurant world, but he was depressive. Fear of losing one of his Michelin stars drove him to shoot himself. I’m glad you had a sensible stable person like a cat to see you through it.

                Reply

                • kanzensakura
                  Jun 28, 2019 @ 06:39:48

                  Yes. The status will drive you crazy. Loiseau…such a perfectionist. His daughter graduated from the school Bocuse founded. So sad. I remember when he committed suicide. What we put ourselves through.

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  13. Bryan Ens
    Jun 28, 2019 @ 00:39:10

    Beautiful tribute! You wrote this as if Anthony was a close personal friend.

    Reply

  14. kim881
    Jun 28, 2019 @ 15:45:05

    I didn’t know that Tony Bourdain’s was the same age as me, Toni, it that he hanged himself in a French bathroom. What a lovely thing to do, to celebrate with
    a pecan waffle and a beer!

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Jun 28, 2019 @ 17:15:07

      Hi Kim! I have missed seing you around. I was a couple of years ahead of Tony at CIA. The few women there were gaga over him He had that animal magnetism.

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      Reply

  15. memadtwo
    Jun 28, 2019 @ 21:15:11

    Celebrating the birthday of someone you miss with food and a toast is a fine way of remembering. (K)

    Reply

  16. Sarah Russell
    Jun 29, 2019 @ 02:03:29

    What a lovely remembrance, Toni. I loved being an armchair adventurer with him.

    Reply

  17. Mish
    Jun 30, 2019 @ 10:00:59

    I think the intimate and factual way you share your friendship and loss of a good friend is a gift to us as readers. Thank you for that.

    Reply

  18. Lona Gynt
    Jun 30, 2019 @ 23:10:15

    Tasty tribute to a caring man

    Reply

  19. robtkistner
    Jul 01, 2019 @ 12:28:43

    Thanks for sharing this fine piece! See you in a couple weeks Toni. In honor of Solli Raphael: A Smidgen of Thought

    Reply

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