Op-Ed Columnist: The Insatiable and Unknowable Anthony Bourdain


I suspect that many people wanted to be him, just as many wanted to be Spade.

Spade’s image, as conveyed through her signature handbags and other designs, wove together threads of whimsy, optimism and merry mischief. She was color. She was brightness.

Bourdain’s image, as conveyed through his epicurean odysseys, combined flavors of daring, irreverence and supreme confidence. He was appetite incarnate. He was wanderlust with a lavishly stamped passport and an impish, irresistible grin.

“If I am an advocate for anything, it is to move,” he once mused. “As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. Walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food. It’s a plus for everybody.”

How that expansive and inclusive outlook — which was less about the pleasures of the table than about the glory of humanity — didn’t buoy him is a puzzle. He had a romantic partner for the last few years, the actress and director Asia Argento, whom he obviously adored — and whose cause he took up during the #MeToo movement. He had an 11-year-old daughter whom he loved.

And he had so many meals, strange and sumptuous, ahead of him. We’d do his memory justice to relish the ones on our plates.

If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of additional resources. Here’s what you can do when a loved one is severely depressed.


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