“If I'm an advocate for anything, it's to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. The extent to which you can walk in someone else's shoes or at least eat their food, it's a plus for everybody. Open your mind, get up off the couch, move." ― Anthony BourdainTweet It!
My parents and much of my family moved to the U.S. in 1979. They were seeking asylum — fleeing Iran during the revolution to avoid religious persecution.
My parents, newlyweds, came with two pieces of luggage each, leaving their home, their families, their friends and nearly all of their possessions to start a new life.
Like most of my family members who left during that time, they haven't returned, always waiting for a safe moment to visit again.
Cooking, eating, and sharing conversations over meals became a way for my family to stay connected, as well as an opportunity to make friends in their new home.
It was after one of these long, delicious Persian meals that I was first introduced to Anthony Bourdain. My aunt had watched the Parts Unknown episode focused on Iran, and she played it for the family to see.
Watching this episode was an eye-opener for me. I was reminded that beyond the cultural heritage, delicious dishes, and Persian hospitality that surrounded me growing up, there are places, people, and foods from Iran that are still completely foreign because I’ve never had the chance to travel there in person.
Watching it was also a relief. Anthony, with his infinite humanity, demonstrated that even in places seen as dangerous or foreign, there are caring people who open their homes and kitchens with a loving smile.
It’s a reminder that sometimes it takes going beyond our comfort zone to see how connected the world can be.
As we explore the theme of Adventure this June, we want to take a moment to remember a man who shared so many incredible adventures with us. Anthony and his zest for both cuisine and kinship will be forever missed. And his legacy will remain as we find our own ways to explore parts unknown.
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