Don’t Be a Snob

He taught me early that the value of a dish is the pleasure it brings you; where you are sitting when you eat it — and who you are eating it with — are what really matter. Perhaps the most important life lesson he passed on was: Don’t be a snob. It’s something I will always at least aspire to — something that has allowed me to travel this world and eat all it has to offer without fear or prejudice. To experience joy, my father taught me, one has to leave oneself open to it …

He was delighted by different. Thrilled by discovery. In the early ’70s, he “discovered” sushi because it was being served in the signless, some-what sinister back room of a run-down hotel on 55th Street that some Japanese colleagues had tipped him off to. When he walked me, 14 years old, through the shabby hotel lobby for the first time, opened an unmarked door, and ushered me into a smoky room crowded with Japanese people eating raw fish, he was bubbling over with childlike glee.

— Anthony Bourdain’s essay about his father makes me want to go eat some cheap food in a little hole-in-the-wall and totally bliss out on it. His respect and delight in street food and simple experiences are so comforting to a girl with an empty wallet. He’s the patron saint of the penniless foodie.

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