Anthony Bourdain Watches Beirut Die On

As our very own Accidental Hedonist, Kate, reported a while back, chef Anthony Bourdain was in Beirut, Lebanon, with his crew, preparing to do a show bringing to Americans the sights, scents and tastes of a thoroughly cosmopolitan, beautiful city reborn from the ashes of a civil war.

The show never was filmed, because on the first day they were there, two Israeli soldiers were kidnapped by Hezbollah operatives.

After that, the few glimpses he and his crew saw of a beautiful country went straight to hell.

Today, on, you can read the full story, told by Bourdain himself, of how it was to watch a beautiful city, filled with gracious people (and not a few supporters of Hezbollah, whom some of those gracious people called “assholes”) die another death. If you are not a Salon subscriber, you can usually avail yourself ofa free day pass by watching an ad. The ads are short, and not too boring and after that, you can read whatever you like. Today, I highly suggest you make Bourdain’s “Watching Beirut Die” a priority read.

It made me cry.

More than once.

For many reasons.

(It also made me chortle darkly for several reasons, not the least of which is that after Morganna reads this piece, her “celebrity crush” on Bourdain will likely only deepen–leave it to the child of the Culinary Nerd to hero-worship a chef.)

And thank you to reader, Meredith, for pointing out this Washington Post transcript of a live online question and answer session with Bourdain that took place this Wednsday, July 26th. It was a chance for readers to ask the burning questions they have always wanted to ask Bourdain, and for Tony to answer in his inimitable way.


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  1. The did a live question and answer program with him this week. It can be found here. However, this requires a login.

    BTW, next time you make it to Maryland, you may want to try the Han Ah Reum Korean grocery. It’s further down Rt. 40 but well worth the trip.

    Comment by Meredith — July 28, 2006 #

  2. Barbara, thanks for citing that – it is a powerful and very well written piece. I can understand your worries about Morganna – I’ve fallen for a couple of guys with Bourdain’s arrogance and charm and it’s lethal!

    Comment by Meg — July 28, 2006 #

  3. A good read…and the senselessness of war…”those who fail to learn from mistakes are condemned to repeat them”…and we don’t seem to want to learn.

    Comment by Anita — July 29, 2006 #

  4. Thank you for the link. I really enjoy watching Anthony Bourdain cook, travel and spout his own view on life. I look forward to watching him tackle a serious subject at a serious time, from his own unique perspective of course.

    Comment by risingsunofnihon — July 29, 2006 #

  5. HA! I love TONY!! (I thought I was the only one with a gastro induced celebrity crush)

    Comment by Cat — July 30, 2006 #

  6. What a well written piece. It’s always so sad to me to see that the majority of people who want to rebuild their city, live at peace with their neighbors (regardless of their religious leanings), and want to live their lives are beset by the extreme few who end up destroying it all.

    Comment by Joyce Ann — July 31, 2006 #

  7. What an all round well thought out blog!

    Comment by cigerette electroniques — December 15, 2011 #

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