Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Whet Your Appetite

It was due to a career change that New York chef Anthony Bourdain found himself sitting on a rock at the edge of the Kalahari Desert, waiting for the Bushmen to bring him the warthog rectum. It was May 2006, and Tony, as he's known, had left the Manhattan restaurant business to reinvent himself as a television gastro-explorer—a man who would travel anywhere and eat anything for his Travel Channel show, No Reservations, which completed its third season in September. The warthog had been slathered in dirt and charcoal, then slow-cooked to moist perfection. The creature's rectum—the "poop chute," Tony would later call it—was an elongated, translucent tube that looked, if one were being optimistic, a bit like the manicotti you can procure in Little Italy. "The chief of the tribe is offering it to me, the fruit from three days of hunting," Tony would later say. "The whole tribe is watching, his status is based on being a gatherer of meat, and here he's giving me the best part. What am I going to do?" Tony was going to choke it down, his eyes glazing over. In typically wry narration recorded for the show after he returned home, he described his appetizer as "barely cleaned … lightly charred" and dubbed it—with all due respect to the Bushmen—"the worst meal of my life."


Hoots said...

Now THAT'S what I call a real Thanksgiving Day post!

Michael Wade said...


Glad you liked it. Unfortunately, my local grocer doesn't carry warthog.

Anonymous said...

Ah, Michael, thank you for that pointer. For some reason, my cable provider has decided that yet another cartoon-rich network was more important than the Travel Channel, though they taunt me about it by still listing Travel Channel shows in their online guide. Hence, there has been no Tony Bourdain for months. Months, I tell you. The story was worth reading just for the swipe at Rachel Ray.

Michael Wade said...


You have been unjustly deprived. The Travel Channel is worth at least six other channels.