“But… he was the kind of man I wanted to be,” I said yesterday morning, my first bewildered thought after hearing the news that Anthony Bourdain had killed himself.

What I meant was: he was the kind of man I most admire, a mirror I hold up to myself and others, the kind of human I want to be. Restless, sweary, not always very nice, but ultimately soulful, curious, hungry, and real. I turned to him when I didn’t know what to watch. I trusted his taste when I didn’t know what to think. He had the best job in the world — and probably the loneliest. He was, I write with special irony, my answer to the question: “If you could have dinner with anyone, alive or dead, who would it be?”

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Dark Matters

I’m tired of hearing “it’s a matter of taste.”

Is it? Or is bad taste one of those things — like porn, pain and excess — where you know it when you see it, when you feel it? I’ve been circling this question for years, and each turn is another uncomfortable opportunity to interrogate my certainties. I don’t have many. But in my brief adulthood I have armed myself with a few inflexible convictions on matters humble in scale — e.g. the perfect pizza temperature, the ideal noodle doneness, the barbarity of certain phrases (looking at you, “as well as.”)

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In Defense of Shortcuts

I can be a pretty big snob when it comes to taking shortcuts in the kitchen.

Or, more accurately, not taking them. My kitchen is stocked with ingredients, with component parts. No supermarket sauces, no store-bought stock, no cheats. (Sriracha, Smoque BBQ sauce and Hellmann’s mayo I exclude from this.) This isn’t thanks to some puritanical, pseudo-scientific health kick. It’s just that I’m a bit of a control freak, and rather thrifty — and meals taste better and cost less when you make them from scratch. I won’t even use the slow cooker, fearing lack of control over the seasoning. For better or worse, this is the true north that has, till now, guided my value system as a cook.

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And she’s back

So ends the 2 year silence.

It’s been a cruelly long absence, and I can’t account for it except to say that I have been happy and healthy in the sunshine — and so, less eager to share my mind. My thoughts have grown smaller as I’ve grown older. They turn to lunch, to dinner, to loved ones and their troubles and triumphs, to the mundanities and minutiae of meeting deadlines and making time for exercise and folding fitted sheets.

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The Way I Tell It


It’s been too long, reader.

I could blame the usual suspects. I’ve worked hard, traveled often, changed friends, changed apartments, seen a little turmoil and a lot of joy since we last spoke. But none of these factors alone can say why I’ve stopped writing here. The truth: Every time I change, this blog has to find a new voice. And I have changed so dramatically so often in the past year that my voice can hardly keep up with it.

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On Self-Respect

You’ve got you. That’s it. Everything else is extra.

About a year ago I kept repeating this to myself, a mantra of sorts. I was having quite a hard time of things then — I was suddenly very sick and dealing with it alone and couldn’t understand why. You’ve got you. That’s it. Everything else is extra. I repeated it to myself a year before that, on the resigned end of a blazing love affair, and even some months before that, when my grandmother passed.

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Wild One

To say that I have been reckless would be a bit of an understatement.

The revelations of the past few months — even of the past month — have inspired an elaborate wildness in me that the witnesses of my life are not quite accustomed to. You’re only young once, being the worried wisdom I’ve hung my hat on. Once, if you’re lucky.

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The Boys of My Youth

These gifts then, that I have sent? You don’t need them, of course. They are for the rest of us, to see what you make of them. For me. For us.


I remember him on a night like this but warmer, the moon shimmying down the black lake. He drinks and wanders from room to room. The blanket is on the floor, breathing softly. Men in exile owe so many letters. Now he is weeping – improbable. Every night around this time I put on desire like an old coat. I wonder from room to room.

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