Sex as Food

Kitchen (Bedroom) Confidential: Bourdain on food (sex)

Issue #35

By Vivienne Arkell

Tony was the ultimate sensualist. I didn’t always appreciate his social media musings, but reading Kitchen Confidential by the late Anthony Bourdain made everything clear in matters of food and sex. Bourdain himself readily admits to his hedonist tendencies as a pleasure-hungry savorer of flavors, drugs, booze, music, encounters and sex – literally anything enticing to the senses.

Young Bourdain was largely unimpressed by food, until sampling his first vichyssoise while traveling to France with his parents. Describing each sensory detail, Bourdain recalls “the crunch of tiny chopped chives, the rich, creamy taste of leek and potato; the pleasurable shock, the surprise that it was cold.” Reliving his revelation, “… that cold soup stayed with me. It resonated, waking me up, making me aware of my tongue and, in some way, preparing me for future events.”

Weeks later, Bourdain would be the only one in his family daring enough to try an oyster: “this glistening, vaguely sexual-looking object, still dripping and nearly alive.” Kicking off another chain of epiphanies, Tony expounds, “I’d learned something. Viscerally, instinctively, spiritually – even in some small precursive way, sexually – and there was no turning back. Food had power.” Once he found that power, curiosity awakened his senses, as savoring food and pleasure became his life. He revels:

It could inspire, astonish, shock, excite, delight and impress. It had the power to please me… and others.

Bourdain experienced the sensuous nature of food and the meaning of life as one. After being exposed to how interesting, foreign and exquisite food could be, his passion was unstoppable. He implies this passion spilled into all areas of his life, once he savored that first luscious sample.

Anthony also shared many obvious correlations approaching food as sex and sex as food. Throughout the book and his life, many of his musings about food are easily translated into pearls of wisdom about sensuality. Simply exchange the word food with the word sex. “Good food sex and good eating encounters are about risk. Every once in a while an oyster, for instance, will make you sick to your stomach. Does this mean you should stop eating oysters? No way,” says Bourdain, paraphrased.

On showing up in the kitchen or to the table, Bourdain had this to add. “Cooking Making love is a craft. I like to think a good cook lover is a craftsman – not an artist… Practicing your craft in expert fashion is noble, honorable and satisfying.”

Discussing the joys of comfort food comfortable partner sex, Bourdain says, “I rarely want to eat restaurant food unless I’m looking for new ideas or recipes to steal. What I want to eat is home cooking, somebody’s… She had no idea how magical, how reassuring, how pleasurable her simple meatloaf was for me, what a delight even lumpy mashed potatoes were.” Married for many years, I’m sure our chef appreciated meatloaf comfort in the bedroom, and how familiar food sex can be magical.

Bourdain never ignored the sensuous part of living. He knew the power of the senses to wake up memory, sexuality and emotions. Combining and layering, complimentary or contrasting – he knew how to savor any sensual experience as if it was a gourmet moment. His desire made him more desirous. His lust made him lustier. His appreciation and ability to savor everything made him a superman of connoisseurs.

After years in the kitchen honing his craft, Tony traveled the world through food, beverage, and music. He exposed his television viewers to the full beauty of sensual curiosity, sharing a meal, being intimate together the value of sex. ––> “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,” Bourdain said. “To experience joy, my father taught me, one has to leave oneself open to it.”

Nourish your own sensuality, savoring every morsel. Slow down and savor every moment with all of your senses. Because when you can’t or don’t, the show’s over. Thank you Anthony Bourdain.

To learn more about this book and other recommendations, visit the bookshop.


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