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Bourdain's anal obsession

We like Tony's shows, and the first few jokes about becoming a human bottle rocket after eating questionable street food were pretty funny. However, with the various obscure mentions of things like "Cleveland steamer", "upper-decker", "felching", etc. (which we had to look up on the net, and were sorry we did), it seems like he's getting a bit carried away with the scatological references. Oh, and who could forget the warthog rectum episode?

On his new show he chose to inform us while in the cab from the airport, that he hoped to get to the hotel soon because he needed to "download the brown file". TMI, just maybe?

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  1. I didn't know what felching meant either - had to look it up. How did he work that word into his show?

    4 Replies
    1. re: Worldwide Diner

      It scares me that Bourdain even knows the word. I had to look it up too. Eeeeew!!!!

      1. re: Midlife

        My guess is that most professional cooks of Bourdain's era are experts in profanity, obscure anatomy, and scatology in particular.

        1. re: Midlife

          Its part of "popular" culture, although somewhat specialized...at least he hasn't touched on "chili dog diet' yet...

          1. re: Midlife

            Really? you didn't know, I agree Eeeew!!! But i'm 46 and straight and I knew

          1. I could do without the scatological references, but it's not as if Bourdain makes them constantly. I remember his claim in the San Francisco episode that he had come to the farmer's market at the Ferry Building prepared to deposit a "sizable and snarktastic Cleveland Steamer" on the scene -- but that the quality of the free food samples and the general niceness of the people changed his mind.

            Don't I recall that he strongly disliked the warthog rectum and ate it just to avoid being rude?

            6 Replies
            1. re: Kenji

              Yeah he had no fun at all with the warthog rectum. Wasn't that also the group who fed him ashy/dirt-flecked ostrich egg cooked directly on the embers of the fire? Can't imagine choking both of those down.

              I see it as 1) you eat for a living, you poop for a living and 2) part of his need to be constantly OTT and edgy. I haven't really noticed an obsession, but I also haven't watched the more recent seasons. Maybe it's gotten worse?

              1. re: babette feasts

                Or maybe not everyone is paying (obsessive) attention to any anal references '-)

                1. re: babette feasts

                  Yes, the ostrich egg omelette (cooked for a seeming eternity directly on ash) was in the same episode (Namibia?) as the warthog rectum. They ate beetles in the show as well, which AB seemed to genuinely prefer to the aforementioned delectables.

                  Bourdain claimed the warthog part was the worst meal of his life, though he's said that about various things.

                  1. re: Kenji

                    I seem to recall that the egg was cooked for about an hour. On both ash AND soil. Both of which were embedded in every bit of the egg. Blleeechhh!!! Why can't they cook the thing in the shell or something? I don't care how traditional your culture -- dirt doesn't taste good.

                    1. re: davis_sq_pro

                      I think they scrambled the egg in the shell before turning it into a petrified dirt omelette.

                      1. re: davis_sq_pro

                        However, dirt can be an important source of minerals that may be otherwise missing in the diet.

                2. In the recent Rome episode of the Layover, Tony has an extended rant that ends in recommending that you bring your own TP with you when you travel. I thought it was a little odd when I heard it, but I did laugh when I saw this post.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: pamf

                    For some reason, Italy does generally have really crummy TP; kind of goes with those aweful toilets you find in parts of the country. A hole with a place for each of your feet on the sides. Yech!

                    I never understand either of those things, what with the refined culture, food, and everyone looks so put together - then the bathrooms can be like that.
                    I'm with Tony on this one!

                    1. re: pamf

                      Carrying around a roll of toilet paper is just common sense in a lot of the countries he visits.

                    2. It's always worked for Howard Stern ! ;o]

                      1. I've long had a suspicion that Tony suffers from either IBS or IBD (Chron's or ulcerative colitis) with all the references he makes to the toilet, burning butt, having diarrhea, etc. He's never come out about it if he does, which is too bad if my suspicions are right, as those of us who suffer from these illnesses could use more visible voices.

                        11 Replies
                        1. re: rockandroller1

                          As a fellow IBD patient, I say "Right On!" This is an incredibly un-sexy illness and I've always said that it would take a major celebrity coming out with it for any notice to be paid. I wouldn't wish the condition on anyone, but I'd be downright proud to claim Tony as a compatirot.

                          1. re: rockandroller1

                            Actually, I don't believe that at all, particularly since Tony has NEVER been shy about his past drug use or any health problems.

                            It really doesn't take much imagination to realize that folks who make their living traveling & dining in the 4 corners of the world & everywhere inbetween - particularly places where very few people rarely set foot - are very likely to have frequent digestive upsets. In fact, in an interview Tony said that not only he, but also his crew (who frequently dine on the same stuff he does) suffer digestively during many of these foreign location jaunts, & upon returning to the U.S. they are frequently put on prophylactic doses of antibiotics.

                            None of this points to Tony having IBS or IBD.

                            1. re: Breezychow

                              Add to that he drinks lots of alcohol and eats lots of spicy food. Spicy food = burning butt. Alcohol = all kinds of bowel movements.

                              1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                I eat a lot of spicy food* and have never had the (dis)pleasure of "burning butt" syndrome or any other kind of next-day issues. I wonder if there is some genetic basis for experiencing it or not? Once scientists can fully control gene sequencing, imagine the super-culinarian they'll be able to create! Ability to appreciate a huge range of flavors AND not wince when using the restroom the next morning! Wow!

                                On second thought, the creation will probably be a super-soldier who will subsist upon tree bark and rocks. Oh well.

                                * disclaimer: "a lot of spicy food" compared to other people I know. Quite possible that it's not a lot at all. It's all quite subjective, and perhaps that explains my lack of burn.

                                1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                  I can tell you that after some spicy/numbing Sichuan hot oil, that my stomach my churn and it burns on the way out.

                                  1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                    I think its dependent on experience with spicy food. I experienced the "ring of fire" maybe once or twice when I was much younger. However, that hasn't happened in decades. And I enjoy spicy food...I grow jolokia's.

                                    1. re: EricMM

                                      Also the quality of your digestion. I also eat a lot of spicy food and rarely have problems, but if the meal gives me indigestion the chilies aren't properly absorbed in the digestive process and can be painful on the way out.

                                2. re: Breezychow

                                  JMO like I said. It could be undiagnosed, but I've been putting those pieces together for awhile based on a number of comments he's made. A lot of people walk around with terrible GI problems and never seek out a doctor to find out what's really wrong. I don't recall him talking much about his health, though I think he did mention being on cholesterol meds on a recent ep.

                                  1. re: rockandroller1

                                    Ehh, I think it's just more of a natural extension of his obvious love of profane and vivid language.

                                    If he had IBS, Crohn's, diverticulits, UC, etc, he probably would not be able to fly around the world eating anything and everything. It would at least be a very odd career choice for someone with a severe GI disorder.

                                    1. re: cowboyardee

                                      I don't know about that, necessarily. Flying sure doesn't bother me, although I like to be aware of the locations of the restrooms at all times. Eating anything and everything? Everyone is a little different. I can eat authetic Sichuan and Korean food with no worse aftereffects than the next guy, but a plate of liver can cause me severe distress. And honestly, sometimes that serving is liver is so d***ed delicious that I'm willing to put up with the aftereffects. I am truly envious of Bourdain's career and would swap mine for his in a hearbeat, Crohn's be darned.

                                3. re: rockandroller1

                                  If he did , he would have most of his intestines cut out by now with what he eats

                                4. I always thought it was just a battle with his editors to try and naughtily get away with slangy poop references. But after watching the new holiday special last night which included an extended bit on the "pooping log", I have to think it's all just part of the fun and a reason to keep the "objectionable content" disclaimers. I admit it, I laugh at these scatalogical asides.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Sloth

                                    Perhaps Mr Bourdain is attempting to connect with his younger audience by broadcasting his clearly well stocked arsenal of urban dialect? No idea. I did laugh when I heard it. Still not sold on the show.

                                    Is it bad I didn't need to look up any of their meanings? sigh...

                                  2. I think we could make a drinking game out of it (and then complain about our own bowel movements). Each time Tony mentions the phrase "butt-seeking (X)", we have to tip our glass.
                                    Or a tick attaching to his left nut. He like to mention his balls a lot too.
                                    Seriously, I think Tony's scatological references that make it to air are but a small fraction of the crew's banter about the subject. I just think it's the culture that has evolved among people who are working very close together in all sorts of conditions, from luxurious to hot, stinky, smelly, dirty, dangerous and everything in between.
                                    I think it's s coping mechanism for what looks like it's easy and fun, but is really stressful and demanding.
                                    ps... If I drink as much as Tony, could I only hope to erase now knowing the meaning of felching? The diarrhea and anal burning would be worth it.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: monavano

                                      Not just ticks but deer ticks. Bourdain has mentioned them -- and his fear of finding them engorged on his scrotum -- twice, in an African episode and an Italian one. The references stood out for me because I've had unpleasant encounters with the nasty parasites.

                                    2. .....that he hoped to get to the hotel soon because he needed to "download the brown file".

                                      Ha! I love it. It's the modern version of "dropping the kids off at the pool".

                                      1. Bourdain is an overgrown child and finds scatological jokes and references "funny" and "shocking." His frat-boy attitude towards drinking also supports this fact. I really don't see the appeal of this guy at all. My partner made me sit through the Layover episode in Rome. While I really enjoyed the establishments he visited, I could have done without him. I'd find the show much more appealing if he hired someone else to host the show and just stayed behind the scenes. Alas, I fear I am in the minority in this thinking.

                                        8 Replies
                                        1. re: ttoommyy

                                          ha ha. Tony is an acquired taste. If you read his books you get to see a side of him that doesn't come out on his show as often as I'd like. He will rail against people or things and then acknowledge that he's just as messed up as it all is. His attitude is more faux bark than clueless frat boy, and he would just as soon gut a frat boy than have to spend time with one.


                                          1. re: ttoommyy

                                            comparing anthony bourdain to a frat-boy speaks of a complete and utter lack of knowledge of both bourdain and frat-boys.

                                            1. re: linus

                                              I said "His frat-boy attitude." I did not compare him to a frat boy. As for "utter lack of knowledge of" Bourdain, I beg to differ. I've read his books and heard of him before many others on CH probably ever heard of him. Still don't find him appealing.

                                              1. re: ttoommyy

                                                um..."frat-boy attitude" sounds like comparison to me.
                                                i never questioned your finding him appealing.
                                                i have never met any "frat-boy" with bourdain's attitude, nor have i seen or read any "frat-boy" attitude in bourdain.

                                                1. re: linus

                                                  OK. I take back the frat boy reference. What I really meant to say is that Bourdain comes across as liking to drink just to get drunk. That's what I really meant.

                                                  1. re: ttoommyy

                                                    And you've seen him obviously "drunk" on the show or in person exactly how many times?

                                                    1. re: Breezychow

                                                      I've seen him drunk on the show a few times. One episode of No Reservations in Italy comes to mind immediately. I never said I've seen him in person. Hey, I may be generalizing, sorry. I just can't take the guy, and that's my perception of him. Sorry if I offended anyone.

                                                    2. re: ttoommyy

                                                      Not that there's anything wrong with that.

                                            2. "download the brown file" - I didn't catch that phrase...hilarious! Bourdain's a man's man, with chef cred and street smarts, in the ilk of Lagasse and Fieri. Tho in the minority here at chow, I find them all completely entertaining. A much needed departure from the barrage of girly metro men that seem so popular lately

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: BiscuitBoy

                                                Agreed - he's definitely not into "horseplay".

                                                1. re: BiscuitBoy

                                                  Those girly metro men are so scary, aren't they?

                                                  Ah, to have some real manly men chase them around.... away, I mean, away!!!!

                                                2. Well think of it this way. Food has an entrance and an exit hole. Both are important.

                                                  I think it was Mario Batali who once said something to the effect of "no matter how good the meal was, it's all poop the next day."

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: scubadoo97

                                                    Tony has a fixation at both ends!
                                                    Love Batali's quote for its perspective.

                                                    1. re: monavano

                                                      When people refer to the "snout to tail" culinary movement, that's poop they're talking about.

                                                  2. This thread has been fascinating, funny, frightening and everything in between! Thanks to the CH mods for letting us have this irreverent fun that is fitting for no one more than Bourdain.

                                                    1. Seems to me the "brown file" was a gratuitous anal reference as he could have used the airport...facilities, no? Maybe he has a fear of public toilets? Now that would be funny.


                                                      1. Having endured gastroenteritis in Portugal, I can assure (sorry) you that finding toilets in some countries is an ongoing and urgent issue. Have a close encounter with some foreign bacteria that's "new to you" and you WILL become preoccupied with access to functional toilets. Now try to imagine the same little problem while travelling in the Far East (read: "bomb site" toilets) or in a developing nation where your next toilet might be a hole in the floor. Not for the squeamish.