What Anthony Bourdain Knew About Mexico Like millions of his fans, I was stunned to learn that Anthony Bourdain had left us so soon last week. I was sad because he had such a genius for expressing his brilliance: and, I believe, had so much more to teach. I’ve spent half my life trying to teach students at the university to embrace new cultures with respect and enthusiasm. Compared to Anthony Bourdain, however, I’ve been a mere theorist in this struggle. I was an analyst; he was in the trenches. He was so refreshingly eloquent in teaching people to bury the tourist within them, suppress their ethnocentrism and release the traveler. He taught us that it wasn’t enough to walk in another man’s shoes. You must dine at his table, learn his rituals. When you embrace another man’s food, you embrace his culture. He particularly loved Mexican food and culture. Having lived most of my life in the Hispanic world, he and I shared that love, as do most Texans. To honor him, I will read part of his poignant essay on Mexican cuisine: “Under the Volcano.” It starts like this: Americans love Mexican food. We consume nachos, tacos, burritos, tortas, enchiladas, tamales and anything resembling Mexican in enormous quantities. We love Mexican beverages, happily knocking back huge amounts of tequila, mezcal, and Mexican beer every year. We love Mexican people – we sure employ a lot of them. Despite our ridiculously hypocritical attitudes towards immigration, we demand that Mexicans cook a large percentage of the food we eat, grow the ingredients we need to make that food, clean our houses, mow our lawns, wash our dishes, and look after our children. “If I’m an advocate for anything,” says Bourdain, “It’s to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. Walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food. It’s a plus for everybody.” This has been a tribute to Anthony Bourdain, using his own words. Catch up with you one day Tony, in Parts Unknown.