In the past few years we have been able to watch Anthony Bourdain shows through our Italian tv provider. Bourdain always reminds me of the nitwit who sits in the back of the class and mugs the teacher with zingers. He is a smart ass and gets away with it. He is honestly funny. Yet Bourdain, through his books and food/travel shows has become the Mickey Mantle of food and travel television, belting program homers that has built a pile of cash, some of which will open a huge New York food court, featuring foods of the world.
Travelling vicariously with him to Istanbul, Prague, Paris, and just about everywhere else on my own personal bucket list his programs make for great entertainment. Last December while we were in Istanbul we actually made a pursuit of a few of his eateries that had a favorable impression after watching his program. The few we found turned out to be a foodie windfall.
He attempts to convince his audience that when venturing abroad it is most important to seek the food of the people. Skip the lines to people stoppers as the Eiffel Tower, the Vatican and Empire State Building. Blow off the famous paintings, and museums and get down and dirty with street food, food made from momma’s recipe from years ago, and especially get serious about food made from parts of animals not usually found on menus in American restaurants..
We see Bourdain’s congenial gathering of food lovers circling a hot fire as we see the butchering of a squealing pig or other bleating beast. The beast is twirling on the spit and a blackened encrusted part is ripped off by hand and voraciously relished by all. On another show from Prague viewers watched the Champion of Sausage Makers, form and fill the sausages with a quick squirt of his hand. This type of scene is repeatedly produced for our viewing eyes, and stomachs. Hey, I want to do that too!
This is where I must pull the plug on his presentation, and I will spin my personal story to illustrate.
Now that I abide in Italy, after reading his books and watched his programs, I decided to take part in the annual butchering of the pig at a tourismo farm run by Alfonso, a good friend of mine. It was a good time to take advantage of my best Italian to explain to my friend my endeavor to take part in his slaughter of the pig and also to help make sausages. At any rate couldn't I at least watch?
Alfonso informed me of the rules of the EU, that my attendance would be as welcome as a case of herpes, because they are not allowed to have persons in the same room with the government overseer, the butcher, the pig owner and his hired workers. The butcher has to follow the laws that were made when the EU was formed. Apparently if you do not go by the law you can lose your license to be operating an agritourismo where a farmer serves the food he produces.
Being a positive thinking and resilient American I thought there must be another way, so I tried several other farmers who raise pigs and got the same answer. No! I guess that unless I hire a camera crew and have my own television program this is one undertaking that I will have to leave up to Bourdain.
(You can see Alfonso and his sausages in the accompanying photo)