I find myself asking that a lot, What Would Anthony Bourdain do? Why you ask, well he for one is a very big part of why I continue down this path you can read about that here. He was and continues to be a writer who I admire greatly. His insight on food and how it connects us was unprecedented.
Learning, always Learning
I have said many things over the years about what I wanted Tripping Vittles to be. It is something I am learning to stop because sometimes I do write reviews when I said I never would. I have gotten political and will continue to do so when I said I would stay neutral. That brings me to today and the bit of writing that should have been Leis’s Adventure #4 Food of El Salvador.
What Would Anthony Bourdain Do (WWABD) How would he tell people about the amazing adventure to a Salvadorian Restaurant without telling people about El Salvadore? and how do I talk about El Salvadore without talking about The United States’ unbelievably cruel policy of deportation? The short answer is I can’t. Nor would he.
An enjoyable meal
While I sat at the bar of Ranchero Kitchen, watching the hustle and bustle of a very busy restaurant. The bar seat was the only one available. I watched the faces of people and the eyes of the women who were working there, yes mostly women were doing all the jobs. It could be a coincidence or it could be because El Salvadore is a very dangerous place to be a woman and many seek the Safety of The supposed open arms of America and the welcoming arms of the Statue of Liberty, You know the one she is big and sits in Hudson Bay with a plaque with a poem written by Emma Lazarus a woman of Portuguese Sephardic Jewish descent. or in other words an immigrant.
The New Colossus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
WWABD? Would he say those words have always meant something to me, to these nations and to the people all over the world who come here looking for safety and an American dream that is so huge the light of it shines to the darkest corners of the earth? I don’t know if that’s what he would say but I know it’s what I would say.
Leaving your comfort zone
I would like to tell everyone to step out of your comfort zone. Go to a Ranchero Kitchen. You may not understand a word anyone is saying for they are speaking their native tongue. It is a step outside of your comfort zone. WWABD? he would tell you comfort zones are meant to be gotten out of even if the travel is across town.
Anthony Bourdain’s Words
“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.”
I will guarantee you someone will be able to take your order in English. That Same person will proudly tell you about the food they have carried all the way here to America. Their restaurant is set up on a little stretch of street in a part of town that is far from El Salvador. It is also far from the streets of Westerville Ohio, not in milage but in perceived safety, this restaurant is more than likely out of the comfort zone for many of my readers. In order to fix what is going on, we have to acknowledge the most basic fears. Fear of certain parts of town, fear of people with different skin colors. We have to break the cycle of fear and see all people as equal. I think we can do that by eating together!
There is a deep sense of community. Families eating together. Young and old coming in their Sunday best after a morning at church. Young men having a glass of house-made Horchata or Pina Marañon, a delicious combination of pineapple, cashew, and apple. While watching a soccer game broadcast on cable from somewhere in South America.
We have a problem in America today and it is that we have a leader and his administration making people different than us the enemy. They want you to believe that the people that come here from different lands and how they get here are the problem. They are not.
What Would Anthony Bourdain Do?
He would tell you, Someone from El Salvador or anywhere else in Latin America is not the problem. Politics and greedy unethical leaders are the problems. America’s insatiable appetite for drugs is a problem, the prisons where we incarcerate far more people with brown skin color for profit are the problem.
This is not a new problem. We have had an immigration issue here since the day the Statue of Liberty made her appearance in the Bay. I think We are making it worse instead of better. In wanting to write this I have read an article upon article about El Salvador and their politics and gang issues and the United States and our deportations of people back to El Salvador, 138 of them who ended up dead.
Is there a solution? Love More hate less?
I do not have a solution to all of this hate, death, and circumstances both here and abroad. What I do know is when I stepped into Ranchero Kitchen for lunch yesterday I was greeted by smiling women who embraced me and guided me to a delightful meal from beginning to end. What would Anthony Bourdain Do? I think he would start by saying something to the effect…we have got to start by not being afraid of our differences and embracing them. We are far more alike than different or maybe that’s what I am saying!
I was able to go on a trip to El Salvador without needing a passport. I ate the food and I came to a better understanding of their culture through that food. WWABD? I am pretty sure he would tell you to go eat some Salvadorian Food!