Anthony Bourdain: Why don’t we love Mexico?

Celebrity chef questions love–hate relationship with neighboring country

Anthony Bourdain: Why don’t we love Mexico?Anthony Bourdain with Sabina Bandera of “La Guerrerense”. Image courtesy of La Guerrerense
Anthony Bourdain with Sabina Bandera of “La Guerrerense”. Image courtesy of La Guerrerense

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UNITED STATES.- A few days ago Anthony Bourdain caught his follower’s attention with a post on his personal blog, in which he questions the two–faced relationship between the United States and Mexico.

More than a year has passed since Bourdain visted Baja California and was fascinated by its flavors. His appreciation for this unique gastronomical experience became an episode of “No Reservations” and several times, during international culinary events, he has brought some of the creators of Mexico’s finest cuisine — including Sabina Bandera, who owns the “La Guerrerense” seafood stand in Ensenada. Baja isn’t the only Mexican state that Bourdain has visited, and in his post he speaks about the Mexican’s reception of him during each of his visits.

VIDEO: Anthony Bourdain in Baja California

“In years of making television in Mexico, it’s one of the places we, as a crew, are happiest when the day’s work is over. We’ll gather round … will look around and remark, for the hundredth time, what an extraordinary place this is.”

Bourdain explains that Mexican food has become a favorite in the Unites States, and that it goes way beyond just a quesadilla or some tacos. In his travels, Bourdain has become mesmerized by it and has attempted to really get to know it — this involves visiting small towns, and mothers and grandmothers with the best recipes, who take the weekends to speak with family members who have migrated to the U.S. in search of a better life.

His post becomes quite critical as he discusses how many times people complain about Mexicans “stealing American jobs,” yet with 20 years in his profession he has only once met a young American man looking for a job as a dishwasher, porter or even a prep cook — jobs that are typically performed by Spanish-speakers and are a hugely important part of the food industry in this country. He emphasized that without Mexicans in the food industry, the whole thing would collapse overnight.

“Mexicans do much of the work in this country that Americans, provably, simply won’t do.”

Bourdain highlights the fact that Mexico is the United State’s southern sibling, one that knows the country’s citizen’s darkest secrets and one that the U.S. is very dependent on, actually. He adds that the U.S. loves to criticize the current situation in Mexico — the wave of violence that is directly related to American citizen’s mass-consumption of Mexican drugs; citizen’s who visit Mexico during spring break to get passed-out drunk on the Mexico’s beaches and “throw pesos at strippers in Tijuana.”

He adds: “Maybe we are embarrassed. Mexico, after all, has always been there for us, to service our darkest needs and desires... They have seen many of us at our worst.”

*Read the full post: “Under The Volcano”.

Brenda.Colon@sandiegored.com

borderzonie@gmail.com

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