From all the places you have visited, what would be the place you would like to live after retirement?
It's a tough question. I used to think Vietnam for a long time but lately... I'm leaning very much toward Italy! I like it there! I like the food. All those carbs are dangerous but Italy's a pretty nice place.
Has anything ever happened while filming any of your shows that scared the crap out of you?
Yes! Where do I begin? Every day in the DRC--the Democratic Not-So-Democratic Republic of the Congo--there were many tense moments. Libya, post-Benghazi, was again, many concerning moments where we sort of had to take regular meetings among the crew and decide for ourselves whether we would make a run for the airport or continue shooting. Beirut, 2006, got a little dodgy.
And immediately after eating Nashville Hot Chicken, that was truly, truly terrifying. And if you're considering going to Nashville, by the way, please notice that Nashvillians themselves don't eat the extra-hot fried chicken. They know better. Unless you've got three or four days to spend in a bathroom, I really advise against that.
What's your take on cooking competition shows like "Top Chef"?
Edit: should probably have included this ahead of the question: Big fan of your shows. My only complaint is that by the time I got to the good restaurants from "no reservations" they were already too popular! You saved my ass in Montreal, where I had little time, no cell service, and clothing not appropriate for that level of cold. I can't for the life of me remember the name of the restaurant, but I went to one of them about 3 times in as many days, and it didn't disappoint!
There are good ones, there are bad ones. I think Top Chef is probably the best of them. I like them. Ariane loves Chopped, wants to be on Chopped. She also loves Master Chef Junior. So when I'm watching with a 9-year-old they're a lot of fun.
Look, I never thought of cooking as a competitive sport. It's entertainment, but I guess if you're looking for the best technical/professional cooking, Top Chef would probably be the high water mark. I have mixed emotions about it. I think a lot of these shows, on one hand, have been good for the industry. On the other hand, they've created an entire species of cook, who really doesn't want to work in a restaurant; they just want to be on TV. And that's always worrying.
I see you're drinking a $150 bottle of scotch. How is it?
It is very delicious. Very delicious.
What are your comfort foods?
I have an unholy and guilty attraction to fast-food macaroni and cheese. During the morning I get these horrendous cravings for Popeye's mac and cheese, and, uh, I will often disguise myself to try to slip into Popeyes. Or in a pinch, I will even go to the Colonel. There, I admit it. And I'm always recognized.
I hate Twitter, because immediately they take a picture of me holding the evidence in my hand. It's like getting caught coming out of a porn shop with a video in your arms. Very embarrassing.
What food trend do you want to see die quickly? And what would you like to see become a food trend?
I would like to see the pumpkin spice craze drowned in its own blood. Quickly. Juice--I don't understand the juice cleanse. I mean, if you've ever had a colonoscopy, the doctor gives you something that will cleanse you right quick, so I don't really understand juice cleanses. I believe celiac disease is a very serious ailment, and if you're diagnosed with it, I'm pleased that there are now gluten-free options, but these people who are treating gluten as, you know, an equivalent of Al Qaeda are worrying to me. So, I'm uneasy about that.
Also, overuse of the word "artisanal". You know, an artisanal potato chip? What does that mean other than it's an expensive potato chip? Oh, I'm also no big fan of the judgmental barista and beer nerds. I mean, I like a good craft, but don't make me feel bad about my beer choices. You know what kind of beer I like? I like cold beer.
I would like people really to pay more for top-quality Mexican food. I think it's the most undervalued, underappreciated world cuisine with tremendous, tremendous potential. These are in many cases really complex, wonderful sauces; particularly from Oaxaca, for instance, that date back from before Europe. I'm very excited about the possibilities for that cuisine, and I think we should pay more attention to it, learn more about it, and value it more. This is frankly a racist assumption that Mexican food or Indian food should be cheap. That's not right.
Where have you eaten the best sandwich?
The sandwiches I crave most when I'm abroad are a pastrami on rye from Pastrami Queen, in New York. They do a sandwich at the restaurant at the Ace Hotel that is insanely delicious. It's this super crispy thin Sardinian style flat bread smeared with butter, chilis, and Bottarga, which is like salted tuna or mullet eggs. Doesn't sound so good but man it's good, especially with a cold beer. If that doesn't sound good to you, you're always safe with a great pastrami sandwich. We do it best in New York.
Did you get to keep your Bob Kramer knife from series 1 of Raw Craft? And do you still use it?
I did not get to keep the knife. I bid on it online; it was put up for auction. I bid $5,000, but I saw that the lowest bid at the time, or the current high bid was something like $22,000. So needless to say I did not get that knife.
I did, however, finally after a wait of longer than a year, I did get the opportunity to buy a Kramer knife. It is easily my most valued physical object that I own. It is a thing of beauty, and I'm just waiting to find food worthy of it, to use it.
Hi Mr. Bourdain. What's the coolest shit you found?
Coolest shit I ever found anywhere? I dunno, I mean the most cool shit per square foot is probably in Tokyo. You know, if you're looking for cool shit, your statistical likelihood of finding some is gonna be in Tokyo.
Wow, what a tough question. Yeah, try Tokyo.
Is there anything about you, your life's work, or your personality that you think didn't translate well or at all on television?
Yeah, I don't know that I translate well on television at all. I don't know, and to be honest, I kinda don't really take myself that seriously, so I don't really care. I mean, anytime you put a lens on somebody, it has a distorting and changing effect. But I never really worry about that. I'm very lucky in that I get paid to really be myself; I don't have a script. I decide where we go and what we do on the show. I've gotten away with being obnoxious on TV for 15 years now. I don't really see any reason to chance.
So yeah, I have no complaints. I'm not afraid to look like an idiot on TV; it happens a lot. We don't have hair or makeup, for instance. It would be interesting to show up on a show with like a Trumpian Cheeto tan. Actually, I should try that.
How was lunch with Obama?
It was like really weirdly relaxed. He seemed very much at ease, like he was having fun. There were no secret service or staff in the room, just me, my camera people, some customers. Rarely have I seen someone enjoy drinking a beer from the bottle as much as the president. He's really good with chopsticks. Really because of the way he is, how relaxed and comfortable, none of us on the crew were nervous while we were shooting. It was only afterward that we all kind of looked and each other and said, "Did that just happen?" It was really fun! He was generous with his time, quick to answer, and he's funny. He spoke to me and I spoke to him, we're both fathers of girls. The president spent a lot of time in Indonesia as a young man. He's really good with chopsticks, which is always a plus in my mind.
Love No Reservations...yum...Balvenie...sooo good. is scotch your "go-to" drink?
It's my special event. You know there's always a special time for me where I move over to Scotch. Generally, when I'm in a philosophical, reflective, or otherwise bittersweet kind of a mood, when I'm drinking alone, listening to music by myself; you know, maybe before a holiday meal or something like that and I have company over. But it's not like every day. I'm a beer drinker, ordinarily. So if I'm drinking expensive whiskey, it's gonna be a special event.
Hey Tony, you're on your last $20 EVER. Where do you go to eat and drink in NYC?
Twenty dollars?! I don't know. It might be a dirty water hot dog. You know? A bagel, with some butter, or no! A bialy. A toasted bialy with some butter, maybe at like Barney Greengrass, and then...what, do I die after spending this $20? Is that what happens? I mean, it's a pretty good value, maybe I'll have two bialys for $20.
Loved your book Kitchen Confidential, but my children know you as a doctor on Yo Gabba Gabba. Can you share your experiences working on that show?
Well, when I've been on Yo Gabba Gabba, my daughter was very young and just loved the show, was obsessed with it. And I thought it would be really cool to go on. So when they reached out to me, I jumped on it. I think they read on Twitter that I was a fan, so they invited me to the on the show as Dr. Tony. I was very excited! In fact, star struck somewhat to meet DJ Lance and the rest of the gang. I had a lot of fun on the show.
But crazy enough when my daughter saw the show and saw me doting over Tootie--who as I recall, I was helping through an illness--she became really jealous and pissed off at me, that I was being so nice and attentive to Tootie. It did not have the immediate effect that I'd hoped for. She was much more impressed later in life when I was on The Simpsons, another show I did largely for my daughter's benefit. Okay, I'll admit it, I like it.
It was a lot of fun. Very talented, very creative show, Yo Gabba Gabba, with great music on it, and great musical guests. I'd go back on in a second. You know, my daughter doesn't watch anymore, she's 9. But I like that show. I still have those songs running around in my head, you know, "Don't, don't, don't bite your friends." These are words we can live by.
Mr. Bourdain, as a young aspiring chef I have heard that many restaurants don't really care about culinary school experience, if this is the case, what do you look for (other than experience) in a chef when you are hiring?
Also, all I ever hear people talk about when I mention that I want to be a chef is how awful the industry is, what are some of the upsides to working in food?
Look, you're either the sort of person who likes the restaurant industry, or you're a normal person. Experience is less important as a long-time employer, as the chef. What I look for is someone who's showed up on time every day reliably, who can be counted on absolutely to show up on time and have the respect to honor their basic commitment to their co-workers and their employers. I figure if you're the sort of person who shows up reliably on time and doesn't complain, then you're worth me taking my time to give you the experience. Willingness to learn. I think that's why so many people prefer to promote dishwashers off the line than hire somebody who presumably has experience.
So yeah, I'd say the best thing you can do is to show yourself to be the sort of person worth investing the chef's time and attention in; it's a mentoring business. People pass their experience down to the next generation and the next. Prove yourself early and often; be the sort of person deserving of that investment.
As far as, you know...what can I tell you? It's a very very very hard, unglamorous business, regardless of what you might think from watching television. You're probably not going to be on TV, you're going to go home every night smelling of smoked salmon and garlic. It's murder on your social life. You know, it's probably not the easiest; it's physically demanding. Mentally demanding. But some people, like me, love it.
Which ethnic food do Americans need to embrace more?
Which foods do Americans need to stop eating?
You are an inspiration... Im 51 years old and out of work. When I watch your shows, I know older guys can still be cool! THANK YOU!
There are a lot that I think are underappreciated. Chinese food still remains a mystery to us, it's not really anything like what they eat in China. Our knowledge on Japanese is not so wonderful. Countries who's food is underrepresented, Brazil, Peru, higher end Mexican food, Burmese, West African. Food from Senegal and Ghana is amazing, delicious, complex and interesting. So many of the fundamental flavors of what we call american food, in fact, came from those places. "Traditional Southern Food" so many of those textures and flavors and ingredients can trace their roots directly to West Africa.
Well look, do you really need pizza that's stuffed with cheese? County faire novelty food? deep fried butter. We can eat a lot less deep fried stuff, for sure. I'm not a big fan of the major fast food chains. Anything that's oversized. Giant jugs of soda. I'm a father and I think about these things, sugar intake. I'm gonna be fair to junk food, I have trashy taste, but some of the fast food concoctions are pretty heinous. I personally don't like fake Italian or fake Mexican food. One of the joys of having lots of Mexicans and Mexican Americans around is they make delicious food! Why would we go a to a fast food outlet, for more money, selling us bad food. I wouldn't mind seeing the end of these monster nacho concoctions. Anyone who would insist on putting BBQ in a Nori roll, kind of offends me. Theme restaurants...not so great. There is a restaurant in Vegas, I think it's called The Heart Attack Grill, where if you are over 350lbs you eat for free. I think that should be pretty much a war crime.
Of all the food you have been offered, have you ever refused a certain type of food?
Never. I think it's my duty as a guest to always accept when my host is offering a good thing. When people are expressing themselves by what they offer, I feel it's my duty to if necessary take one for the team. It's what I call a "grandma rule"; I may not like grandma's turkey, but I'm in grandma's house, I'm gonna eat it. And I'm gonna smile and say I like it. I think that's just good manners.
If you treat me like an idiot though and serve me crap with utter contempt. I can spiral into a serious depression for days and I will not be nice about it. This means you, Johnny Rockets.
Do you ever feel ridiculous if you have to make reservations?
No, I do it without shame. I'm like super organized, I'm a list maker, and I have a schedule. I'm not one of those people who calls a restaurant at the last minute and says, "Do you know who I am?" I plan ahead. I do make reservations. And I always show up for them.
You know, making multiple reservations in multiple restaurants on the same night at the same time and blowing off the other ones? That's right up there with being rude to your server, as far as restaurant crimes. They should keep a file on such people. In fact, some restaurants do!
Is a hot dog a sandwich?
I've noticed this question coming up again and again.
No. I don't think it's a sandwich. I don't think a hamburger is a sandwich either. The fact that it's in between bread--the bread is a delivery system, a ballistic delivery system. It is not a classic sandwich, in my view.
I mean, if you were to talk into any vendor of fine hot dogs, and ask for a hot dog sandwich, they would probably report you to the FBI. As they should.
What countries have you not visited that you want to?
I've been trying to get into Afghanistan for years. The insurance company is reluctant to let us shoot there. Yemen, I'd like to go very much but, obviously, that also is a security situation. There are a lot of countries that I haven't been to because of security concerns.
Though I will tell you I would like to overcome my childhood-born phobia of Switzerland at some point. You'll notice I've never done a show there. I have a deep neurotic fear of haunting vistas, you know, like a mural of Lake Geneva with snowcapped peaks and yodelers, or those dogs with the barrels under their neck. I'm frightened of all things Swiss, and I'm trying to overcome that. Working on it, and I hope to do a show there at some point.
That was my one and only time at waffle house. It is a strange and exotic wonderland to me. I really have yet to explore it fully. I was obviously thoroughly taken by it and cannot wait to go back. In fact, I have a secret urge, as a lot of my chef friends do, their secret urge is that they want cook at Waffle House. Just for a day to see if they can hack it because it's a tough gig. No, so I haven't been back, they don't have it in the New York/Tristate area unfortunately. If they did I would be hitting that place hard and often. They're wonderful.
Tony, you really inspired me to travel the world. I spent 6 months backpacking in Southeast Asia last year and always made a point to seek out restaurants you'd visited. Thanks for what you do.
That said, how do you feel about the impact of a small local restaurant appearing on your shows? Do you ever make a point to not reveal the location of a restaurant?
I remember visiting the Soup Lady in Saigon, and it had become a pretty big tourist hot spot. This wasn't the case everywhere you'd been, but the impact was definitely visible at times.
Yeah, that's a hard question that we wrestle with all the time on the show. I understand there are places that I love because they're sort of untouched, beloved by locals, undiscovered. That's exactly the type of place I love to celebrate. On the other hand I understand that very often the fact that we put those places on TV changes the nature of the business. Next time we go back there are tourists there, they added an extra dining room, the place is less charming. I imagine the locals, who have been going there for years, are kind of pissed at us.
There have been occasions where someone has taken us to a special place of theirs, that is just so awesome, and they express have reservations about putting it on TV. They don't want to see the place ruined. We have referred to places as "restaurant X" or said "we're just not telling you the name of this bar." A few people do the extra work to find the place, at least they have to work extra to find it. There are places that are just so awesome that I will just look into the camera and say "look I'm just not telling you where this place is or what it's name is. I just don't want to ruin it." More often than not, there is an element of destroying the things I love.
What's your favorite Kentucky Bourbon?
My favorite Kentucky bourbon? Very very old Fitzgerald, that's some nice stuff. If you were to present me with a bottle of very very very very very old Fitzgerald, I don't know if it exists, but man that's good.
I have to say, my friend Sean Rock is constantly coming up with these freakishly rare bottles of bourbon that I never thought of as particularly good, that are amazing. So it's not a subject I know much about, but I look forward to finding out.
Huge fan of your work.
How often do people see you in bars and offer to buy you a drink? What are the odds if we ever crossed paths you'd drink with a random fan?
When I first went on TV and I started going on book tours I was a guy who would literally drink anything. Fans would come up to me and offer me shots of tequila and I would actually drink them. I am still here and alive today because I don't do that anymore. If I took every offer of a shot or other substance that fans offer to me, I wouldn't have made it to 2008, much less to this year. So chances are, to be perfectly honest, you wouldn't see me at a bar. If you were to offer me a shot, I would probably politely decline. I know people offer those things with the best intentions but I'm a dad now. I'm the 60 year old dad of a 9 year old. I have to at least try to stay live long enough to get to the eye rolling stage of my daughter's life.
Big fan. What is your favorite place to eat in Chicago?
I love Girl & the Goat, I love Avec, I really like that restaurant. Who is it, Johnnie's Beef? Good stuff. Any Chicago hot dog is the finest in the land, love that product.
I dunno, Girl & the Goat I really love.
Where can I find the best tacos in the world, specifically?
I don't know, I mean look, they take their tacos very seriously in Mexico City. I'll answer the question like this, I'll dodge the question and tell you that the best tostada in the world is in Ensenada in Baja in Mexico at a place called La Guerrerense.
The stuff they serve there is as fresh, as vibrant, as sophisticated, as flavorful, as anything I've ever had at a beach style restaurant. As much as I'd like to answer your taco question let’s go with tostadas. Ensenada La Guerrerense.
What's the weirdest thing that has happened to you while traveling and filming that didn't get aired?
It was really, really weird, and didn’t air chances are it violated network standards and practices, was possibly felonious, or just so embarrassing that I'm sure as hell not going to tell you about it. Generally speaking we show everything. If I'm miserable and humiliated and everything goes wrong we show you that. I would draw your attention to the notorious Sicilian octopus fishing scene as a particularly unpleasant example of that. We really don't cut much out, if anything. Another example, Thailand. The famous Lady Boy Cabaret. It's filled with outrageously good looking transexuals or transvestites. Who kisses me on the mouth? The one girl who looks like Ernest Borgnine.
What is the most unexpected "foodie" city in the US?
Oh that's a really good question! You know, these days just about everywhere I go there's some young chef with a lot of tattoos of animals on their arms with their really good charcuterie program, making craft beer somewhere on the premises. So it should really not surprise me.
Nashville, TN; Asheville, NC; Minneapolis, for a very long time had really good food and a lot of great chefs. I think Los Angeles is wildly underrated; it was famous for years and appreciated for its strip mall food, it's Korean and Mexican and Latino food. But man, some of the restaurants that have been opening in the last 10 years are really really good. Everybody knows Seattle and Portland are great.
But yeah, off the top of my head, I'm kinda looking at the South. Charleston, NC, another one. But it's hard to say that these places are underrated. I mean, people are finding out how good they are. There's never been a better time to eat in America, honestly.
How's your BJJ training going? How's the wear and tear on you from the training?
I've been really lucky. I had one early injury as a white belt, but lately it's going really, really well. Feeling pretty good about leg attacks. They run in the family. I'm training out in LA at Cobrinha and at 5 Star, and really enjoying it. I'm very happy and I'm staying healthy so far.
What are you going to eat for dinner tonight?
I dunno, I'm thinking about a French dip sandwich. They do those really well in LA. Or I dunno, I had tacos at Danny Trejo's place last night, so I might go back! They were good.
How was your Archer experience?
Edit: my first gold is also my first AMA question answered. What a time to be alive! Thank you :D
Oh the best! I was sucking up to the Archer people for like a year! I was on a podcast, I said I'd work for free, I said I'd bring them coffee on the set, back massages. I'm such an uber fan of that show. I went to Comic Con and I'd stalk them. I have seen them since at the Emmys, they won an Emmy this year. I went up to them, my character was last seen falling out of a helicopter but you don't see him hitting the ground! So maybe he lived because all I want right now is to be back on Archer. It was pretty much the high watermark of my career. After that, everything is meaningless.
How is your food court/night market concept going? I'm super excited for it to open!
We're hoping to be open by 2019, so we're two years out. We're getting there!
Whenever the question comes up "If you could switch lives with anyone in the world, who would it be?" - my answer is always Anthony Bourdain. You seem to have lived such a full, adventurous and unique life. Thanks for making great shit for all these years.
My question is, if you could switch places with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?
You know the show I haven't been able to make yet, I'd like to do a show with Keith Richards. I'm working on it. He's an enthusiast and a voracious reader. He's very interested in British naval history. Maybe visiting the site of great British naval battles with Keith Richards, eat bangers and mash, cooking steak and pie together would be really fun That's something I'd really love to do.
When will you be on Joe Rogan's podcast again? It's been too long and I'm starting to itch.
Soon I hope! It's always a lot of fun to hang out with Joe. I like him very much, I like his podcast. But I will tell you that if Joe Rogan ever wants to demonstrate a choke on you, don't let that happen. He's like, really really really strong, and yeah. Just, it hurts. A lot.
With regards to how you present yourself, you seem to maintain your punk rock philosophy in your professional life. Do you feel that this has been a hinderance at times? Is it possible to still do what you want and get ahead without compromising your ideals? Have you had to struggle with balancing the two at times?
I'm 60 years old, I don't feel punk rock at all.
If you could have dinner with any three people, alive or dead, who would they be?
Louise Brooks, Orson Welles, and James Angleton the former head of capital intelligence for the CIA. There's a couple of questions I'd like to ask him. They're all dead unfortunately.
What are your favorite books?
The books that I reread, I reread Orwell's essays all the time. The Quiet American, by Graham Greene. The Friends of Eddie Coyle, by George V. Higgins, it's a great crime book. Joan Didion's essays or collected Joan Didion is terrific. Patricia Highsmith, The Ripley's series is great. True Grit! You've seen the movie, read the book. It is amazing, it is really amazing writing.
You monologue musings are fantastic. Do other writers assist or is it all from the brain of Bourdain?
What do you do to get in the mood for writing?
Any inspirations like Three Stooges and a martini? Nature? Poetry? Meditation? Mushrooms?
Besides just practicing, how can someone become a better writer?
In my case, I write everything. I write every word. I have found that the only way I can write is early in the morning, first thing, stone-cold sober. So I will wake up, start writing, and write for as long as I can. I get stupider as the day goes on. I just get stupider and stupider as it gets later in the day. So, yeah, stone-cold sober, first thing in the morning. No other way for me.
Nothing's gonna help me do anything but get distracted. If smoking weed is first on your list of things to do, you're probably not getting to #2. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
How do you find the local experts in 'No Reservations" and how difficult is filming in countries that are not friendly to Americans in general?
We're very very good. I've been working with the same people for the whole time I've made television. And we've been traveling together and doing this thing for many years, and we found out really early on that the person you select to be your fixer in those countries, in any country, determines the success or failure of the show. So we're really really careful about finding these people who, generally speaking, are professionals who work with either news outlets, people shooting or filming major films, shooting commercials; we audition them over Skype and email; we make sure that they have an understanding of what show it is we're making and what show we're not making. It's really important they understand we're not looking for the "Top 10 Best Places" in a particular city. They have to have a sense of humor, and they have to be as knowledgeable of the places as they claim to be, which is something that has been a problem in the long ago past.
We just learned to be good judges of character in a solid fixer. Man, that will literally save your life, and has in our cases many times. We would not have made it intact out of Congo I don't think without a really great fixer. And in fact, we got everything we needed to there.
It's difficult in countries where you know that they are possibly more paranoid. Mostly people from the security services give us drivers or translators whose job it is to keep an eye on us. We're pretty good, and they may want to steer us to see positive aspects of their society, and try to get us to play into some agenda. We're pretty good at avoiding that and seeing through that. A lot of times we'll do some of what they call "French shooting" which, yes we'll let them take us on the dog-and-pony show, and we'll pretend to shoot it, but never actually end up using it on the show.
Generally speaking, people have been pretty nice to us around the world, but we do understand if you're in China or Iran, for instance, you cannot point your cameras at military installations or secret police who are walking by. It's probably not a good idea to put a camera up to those. We also have to be very careful about the position we leave our hosts in. Meaning, I can go around and come back and say anything I want about the place; but all of the people who are nice to me there, I have to think about the repercussions of my comments here. And we're very careful about that as well. I can say what I want, but I have to think about the people who were kind to me and trusted me in countries that take a dim view of free speech, let's put it that way.
Any chance of Rogan being on an episode that has some sort of BJJ segment or theme?
No. I'm not rolling with that guy, it hurts. He does not roll light, he goes really really hard. He's a neck cranker, by the way, and he's got bowling balls for arms, no visible neck, and he only rolls with no gi. So as much as I love the guy, I'll do anything with him; shoot animals in the brain, canoe trip, hot tubbing, whatever. But I'm not rolling with the guy.
Re: Raw Craft: What thing that you made yourself, other than food, are you most proud of, and why?
Whoa! What have I made in my life? Wow! You've caused me to reflect on my utterly worthless existence. I mean, I give a cute answer, I assisted in the making of a 9 year old girl. A birdhouse, a chest of drawers, I really wish I could do those things. Everything I ever made with my hand, you know it was food, it literally turned to shit within 8 hours. So...wow...Oh my god! I'm really depressed now!
Hey Anthony, I love your shows I was just curious how you felt about the drug addiction situation that is going on, especially in the north east, at this time? Also your favorite dish to cook!
I think the pharmaceutical companies have to share some responsibility here, but I think it's sort of the final evidence of the utter failure of the war on drugs. I think it's about time we start treating addiction as a pressing and urgent health problem rather than a law enforcement problem. I've spoken with many many law enforcement officials about this over the years, and not one of them can look you in the eye and say that their entire life's effort--fighting drugs by interdiction, impounding, or taking out cartels--none of it has had any effect on the price or availability of narcotics. I think it's time we see the disruptive effects of the war on drugs.
I remember when it was declared during the Nixon years, and we need to find a Plan B, and start treating drug addiction as the health problem it is. To do otherwise would be an absolute denial of the facts.
To answer your second question, I love cooking pasta. It makes me happy. I don't claim to be particularly good at it--Italian food is not really my area of expertise--but there's something about it that is magical for me.
What is your favorite way to alter a cheap, supermarket-bought, processed item to make it palatable (e.g. boxed Mac and Cheese, Ramen, etc.)? You know, for bachelors. And broke people.
There is no single cure all. I would say the ultimate broke ass, dorm food, for people who don't have a lot of money, for people aren't good at cooking, if you only have a hotplate, is a Korean dish called Budae Jjigae, also known as Army Stew or Korean Army Stew. You can google that shit. It is an unholy mix of ramen, hot dogs (or vienna sausage), spam, beans, kimchi, and Korean spices. I know that sounds like just a horrible train wreck, it's really delicious and you can pretty much train a reasonably intelligent doberman to make it. It's perfect. When there was a lot of poverty and necessity during wartime in Korea, it perfectly reflects the need to improvise, innovate, and make the most of what you have on hand. It remains a delicious and beloved dish in Korea. I adore this stuff.