This has nothing to do with art.
I came to Canada at 4 years old. I was shy, I was bratty, I was inordinately sensitive. My mother packed my lunch on one of my first full days of school. I was paralyzed in the classroom, unsure of myself and the school norms that seemed to come easy to everyone else. I remember opening my lunch box and it was standard asian fare - rice, steamed carrots, shiitake mushrooms in thin slices, soy sauce. My mom placed them to form a smiley face.
I hadn't begun eating when a classmate said my lunch smelled weird. Another demanded to look at it and screeched at the yucky black stuff. I remember crying, silent, putting the lid back on. We were 6 years old and had a 12 year old lunch monitor in the class. He admonished the other kids and asked if he could look at my lunch. Oh, yeah, he said, asian food smells weird. And that black stuff, it does look pretty gross! At this the class ran away from me screaming. I knew what it was. I loved shiitake mushrooms. But I agreed with everyone and put my lunch away, uneaten. My mom asked me why I didn't eat my lunch, and I told her the white kids in class eat sandwiches and I hated mushrooms and she should have known better and everything was her fault.
It's a painful memory.
Bourdain's No Reservations came a little too late to help me through my formative years, but I loved it excessively. I watched him eat his way through Asia without a hint of prejudice, with humility. There are so many ways to be, and he understood and accepted. Every time he winced, cringed, but was game to try an insect or a rectum, my 6 year old self and those yucky black mushrooms felt absolved. It was okay, everything will be okay, there is hope. There are so many ways to be.
I'm so sorry he's gone.