What’s with my man Anthony Bourdain taking a tour of my former home state? I lived in Missouri for seven years, and I never picked up a shotgun, much less aimed and shot at squirrels, raccoons, and ducks. Anthony Bourdain however, did all that plus went fishing for suckers in just a few days, and looked very happy and quite at home doing so. Pretty impressive for a New Yorker. OK, I guess he didn’t actually shoot the squirrel, he just skinned it. And he never did actually hit the ‘coon. It ran up a tree, so he readily ate one that someone else shot and cooked up. Come to think of it, he didn’t shoot the ducks either. Bourdain simply showed the Ozark boys how to properly cook duck breast. At the end of the show, he did shoot the hell out of several Budweiser beer cans, and oddly enough some Heineken bottles. I don’t think I ever drank a Heineken in all my years in Missouri, and I tossed back plenty of beer.
I’m also pretty sure while living in the “Show Me State” I never ate any of the food cooked and consumed on that episode. Squirrel pot pie? Nope. Parboiled raccoon? Another nope. Fried suckers? uh-uh, although I do remember eating my first hush puppy during my orientation at Mizzou. I honestly don’t know if I’ve had duck breast, although I don’t think I’ve ever eaten it as a Missouri resident.
When I saw the promos for this Ozark episode, I thought Bourdain was going to slam a state where I have such good memories. Truth be told, I don’t have the best food memories, but it’s where I met my husband, and made life long friends. Also, the only time I spent in the Ozarks was at the lake, and that was far from the part of the state highlighted in this No Reservations episode. One thing missing in this episode that is usually front and center is Bourdain’s snark. There was very little of it. Maybe Bourdain was still felling guilty after a writing hero of his, Daniel Woodrell, was injured while fishing for suckers with him. That also could have been why Bourdain didn’t seem to mind a woman kicking his a** at an arm wrestling tournament, and a really tiny woman at that. Bourdain seemed to really enjoy the people and the food. Hell, the people he talked to were all pretty likeable, and they had no problem making fun of themselves.
Whenever I think I’ve figured out Bourdain and his M.O., he surprises me, and tonight he surprised me in a good way. Now I’ve got to put Daniel Woodrell’s Winter’s Bone high on my reading list.