Did your family go out for fast food very often when you were a kid?
Bourdain: You know, I am so old that it was considered an exotic treat to go to, like, Burger King or McDonald's. That was not something that I had prior to age, I dunno, maybe 8 or 9. So it was very exciting and not something you did a lot. As a teenager, I mean, you know, I was indifferent to it. I'd eat whatever was in front of me. But that was a part of my upbringing. But I did grow up in a time where the TV dinner was seen as freedom. It freed us from the tyranny of the family meal.
Swanson TV dinners.
Bourdain: You know, so those are roots flavors, too. That Swanson meatloaf with the fucking brownie -- that meant you didn't have to sit at the table. You could eat in front of the TV. That was liberating -- at least we thought of it at the time as this liberating modern, you know, wonder food. I don't have to sit here and answer questions about what we did? I mean, who wants to hang with their parents at the dinner table, really? I mean, they probably should. I mean, now that I'm a dad, of course, I don't want my daughter to eat in front of the TV. I want her to sit at the table with me in an organized meal and I'm like a Jewish mom. I'm like, "Honey, you don't like your food? Eat, eat." I try to express love through food in a tyrannical, overbearing way. And I die a little bit when she says, "Can I just eat in front of the TV?" I'm like, "Aw, fuck." So I've become -- as maybe all of us do -- my parents in some way.