It was a study in excess on last night's episode of Parts Unknown, with host Anthony Bourdain traveling the Québec countryside with those known afficianados of the good life, Joe Beef chefs Frédéric Morin and David McMillan. How much foie gras, truffle, sweetbreads, maple syrup, duck fat, sausage, astoundingly ripe cheese, caviar, beaver, and donkey can one TV show host eat in an hour of television? A whole hell of a lot, apparently. Below, the Quotable Bourdain (and Morin, and McMillan, and Martin Picard) — feel free to add your picks in the comments below.
1 On Montréal: "I will confess my partisanship upfront: I love Montreal. It is my favorite place in Canada. The people who live there are tough, crazy bastards."
1: On ice fishing as a hobby: "It's one thing to work outside in this wintery mess, but it takes a strange and wonderful kind of mutant to actually find it pleasurable."
2: Frédéric Morin on Canada's cold winter: "It cleans the streets of ebola."
3: On Morin and McMillan's ice fishing shack, complete with white tablecloth: "Fred and Dave do things differently. No crudely fried fish in bread crumbs for these large-living nineteenth century men; instead, a hearty lunch of French classics accompanied by many fine wines and liqueurs as befitting gentlemen of discerning taste who've exhausted themselves in the wild.
4: David McMillan on tableware: "Without getting too snobby or elitist, eating off vintage tableware is one of the great joys in life."
5: McMillan on your responsibilities as a dining companion: "I work super hard at being an excellent dining companion. I turn my phone off. I never put my elbows on the table. Come prepared with stories. Don't drink too much. Don't become sloppy."
6: On Morin and McMillan: "You are hopeless, hopeless romantics, gentlemen."
7: On their ice fishing meal: "Is there a billionaire or a despot anywhere who at this precise moment is eating better than us?"
8: On the cheese course: "A voluptuously reeking Époisses, who some less hearty outdoorsmen might call overripe. But not us."
9: On Morin dressing up his kids and serving them tons of classic French desserts on the weekend: "What I'm thinking is that's really fucked up, but what I'm also thinking is I gotta do that. And actually my daughter would totally be into it."
10: On Martin Picard: "Once every few decades, maybe every century, a nation will produce a hero. An Escoffier. A Mohammed Ali. A Dalai Lama. Joey Ramone. Someone who changes everything about their chosen field. Who changes the whole landscape. Life after them is never the same. Martin Picard is such a man. A heretofore unencountered hybrid of rugged outdoorsman, veteran chef with many years of fine dining experience, renegade, innovator. He is one of the most influential chefs in North America."
11: Picard on beaver meat: "When you eat beaver, you understand that it's beaver."
12: On the beliefs on Picard: "Martin, along with an encyclopedic knowledge of fine wines and an inexplicable attachment to the music of Celine Dion, is a big believer in honoring history and tradition."
13: On hockey: "These hearty culinarians of the north like to frolic in the snow and ice. More accurately, they like to obey their genetic Quebecois imperative to risk dental and maxillofacial injury by skating around, slapping at a hard disk, trying to drive it in each others general direction. I believe they call this sport hockey."
14: On the hockey dinner: "This is being catered by Fred and Dave's usual amount of restraint."
15: On charcroute: "This dish is the single best argument for sharing a border with Germany."
16: On train food: "We are presented with a perfectly serviceable omelet. There may no longer be a smoking lounge with brass spittoons, but this does not mean a traveler has to suffer."
17: On Morin and McMillan traveling with their own truffles: "Canadian rail. Now all these people are going to be expecting, 'Wait a minute, where's my fist-sized black truffle? Can I get the truffle option, please?'"
18: On the joys of old school dining: "Shrimp cocktail. Not a deconstructed shrimp cocktail, mind you, but shrimp cocktail. The way Jesus wants you to eat them."
19: On hipsters: "At this point in my life, I just don't know any more. Are these young cooks, young servers, these dedicated entrepreneurs...are they hipsters? Or am I just a cranky old fuck who thinks anybody below the age of 30 is a hipster?"
20: On the setup at Quebec City's Restaurant L'Affaire est Ketchup: "Look at this tiny electric four burner stove. At no point in my cooking career could I have worked with one of these without murdering everyone in the vicinity before hanging myself from the nearest beam."
21: On portion control: "You'll notice that nobody in Quebec seems to skimp on the portions. "
22: On calling it a night: "I'm all swollen up like the Michelin tire dude, and ready to burst in a livery, omnidirectional mist. Hotel/motel time for me."
23: At Martin Picard's Cabane à Sucre: "The meal begins — begins — with a tower of maple desserts."
24: On sucking maple candy off a stick: "Can I do that in a manly way?"
25: Morin on the importance of food: "Food is feces in waiting."
26: McMillan on excess: "I think we always compensate a little bit with an over-abudance of food because of our insecurity of not being good cooks." Morin: "It's a combination of generosity and low self-esteem."