Last night's episode of Parts Unknown found Anthony Bourdain in Paraguay, where he did a little genealogy and ate a lot of beef. On the hunt for the story of his great, great, great grandfather, Bourdain discovered Paraguay's violent past, and its tasty, developing present. And now, on to the Quotable Bourdain — feel free to leave your picks in the comments below.
1: On his great, great, great grandfather Jean Bourdain, who may or may not have died in Paraguay: "Might have been a seeker of Utopian dreams. My aunt used to tell stories he was into arms smuggling...who knows."
2: On Paraguay's capital, Asunción: "Known largely for being a post-war refuge for fleeing Nazis and a long line of extremely unpleasant dictators, this place, of all the places in the world, is where my great, great, great grandfather disappeared without explanation sometime in the 1850s."
3: On cattle and Paraguay: "Cattle is the big business of this country. It used to be cattle and smuggling; these days it's still cattle and some smuggling. You see a lot of beef, is what I'm saying."
4: On how Jean Bourdain died: "Did he die by the sword? Did he die of old age? Did he die of syphilis? I have no idea. I'd like to know."
5: On Bourdain life expectancy: "My father died at 57. His father I think in his 20s. I'll be 58 in June, I think I am the longest-living male Bourdain possibly ever."
6: On what he hopes the detective will discover about Jean Bourdain: "By the way, it'd be great if you found out he had a huge ranch in the Chaco and they'd been waiting for his relatives to claim the property."
7: On the stereotype of Paraguay: "The world's backwater, filled with bombed out banks that had been looted, institutions that didn't work, everyone carried a gun, like the Wild West but poorer."
8: On Paraguay's leadership: "Seldom in the history of the world have I seen any country where one after the other you've had absolutely the most maniacal, insane, suicidal group of pisspot dictators, century after century."
9: On Paraguay's many varieties of immigrants, and also a catfish virility soup: "So you invite them, give them the catfish soup, make their dick hard, and be fruitful."
10: On Paraguay's political history: "Paraguay has not been noted for its history of kinder, gentler leaders."
11: When handed a gun while boating upriver: "Any rogue Nazis we could shoot? No?"
12: On drinking and shooting: "Me. Beer. Shotgun. Hot sunny day. And producer. That's not a good mix."
13: On his priorities: "Ah, the most important part of any meal: cold, frosty beverages."
14: On the Chaco, the semi-arid rural area of Paraguay: "A flatland of cactus and thorns and misery and cannibals."
15: On New Bordeaux: "Any thoughts or hopes that Jean Bourdain ended his life here, leaving me vast, unclaimed stake in what is now prime cattle country turns quickly to dust."
16: On Jean Bourdain: "I don't know what he did here. Of course I'm hoping for something extremely glamorous, a river pirate, gun runner, drug smuggler. Maybe he died in the saddle. Maybe he died happy. Maybe he was like Colonel Kurtz, living out in the bush, surrounded by adoring, indigenous women."
17: On finding out Jean Bourdain was in the hat business: "Hatmaker?! I am pretty sure he said hatmaker. Which I have to say disappoints me like a lot. The whole elusive wing of mysterious South American Bourdains were Project Runway contestants of their day?"
18: On drunk munchies: "You know you want it. It's late, you've had a few. No, you've had a lot. You want something greasy, savory, juicy, and nasty."
19: On the famous sandwiches, lomitos: "An egg — a little runny, please — some kind of meat-like beef patty thing, throw on your lettuce and tomato, two sauces — no idea what they are and I frankly don't care — soy sauce I think too, of course because yes, layer it like the ruins of ancient Troy, egg on top of cheese on top of meat. Now get in my stomach now."
20: On lomitos: "All my greasy meat dreams have come true."
21: On discovering Jean Bourdain was not actually a hatmaker, but rather imported "fireworks": "He was a merchant of death? Awesome. My aunt always said he was a gun runner, but we figured she was full of shit."
22: On ideal meals: "The perfect ratio: a lot of meat, a little bit of vegetables."
23: On Paraguay's beef country: "So are there a lot of vegetarians in this part of Paraguay?"