Buried within one of this season's biggest blockbuster films, The Big Short, is a fun little cameo by a guy you might recognize: Anthony Bourdain. The comedy-drama — which was released just before Christmas and stars Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, and Brad Pitt — is based on the book by Michael Lewis about the financial crisis of 2008. In a segue partway through the film Bourdain explains Collateralized Debt Obligations, or CDOs, as a way of repackaging leftovers for sale. It was screenwriter and director Adam McKay who decided to use a chef's trick to describe the financial instruments that caused the Great Recession.
It goes something like this: A chef buys fish on Friday. Two days later, it can't be sold as is, it's now too old and stinky, "So what am I going to do?" Bourdain asks, rhetorically, "Throw all this unsold fish in the garbage and take the loss? No way. Whatever crappy levels of the bond I don't sell, I throw into the seafood stew. [Now] it's not old fish, it's a whole new thing." (This, by the way, also explains a lot of restaurant menu specials.)
Though the film didn't win any Golden Globes this past weekend, The Big Short could still take home an Oscar or two next month. Sadly, Bourdain's masterful work was not nominated for any awards, but here it is in all its glory.