Following his death a couple of months ago, I have been re-watching the classic No Reservations and Parts Unknown television series by the chef, food writer and broadcaster Anthony Bourdain.
His passing is a major loss to the hospitality world, including British pubs, which he genuinely loved. Indeed, when he visited the UK during his numerous TV travelogues, you often see him in a pub drinking beer – and munching on traditional snacks and dishes.
Most recently in Parts Unknown he visited three pubs. A London boozer, The Princess Victoria in Shepherd's Bush, where he sups a few pints of Guinness with Nigella Lawson. Later, he goes to the pub with Kate Moss' ex, Jamie Hince, in Islington. And then he chows down on a meaty pie at The Chequers Inn near Maidstone, Kent, with artist Ralph Steadman.
In London, and on Nigella's advice, they get stuck into a collection of outstanding bar snacks. He eats whitebait, pork scratchings, chips – with vinegar and salt (and curry sauce).
Then, he grabs an unctuous, runny scotch egg, an item which Nigella says has been "rehabilitated" from its older cheap and nasty version, and which the Princess Victoria is famous for.
"Hmm...salt and fat, nothing better", Nigella proclaims joyously. Anthony nods along.
When asking about whether to have curry sauce on chips, he concludes: "It is really a question of how many Guinnesses you've had..."
One of the most moving moments in the episode is when Nigella and Anthony talk about the simple, timeless beauty and peacefulness of the pub, which is a former gin palace and a wonderful example of a heritage city boozer – beautiful glass mirrors, a circular wooden bar and long-length windows.
"This is nice," Anthony says, ruefully looking into the middle distance. It is, for him, the perfect place to have a pint of beer in England.
Nigella says it is the kind of place where you can "pretend everything is right with the universe".
Anthony says, "I'm going to pretend."
I'll have a scotch egg and Guinness on you, Mr Bourdain. Cheers to a life well lived.
See the episode here: