Test Nootropics


12/21/2016 07:05 PM
My brain works 100x better when a little sleep deprived

Can anybody tell me what's going on?

I seem to suffer from mild cognitive decline when I sleep more than 8 hours... I have a hard time coming up with words.

I suffer from moderate depression and generally feel kind of crappy most of the time.

However when I sleep between 4-6 hours my depression is gone, I'm able to think clearly and everything seems a lot easier.

Can somebody explain the mechanisms?

The only thing I've read so far is that sleep deprivation seems to increase bdnf...but I literally feel like a completely different person when not getting enough sleep...

compared to feeling extremely sluggish and unable to think cleary when I get a lot of sleep..

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12/21/2016 07:05 PM
Magnesium glycinate gives me insomnia?

Hello, I'm curious if anyone else has had insomnia from a magnesium source. I haven't been able to find much talk of this. Does anyone know why this would happen?

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12/21/2016 07:05 PM
Sulforaphane

As presented by Dr. Rhonda Patrick a few days ago, there seems to be some solid evidence behind the effects of Sulforaphane as an anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant compound, etc... Does NootropicsDepot have any intention of releasing an extract anytime soon? Hopefully u/misteryouaresodumb can provide a comment!

https://examine.com/supplements/sulforaphane/

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12/21/2016 07:04 PM
Does hops (Humulus Lupulus) case depression?

I have a herbal sleeping pill that contains 250mg Humulus Lupulus and I read on WebMD that it's contraindicated with depression. I want to check this claim so I searched PubMed for humulus lupulus depression and was only able to find one relevant study:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16920300

Can someone help me to interpret it? Here it says "In the forced swimming test, we observed a reduction in the immobility time that could suggest an antidepressant-like activity." This seems to directly contradict what WebMD and other sources are saying.

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12/21/2016 07:04 PM
Alzheimer's hope in new memory-restoring drug.
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12/21/2016 07:04 PM
Fasoracetam Warning

I suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder and i use to take phenibut in extremly high doses but I eventually realized that could not last forever. So after quitting phenibut I looked into Fasoracetam which I thought would help my Gaba B receptors upregulate and I was right but in a bad way. Its day 10 now since I last used phenbut but I have been on Fasoracetam on and off for about 2 months. During the two months I would take Fasoracetam in doses between 30mg- 100mg a day. Fasoracetam did help with my withdrawal but I am also starting to think it took away my emotions and my abitilty to cum. I quit Fasoracetam yesturday but I want to warn people of what I think Fasoracetam may have done to me, so other should not go though it. I don't feel anxity anymore but I also don't feel happiness, sadness,fear, or really any emotions at the moment. I feel emotionally numb. This had been lasting about a week now and I hope quitting Fasoracetam can reverse these effects. I don't know if these effects were caused by quitting high doses of phenibut but I really think it was the Fasoracetam, due to I quit a high doses of phenibut in the past and this did not happen. Also now It seems as if I'm Asexual and have no attraction in any women not that it matters because I can't cum now for about a week. I'll keep this thread updated in case if things changes but just be warned.

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12/21/2016 07:04 PM
Racetams with enough reasearch?

Hi, for past several month I was too much excited in nootropics and bought many kinds of them without thinking, especially racetams.

I have piracetam, pramiracetam, oxiracetam, aniracetam, phenylpiracetam, coluracetam, fasoracetam, and unifiram (this one may not belong to racetam family).

Now I regret buying all those kinds of powders even before looking for the information about them thoroughly. Now I am trying to select relatively safe stuff among them. Which nootropics among them have at least one middle or long term human trial? I know piracetam has long history of human research but not familiar with others.

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12/21/2016 07:04 PM
Nootropics known to blunt top cognitive performers

I'm wondering if there's any Noots that are known to work well on average people but blunt the high performing individuals; say top 1% people with over 140 IQ? This info can be used to tailor stacks for high IQ people. So, if someone got a gold medal at international math olympiad, what Noots should they avoid?

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12/21/2016 07:04 PM
What drugs to take if I wanna study for long period of time?

I can study for only like 40 minutes a day.

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12/21/2016 07:04 PM
Anyone find an alternative to St. John's wort?

Hey guys,

I have OCD, GAD and mild/moderate depression. I'm currently trying l-theanine, and I've heard it's supposed to work really fast but I don't notice a difference yet and it's day 3. I can't take SSRIS because they turns me into a numbed out zombie. The only thing that has naturally helped me has been St. John's wort, but after researching more about the cataracts issue, I don't want to risk it. I've also taken 5-htp and it didn't work. Anyone have success with alternative treatments? I already live a pretty healthy lifestyle. I think my issue is low serotonin.

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12/21/2016 06:21 PM
Watch: The History of Moutai, China’s ‘Drink of Diplomacy’

It’s 400 years old and has been bringing diplomats together for centuries

In China, one beverage has been helping diplomats come together for centuries. Moutai is a potent variety of baijiu (clear liquor) that comes from China’s Guizhou Province. This video from Great Big Story explains its history.

Moutai is distilled from fermented sorghum, wheat, and water. Like famous spirits such as Cognac and Champagne, Moutai can only be produced in its birthplace. “The taste of Moutai liquor is very elegant, exquisite, and harmonious, since we manually operate the production of Moutai, and we use solid-state/open stacking of fermentation.” Keliang Ji, chairman of the Moutai Group, says in the video. “The production of Moutai relies entirely on its unique natural environment and conditions, such as the temperature, moisture, water quality, soil, rainfall, wind force and wind direction, and biological community.”

Watch the above video to get the full story on a unique beverage that has come to be called the “drink of diplomacy.”

• History in a Bottle: The Story of Moutai [YouTube]
• All Video Interludes [E]


12/21/2016 05:02 PM
Peet's Coffee Introduces 'Slow Bar' at New D.C. Store

The third-wave, indie coffee culture is rubbing off on the chain

Peet’s Coffee & Tea is jumping on the third-wave coffee train: Now that it owns Portland-based Stumptown Roasters and Chicago-based Intelligentsia Coffee, some of that indie, third-wave coffee culture is rubbing off on Peet’s, the roaster known for its strong brews — and for playing a distant second fiddle to Starbucks. According to Nation’s Restaurant News, Peet’s newest location in Washington D.C.’s Georgetown neighborhood sports a “slow bar.” That’s what the San Francisco-based coffee company is branding a counter that features pour-over and siphon brewing methods, now de rigueur at modern coffeehouses across the country.

“I think the reason we did this is because people are experimenting with different brewing methods and we wanted to showcase those methods,” Peet’s chief executive officer David A. Burwick told Eater. In short, Peet’s is keeping up with the times.

The new D.C. coffeeshop model was built with the concept of the slow bar in mind, Burwick said, and to offer customers a place to interact with the baristas preparing siphon, French press, and pour-over coffee drinks.

This is the first location of Peet’s slow bar. It’s a test site; in the coming months the company will gauge how well it does and consider remodeling existing stores and incorporating the concept into new ones. Peet’s is growing rapidly, having doubled its sales in the last four years, according to Burwick, from around $400 million to $800 million.

To accommodate this growth, Peet’s will open an East Coast roastery in Suffolk, Va. The new facility will break ground next year with a targeted opening in 2018, Burwick said. The roastery’s location will cut down on the time between roasting and delivery, to “get fresher beans in the hands of everybody that lives up and down the Eastern Seaboard,” Burwick said. The roastery will be bigger than the company’s primary facility in Alameda, Calif., and the building will be LEED certified.

Peet’s roasts more than 30 different coffees, and customers at the D.C. store can select their beans and follow them through the brewing process. (As a point of comparison, Starbucks roasts 28 different types of coffee, not counting its new Reserve line that offers an additional six types of beans for brewing in store and a total of 10 to take home.)

At Peet’s, a cup of coffee brewed with the siphon method goes for $8, compared to around $2.50 for a regular drip coffee. Meanwhile, a Starbucks’ siphon brew at its Reserve stores (where a counter sports V60 drippers and siphons) costs around $12 but varies based on the type of beans used. Starbucks’ standard drip coffee costs around $2 for its smallest size. (It’s worth noting that a siphon brew is typically more than one 8 oz. pour.)

Both the introduction of a slow bar and the forthcoming roastery suggest the company is going after its longtime competitor. Starbucks has been rolling out its Reserve stores for the past year, and has opened or announced the opening of Roastery locations — larger roasting facilities that also serve a wide variety of espresso-based beverages — in cities like New York and Shanghai.

The parent company for Peet’s is JAB Holding Co., which owns a large chunk of the coffee market with Keurig Green Mountain, Krispy Kreme, Caribou Coffee, and Einstein Brothers in its portfolio. Additionally, there is talk of the company acquiring Dunkin’ Donuts, which would cement its standing as a powerhouse of internationally recognizable coffee brands.

• Peet’s Shows off Coffee Varieties With ‘Slow Bar’ [NRN]
• Starbucks Hopes to Win Over Coffee Snobs With More Fancy Coffee Shops [E]
• Dunkin’ Donuts Could Be Worth Nearly $7 Billion [EBOS]
• All Peet’s Coffee Coverage [E]

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12/21/2016 05:02 PM
Vladimir Putin’s Chef Hit With U.S. Sanctions

The restaurateur is accused of spreading propaganda

A Russian restaurateur who has come to be known as chef to President Vladimir Putin is facing sanctions from the United States Treasury Department. The department added Yevgeny Prigozhin to its sanctions list on Tuesday “for contributing to the conflict in Ukraine through extensive business dealings with the Russian Ministry of Defense and provision of support to top Russian officials,” reports the Wall Street Journal.

Prigozhin is based out of St. Petersburg and owns a catering company that has worked for Putin and the Kremlin. He previously attempted to launch a chain of fast food restaurants called Blindonalts, according to Open Democracy, but that proved to be an unsuccessful venture. The last outpost reportedly closed in 2011. The chain served “pancakes and mini-pies stuffed with jam, meat, or potatoes,” per Frommer’s.

The U.S. has identified Prigozhin as the financial backer of so-called “troll farms” that produce pro-Russian propaganda. He’s also accused of working with private military organizations that have fought in Ukraine and Syria. The sanctions prohibit him from entering the U.S. and conducting business with any American individuals or organizations.

It remains to be seen if Prigozhin will be penalized for any significant amount of time. U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, who is decidedly pro-Russia, moves into the White House next month. Rex Tillerson, Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State, has Russian ties and may recommend lifting sanctions that were levied against the country over its conflict with Ukraine.

• U.S. Imposes Sanctions on Russian Restaurateur With Ties to Putin [WSJ]
• Yevgeny Prigozhin: Caterer to the Kremlin [OD]
• Rex Tillerson’s Potentially Huge Conflict of Interest Over Russia and Oil, Explained [Vox]

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12/21/2016 03:45 PM
Chicken Bacon Ranch Sliders
Grilled chicken stacked with bacon, ranch, lettuce, tomato and red onion in a buttermilk biscuit equals the best slider you’ll ever have! Recipe comes from The Slider Effect, a cookbook all about sliders! -- posted by Jonathan Melendez
12/21/2016 03:45 PM
Italian Meatball Sliders
Delicious homemade meatballs turned into sliders for that perfect appetizer, snack, or even dinner! Use this recipe for all of your meatball needs! Recipe comes from The Slider Effect, a cookbook all about sliders! -- posted by Jonathan Melendez
12/21/2016 02:48 PM
How To Make Hot Chocolate — Cooking Lessons from The Kitchn

Hot chocolate is a luxury of cold weather — a warm, velvety-smooth mixture of rich cream and dark chocolate that does double duty as a drink and dessert. Unlike its sweeter cousin, hot cocoa, hot chocolate is thick, with a balance of sweetness and bitterness that only dark chocolate can give. This homemade treat only requires a few ingredients and a few minutes on the stovetop to warm up a cold evening.

READ MORE »


12/21/2016 02:48 PM
19 Quick and Delicious Recipes Made with Goodies from the Pantry — Recipes from The Kitchn

All smart cooks know that always having a few basic pantry staples on hand is critical for those times when making it to the market is just not going to happen or a quick supper is needed. Here we have recipes that rely on things every cook should have in her cupboard: cans of beans, tomatoes, coconut milk, and of course, the most famous of all, dried pasta.

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12/21/2016 02:38 PM
Taste Testing Beer Brewed With Artificial Intelligence

AI crowdsources data from drinkers, and generates a recipe for brewers

With a thrilling blend of customer feedback, digital interfaces, algorithms, and nuanced brewing, a British company has concocted four beers using artificial intelligence, and they are now available in the United Kingdom. The company, IntelligentX, created a survey system that uses Facebook Messenger chat bots to gather feedback from consumers on their taste preferences for beer. The data is fed into an algorithm to develop a beer recipe that is passed on to actual humans who brew, bottle, and share the beers.

The whole system is like crowdsourcing a recipe for the perfect beer, and IntelligentX thinks it can master the process. A taste tester from Bloomberg sampled some of the beers and consulted with other testers to see how well the automated brewing intelligence (or ABI) system performed. One chimed in to say the beer tasted like seawater mixed with cranberries. Now, whether that is a good flavor combo is entirely up to the individual. If it’s not, the beer AI will certainly hear about it and potentially make adjustments for the next brew cycle.

• AI Beer: Taste Testing a Robot Brew [Bloomberg]
• IntelligentX [Official Site]
• Can Artificial Intelligence Brew Better Beer? [E]

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12/21/2016 02:38 PM
Why the Food in ‘Final Fantasy XV’ Is So Damn Realistic

In 2006, video game developer Square Enix announced a game called Final Fantasy Versus XIII, intended to be a spinoff of Final Fantasy XIII, the next entry in the long-running, globally successful Final Fantasy role-playing game series. While XIII itself came out in 2009, Versus seemed to be a lost cause. During the 10 years after its announcement, Versus changed directors, development teams, supported consoles, main characters, and eventually its name — becoming Final Fantasy XV when it finally, finally saw release in November of 2016. The gaming world has had to ask: What the hell took so long?

Well, some recipes take a long time to cook.

The world of Final Fantasy XV is rich with food, and it is goddamn gorgeous.

I've put in around 24 hours of playtime into Final Fantasy XV since its release. I can tell you that the story centers on young Prince Noctis and his three best friends/bodyguards road-tripping through a fantastical-yet-modern world in a sick convertible, camping out and having a great time being bros. The point of the game is ostensibly to lead Noctis on his quest to defend his homeland against invading forces and fulfill his destiny of ascending to his magically-powered throne, battling monsters and enemy forces along the way. But I haven't gotten that far; I've been far, far too occupied searching the countryside for ingredients and recipes. The world of Final Fantasy XV is rich with food, and the care taken to perfect it makes the years of development waiting time worth it.

Prince Noctis and his retinue's road trip to save the world is broken up with the pit stops of an actual road trip — a night out cooking over a camp stove, or a stop at a greasy spoon to try the local delicacy. "From early on in the development," says game director Hajime Tabata, "we strived for a game design that follows a cycle where characters have adventures during the daytime, and at night they camp and eat in order to prepare themselves for the following day." Final Fantasy XV is far from the first role-playing game to incorporate feeding your characters as part of their development; older games such as Star Ocean and Tales of Symphonia included game mechanics based around raising character stats by feeding them their favorite recipes. What makes Final Fantasy XV's food different is just how goddamn gorgeous it is.


"Recipes were just one element of the camping scenes, but the catalyst for our obsession was the high quality of the food graphics that the camp team was able to create in the pre-production phase," Tabata says. "In Japan, we have a term called 'meshi-tero' (an abbreviation of the Japanese-English combo phrase 'Meshi (food) Terror' and similar to the English term 'food porn'), but that pretty much summed it up. We have to create truly delicious-looking food scenes similar to those that appear in movies and anime."

One of the Prince's guards, Ignis, also serves as the chef of your party, and he can learn 103 different recipes to cook up for his friends at the camp site. He can be inspired by everything from finding a new kind of mushroom in the woods to taking down a giant frog that has an interesting cut of meat to reading a bit of poem on a sign. Even more dishes can be consumed at restaurants in other countries and cities that the party visits on their voyage. Eat an expensive seafood risotto at a bistro and it will fill Ignis with the inspiration to create a homemade version, with fish you catch yourself and ingredients you forage. Every dish is painstakingly, realistically rendered, and you, the poor player, only get to look, not taste. After eating their favorite camp-side meals, Prince Noctis and his friends get a temporary boosts to their attack power — akin to equipping a stronger sword or using a status-enhancing magical spell. All you're left with is a growling stomach.

The Square Enix food team preps a croque madame outdoors (top), photographing it (bottom left) for the digital artists. Artists then render it into the final dish that appears in the game (bottom right).

According to the game's art director, Tomohiro Hasegawa, creating the in-game dishes sometimes involved working off of food photography, but frequently involved actually cooking the recipes that appear. "It’s actually pretty difficult to make something look tasty in the game," Hasegawa says. "And I believe what beats even the best photography is the personal experience."

Creating a recipe in Final Fantasy XV involved several development team members. According to Hasegawa, the process begins in the art department, where the dish's ingredients and desired appearance are planned out. Another team takes it from there — takes it outside, specifically, to actually cook on a camp stove. "Our team members took out their gear and went camping to cook outdoors," says Hasegawa. "You know how even the simplest foods can taste really delicious when you’re out camping? We wanted to focus on that same feeling while we created them."

Ignis serves up some very fancy-looking meals in the Coleman-branded camp dishware in the game, but it's believable due to this detailed care in their creation. You can buy that the dedicated outdoor chef could make a beautiful croque madame at a campsite — because a team of dedicated outdoor chefs in Japan actually did the real-world work first.

The completed dishes, "served" in the game's camping and diner scenes, were then photographed from various angles. They were then scanned to create 3D data for the digital artists to work with, but artists weren't just left to work off of static images. The digital art team also handled the physical dishes prepared by the food team and their ingredients — how are you really going to perfectly render a zucchini unless you've actually held a slice yourself? Recipes were then tasted by the teams creating the in-game models, and the 3D data tweaked as necessary.

A digital rendering of a dish in progress (left), and as it appears in the game (right).

"I believe sharing feedback amongst the team members is what leads to the high-quality of the final recipe images," Hasegawa says. "This is not just for the recipes — within the Final Fantasy XV game production as a whole we constantly ask ourselves: 'How can we incorporate the team members’ real-life experiences into the game itself?'"

And there really is more to the food of Final Fantasy XV than its good looks. Those real-life experiences pay off in making the game experience a little more real for the player — especially if you're a food-obsessed one like me. If you felt like it, you could go through the game with only the simple recipes that chef Ignis has by default — toast, rice balls, veggie stew, croque madame — even though your party will complain about how they're unfulfilling and boring.

But cooking in the game has the same rewards as in real life: It's social. Preparing meals at camp can lead to different dialogues between the game's characters, letting you learn more about them and their relationships. After enough nights around the campfire, Ignis will teach Prince Noctis how to cook — your only contribution is wiggling the controller joystick back and forth to stir, but while enjoying the camp kitchen conversation between the two of them, learning more about how their friendship works.

The relationships kindled by the game’s shared meals are what keeps me playing. I know my boys’ favorite foods, and I'm not just encouraged to seek the recipes and ingredients for them because I know it'll give them an experience boost as I run around the wilderness killing monsters — I'm also doing it because I know it's going to make them happy. The little thumbs up, smile, or line of pleased dialogue from one of those nice fellas at the start of a game day give me that kick of gaming dopamine that hooks me in until I forget to actually eat food in the real world. I nearly got myself killed multiple times by running into monsters on my way to forage ingredients, and it was worth it every time.

Previous Final Fantasy games have not involved food as a component in either gameplay or plot. The meals in Final Fantasy XV made me realize what an absence that's been — real people eat, and working that into the game world makes it so much more relatable. It's not just the existence of familiar real-world elements like diners and food carts — it's the fact that you find the same greasy fast-food menu in every iteration of a diner across the map. Getting an identical basket of fries at one of the many Crow's Nest Diners you find throughout the game feels like stopping at a Waffle House or a Cracker Barrel on a long car trip. And in a strange stroke of product placement, you can purchase actual Cup Noodles in the game. (I'll only eat them as last resort, though; I've got much better things in my recipe book.)

The history and culture of the game world are deepened through its cuisine, too. Just like in my real life, my primary goal for visiting a new city in Final Fantasy XV is to see what the restaurants have to offer. And this was absolutely the goal. "In the game, food is part of the expression of each city’s culture," says Hasegawa. "However, what was important was not to focus on particular cultures, but to give the impression of traveling long distances by showing how culinary cultures change by region."

Obviously making sure players could fill out a recipe book with beautiful stews and sandwiches isn't entirely what made Final Fantasy XV take so long to finally see release. The game is beautiful and detailed throughout, with a similar amount of careful attention to many other aspects. And just the same, different parts of the game have unresolved issues that were surely the source of production delays. I hear the ending of the game needs some work. It'll probably be awhile before I find out myself, though; I've got peas to forage.

Whitney Reynolds is a writer and podcaster living in Brooklyn, New York.
Editor: Erin DeJesus

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12/21/2016 02:38 PM
Anthony Bourdain: The Post-Election Interview

"We are a violent nation, from the beginning."

Anthony Bourdain had just returned home for the holidays, stepping off a plane that had delivered him from the balmy heat of Muscat and walking directly into one of those wintry New York snaps where the frigid wind fires through Manhattan’s crosstown canyons like rubber bullets. I showed up at the restaurant looking like a walking duvet, scarved and hatted and gloved. Bourdain was in a bomber jacket, hunter green, ready for a mild autumn. He still had Oman on his mind. "It was pretty amazing," he said. "The desert is a pretty once-in-a-lifetime experience."

It was December 19, the day the electoral college voted to install Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of the United States. Bourdain and I had this dinner on the books for a month, ever since I reached out for a quote, a diligent food journalist asking one of our world’s biggest stars if he had any thoughts he wanted to share on the record about Trump’s victory. A month before the election, Bourdain and I had a long conversation on the Eater Upsell podcast. Then, among other things, he’d defended his show, Parts Unknown, from audience accusations that it had become too much about politics. "If the army controls the entire flour supply and the bakeries, that’s already a political thing," he said. Food is politics, is the point. More to the point, media is politics, and that includes food media. "I’m not gonna tell you who to vote for, but I do notice things and I do have opinions," he said on the Upsell. "And if the guy I ate with in Russia who says, ‘No, I’m not worried about Putin killing me’ is shot to death on the front lawn of the Kremlin a few months later, I might mention that."

I’m not telling the whole truth. Yes, I reached out to Bourdain because I’m a journalist and journalists reach out to people for comment, but I also got in touch for my own reasons. Spend any time in contemplation of the astronomical map of food-world celebrities, and it becomes clear that Bourdain is not actually a star — he is a nebula. His fame is almost incomprehensibly vast, his brightness — or sometimes, his darkness — defines the very shape of the expanse, he’s so influential and creatively fecund as to regularly birth stars of his own. His assertiveness is uncommon for someone of his stature, a candor that’s both studied and unaffected, that — even as the topics to which he turns the knife of his attention have broadened in their scope over the years, from brunch eggs and getting high to the crisis of unexploded ordnance in Laos — has barely softened its acerbic swagger.

At the moment Trump was elected President — a man who had built his campaign on anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim demagoguery and vindictively rhetorical sleight of hand — the world flipped into slow motion for the 53.9 percent of voters who cast ballots for anyone other than him. I got in touch with Bourdain because I hoped he’d be able to cut through that feeling of powerlessness. After I asked if he wanted to talk, the reply came quickly: He’d love to, but not until late in December, once he got back from Oman. And so, over a few hours and innumerable Asahis and countless yakitori skewers — including chicken hearts, inevitably metaphorical (and, as Bourdain pointed out, his daughter’s favorite) — we did.

So, did you vote?

Yes. No fan of the Clintons am I, by a long shot. But I’m a New Yorker, Donald Trump is a New Yorker. And the New Yorkers I know, we’ve lived with this guy for 30 years. I’ve seen Donald Trump say things one day, and then I saw what he did the next. I’ve seen up close how he does business. Just like if you lived in a small town, you’d get to know the sheriff, the guy who runs the hardware store, the guy who runs the filling station — Trump comes from that era of guys you followed, guys you knew about every day: Trump, Giuliani, Al Sharpton, Curtis Sliwa. I’d see him at Studio 54, for fuck’s sake. I’m not saying I know the guy personally, not like I’d hug him, but I’m saying that as a New Yorker, we pretty much are neighbors. And my many years of living in his orbit have not left me with a favorable impression, let’s put it that way. There’s so many reasons to find the guy troubling. When Scott Baio’s the only guy you can find to show up at your convention, you’re in trouble.

The big platform that kicked all this off for him, his comments about Mexican immigrants, intersects so directly with your vocal championship of Mexican restaurant labor —

He has a vineyard in, is it Virginia? I think a very interesting project would be to see who’s picking his grapes.

That’s a good question.

Well, I believe I know the answer, which is why I’m asking the question.

Do you think he’s actually going to make moves toward deporting people?

I think it’s going to be hard times. Is he gonna do anything near what he promised? Of course not. But he will be forced to do something, by the people around him. He will have to do something, and it will be extraordinarily ugly.

Does that change the urgency of the work that you do?

I’ve spent a lot of time in Red State America. I’ve spent a lot of time in Trump country. I have a lot of sympathy, and I believe understanding, for cultures and for places where gun culture goes so deep — that first cold morning when Daddy takes a young boy out hunting with him, lets him use a rifle, shows him how to use it — I know how emotional and how deep that goes.

We are a violent nation, from the beginning. I’m not arguing for current gun policy, but I think it’s worth acknowledging that this is a country founded in violence, a country that has always worshipped outlaws, loners, cowboys, and people who got the things they got by the gun. We glorify it, we created an entertainment industry that does little but glorify solving complex problems with simple violence.

But I think to mock constantly, as so much of the left has done — to demonize, to ridicule, to treat with abject contempt people who live in a very different America than they live in — is both ugly and counterproductive. There are a lot of people who are pissed off, they’re tired of being talked to like that. There are a lot of people in this world who, when an Applebee’s moves to their town, it’s a big deal — and I don’t mean that in a dismissive way. Where somebody coming to take your guns away is a big concern. Look, I don’t think racism can ever be forgiven. It’s a conversation-ender for me, for sure. But if you grew up isolated, no interaction or little interaction, the only interaction you’ve had has been negative, and you’re fearful of the Other, and somehow everything you read in the paper makes it seem like they’re getting all the breaks, especially when, in the news environment we live in now, it’s perfectly permissible to lie.

With my shows, I seem to fall into power vacuums. I did at Food Network, I did at Travel Channel, I always feel like I somehow slip through the cracks. I have really no — zero, I don’t feel that I have any — responsibility. I’m following my heart. If I find myself talking about immigration, or multiculturalism — though I hate that word — at this point, it’s because that’s how I feel. It’s personal to me. Maybe at this point it’s because I travel so much.

So if your generous, inclusive perspective on humanity is in part engendered by the depth and breadth of your travels, and if your show winds up being the closest thing that many of us have to that kind of global experience, then doesn’t it follow that your show can serve as a point of entry for us to develop a similar perspective?

Maybe. When I do live tours, I hear that, I see that. But all I know is how my shows make me feel. Making them, experiencing them, going through the process of making them, and then watching them after they’re done. It’s either a successful story or a not-so-successful story. How they make other people feel? I think I’ve said before to you, it’s dangerous ground to start wondering about such things, and particularly now that my outlook is pretty damn bleak.

I mean, you would think, Gee, with all these great travel shows on, there are plenty of opportunities to see how other people live. But you know something else travel has taught me: People rise up and kill their neighbors all the time. People they’ve lived with their whole lives, yesterday they were fine, today they’re the enemy. You’ve seen it in Yugoslavia, you’ve seen it in Borneo. Now you’re seeing it here. So, I don’t know.

I’m a guy who’d like to blow up every safe space, every trigger warning. I would like to unleash every comedian to say "cunt" as many times as they like, or any other word they care to use. But the threshold of acceptable rhetoric right now, the threshold of hate and animus that’s being shown at this point — this really naked hatred of every flavor, racists, sexists, pure misogyny, class hatred, hatred of the educated — this is something I’ve never seen before. And it’s now acceptable! It’s more acceptable in public at political rallies than it is at universities, which is where people should be saying offensive shit.

So what will get us past this?

Changing demographics. Other than that, it’s Bond villain shit. I’m pessimistic to the extreme. I really think people have no idea how bad it already is, and how bad it’s going to get. I read a lot of history. We’ve heard all of this before. I think it’s that bad. It can easily go that way.

Do you expect anything will change with how you approach the show?

Already I’ve been accused, apparently indirectly, by the Erdogan government, who are saying chefs are actually working [as agents of foreign intelligence].

How does that make you feel?

I’m heartbroken. I enjoy visiting Turkey. It’s a place I have a lot of friends. Now I have to think about what happens to friends who I visit in Turkey, would that compromise their position? I wouldn’t go to Turkey if anyone I’d talk to would lose it or would be potentially under suspicion. They just purged tens of thousands of teachers and government employees on much less grounds. So, you know, that’s not helpful.

Russia clearly is going to be a problem for me. The last time I was there, they killed my lunch partner, you know? And I’m a little pissed about that. And I’ve expressed that publicly, which is increasingly not such a wise thing to do.

Will you be complaining in public less?

No. I don’t give a fuck. What have I got to lose? I won’t be on TV anymore?

But if you can’t go to Turkey, you can’t go to Russia —

Well I can, but I choose — no. No, actually, I don’t know if I can go to Turkey at this point, given who said it, and what they said. Russia, I personally would feel uncomfortable there at this point. I have high hopes of seeing Turkey again, and I hope very much I will. I would love to see St. Petersburg again. But I’ve been a number of times. I’m old. There are still places to go.

As this far-right political wave is engulfing the world, do you think this list, the lineup of places where the cost of you visiting is too high, is going to grow?

Probably. Which makes it hard. I’ve been trying to get into Afghanistan for years. Kashmir has been difficult, I want very badly to go there. Yemen — that was high up on my list before everything went to hell there. But there are bigger problems. Venezuela, it’s a huge problem to get insured to go to Venezuela. I’ve been there a number of times, but with a TV show? It’s problematic.

As the number of conflict zones increase, as I’m guessing they likely will, I’m wary of looking to Uncle Sam for an understanding face at the embassy — especially given who’s up for ambassadorships now. I can call for help from whoever, but it’s nice to have someone who actually gives a shit. The last eight years have been very very good. [Ambassadors] have been smart people, for the most part. People who’ve lived in countries for a long time, even before they took the ambassadorships.

Have you thought about turning the camera inward on America even more, especially covering the people the media are now saying were under-covered — the white, red state, Trump’s-America, "real America" people?

I always do those shows. I like doing those shows very much. And I would try to do that in a loving way. I like Mississippi, I like Arkansas, Missouri, Montana.

What do you think of that phrase, "real America"?

"Real" — I hear that a lot, on my show. Any time I shoot in any city, someone’s going to say "How can you come to Mexico City and show only this and this and this, you didn’t show the real Mexico City." It can mean a lot of things. "How come you didn’t show the real Baltimore" can mean "How come you didn’t show white Baltimore?" Or it could mean "How come you didn’t show my side of the city, the part of the city that I know and I’m proud of and I wanted the world to see? And instead you came and you made a show about my town and it was a total disappointment to me, you concentrated on a tiny pocket, a corner that interested you for some reason." It doesn’t really mean anything, except to the people who say it, and whether they realize what it means or not, it’s a genuine expression of emotion. I mean, what is the real New York?

When you’re putting your shows together, if it’s not some semblance of "real," what are you looking for?

Beautiful cinematography, that’s really important. I want it to look beautiful. I want it to sound beautiful. And I’d like there to be a good story. And I want to feel a measure of happiness and satisfaction as I’m making the show, if possible.

What happens if the truth isn’t that beautiful?

Well, then we’ll show that. I’m really proud of the Madagascar show [which featured film director Darren Aronofsky as a traveling companion], because we showed the Aronofsky version at the end. We had this rather beautiful show made, with a nice, potentially heartwarming kind of conclusion, and instead I decided we should let Darren look back and see what we’d already visited, and exactly how ugly it was — and how unreliable the entire television process is. The camera’s a liar. It only tells the story we want you to see.

Isn’t that exactly what people are mad at news media about? I’m also very cynical about this sort of stuff, but it seems clear to me that there’s no such thing as unbiased media, because there’s no such thing as unbiased experience.

Look, I think Walter Cronkite, Edward Murrow — those guys tried. The news was pretty dry, back then. They were all products of the same schools and the same environments. Chances are they shared many of the same experiences, too. These guys went through wars. But their backgrounds were similar. And in the eyes of many, that made them unreliable, and that’s not an unreasonable impulse. Our best and brightest and most liberal gave us Vietnam, after that.

Even though you don’t want to have responsibility, or even the illusion thereof, there’s still a responsibility that your audience imposes on you, whether or not you choose to accept it. Do you think those expectations are changing?

I hope not. I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing. It’s about the story, whether you like it or not.

What happens if people stop liking the story?

That’s already the case. A lot of people are like, "I’m never watching your show again, now that you’ve moved to the Clinton News Network." As if they’ll fall asleep for a few seconds at the end of my show, and wake up and catch a few minutes of Wolf Blitzer, and it causes some homosexual urges and a desire to join Al Qaeda.

I don’t have an agenda, but I do have a point of view, and it might change from minute to minute. I like going to places thinking one thing, and being proven wrong. A journalist has to have an agenda — who-what-why-where — and I don’t want to ask those questions. That’s a prison to me. I’m not here to ask you specific questions, I’m here to ask general questions. What’s your life like? Tell me a story.

But if I can convince people to look around, and see who’s actually doing a lot of the work in this country — picking vegetables, it’s all immigrant labor — and then ask themselves, truly, whether they under any circumstances would take that job? You know, to look in the eyes of the cook who makes their eggs-over every day, and ask themselves whether they’d want to stand outside their house and be dragged away from their kids? If I can convince a few people to go to a country like Oman, which has a completely non-sectarian version of Islam, which is incredibly tolerant and super cool, or to Senegal, where they’re Sufi, they’re just as devout as anyone in the Islamic world but people who just came from Dubuque, they’d be comfortable there, they’d find beauty in it, they’d hear the call to prayer and think "Okay, there might be something here other than what I thought"? That would please me. But it’s not my mission.

No?

No. I’m a fool, I will die a fool. Relatively proudly, I hope. I’m trying not to do shit I’m ashamed of.

So if not you, who’s gonna do it?

I don’t see the platform. How? No one watches one news station. They pick their own now, where everything is rosy and wonderful — or evil and conspiratorial, depending on how you feel. Twitter is proving not helpful, Facebook has been, you know. The troll army has been really interesting. They come up pretty dependably any time the Russia show airs. For a while, any seriously anti-Trump shit I posted, I would get a group of them, a fairly organized troll army, and not just eggs. That’s a new wrinkle. And that ain’t gonna go away. This is now a new, effective way to communicate.

So there’s no way out?

Not at all. I honestly don’t think so. I’m sticking it out, I’m not gonna run away to Canada. I’m gonna pay my fuckin’ taxes, I’m gonna vote, I’m gonna do all of that. But I’m not going to be taking it to the streets any time soon — well, we’ll see. I think we’re going to be feeling the effects of this for a long time. I’m just not optimistic. I worry about my daughter, of course

Your daughter is nine, which means she’s coming of age probably right when the shit hits its peak.

She’s an Italian citizen. She has an exit strategy. She speaks Italian. She has an out, if she chooses.

But not everybody has an out.

Nope. I don’t. It’s too late for me. I’m not going anywhere. Maybe for a while, here and there. But I just don’t see a lot of light. If I were a hardcore revolutionary, I would be applauding this — I’d be like, "Oh, the pendulum will swing so far over, and it’ll bring the temple down, and then disaster, and then we’ll have our revolution!" But I don’t believe that, and I’m contemptuous of people who feel that way.

I think it was Lenin who said one of my favorite lines: "On the train of the revolution, we will lose the liberals at the first turn." It’s always worth remembering: In any revolution, whose heads are gonna be on the pike first? Us. And shortly after that, the originators and founders of the revolution. Asia Argento said it in the Rome episode: We create idols so we can destroy them.

So what do you make of Alessandro Borgognone bringing Sushi Nakazawa into the Trump DC hotel?

I will never eat in his restaurant. I have utter contempt for him, utter and complete contempt. Just like David Burke — I mean, I never had the highest opinion of him in the first place, but I guess he’s the last person in this life I should look to for principles. Burke went in and took over [the space Jose Andres had originally occupied], and promptly tried to poach his staff, I hear. This was after Jose reached out and said "Everyone welcome him to Washington, don’t hold it against him, just because I decided to pull out." So Burke’s a steaming loaf of shit, as far as I’m concerned, and feel free to quote me.

It’s not helpful, that sort of thing [opening in a contentious hotel]. I’m not asking you to start putting up barricades now, but when they come and ask you, "Are you with us?" You do have an option. You can say "No thanks, guys. I don’t look good in a brown shirt. Makes me look a little, I don’t know, not great. It’s not slimming."

So what do you think was going through their heads when they were like, "I’m gonna throw in with the bad guys"?

"I’m gonna get in good with the President and make me some money!" What did Kanye West go to Trump Tower for? Why did Al Gore go? Why did Mitt Romney go?

What would you do if he invited you?

I’m not going. I’m not going.

And I would never go to the White House Correspondents’ dinner — though I doubt there will be another. Thank god, that’s an institution I’d like to see die for years. If there’s one good thing to come out of the Trump administration, let it be that there will be no more White House Correspondents’ dinners. It reinforces all the world’s worst notions about the hideous, inside-the-beltway, all-in-it-together culture. It brings honor to no one to have Kim Kardashian or Tara Reid sitting there next to a news anchor. What is this all about? Fuck that. If I’m gonna make fun of you today, I’m not accepting your food tomorrow. I had dinner with President Obama, but I paid. We were offered Air Force One, and I said, "There’s no way. No way."

That sounds a lot like journalism.

Yeah! It’s like, "Be my friend, be my special friend." No, we’re not going to be your special friend. Personally, I have a very low opinion of people who behave this way.

And Trump — the man eats his steak well done! I don’t think he’s a good person. I remember the Central Park Five, and what he said. I’ve seen how he’s treated employees. I saw what he did to Atlantic City. I saw what he did to the west side of this town. It’s fuckin’ ugly. He’s going to make the whole world look like the back of Rick James’ van.

Do you think we just have to sit back and wait for him to do all that, before the people who support him right now will realize it’s terrible?

Yes! Look, I came out of the ‘60s, and I remember very well all the demonstrations and the civil unrest against the Vietnam war. The left likes to remember it one way. I remember that the result is that you get Nixon — twice! By landslides! And we got him even after Watergate. That was the mood of the "real America" that you talk about. I don’t know that streets filled with demonstrators and opposition is a real argument.

Hunter Thompson said, America looks soft but under the flab it’s all fucking titanium steel underbelly, and it’ll come rolling right over you, any time it wants. And look, there are people in this world who have deliberately inspired exactly that kind of opposition, just to give them a reason to roll over it. So I’m not saying we should sit back docilely and silently while Trump dismantles our..