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The Bizarre Truth: How I Walked out the Door Mouth First . . . And Came Back Shaking My Headby Andrew Zimmern
Synopses & Reviews
Andrew Zimmern, the host of The Travel Channel’s hit series Bizarre Foods, has an extraordinarily well-earned reputation for traveling far and wide to seek out and sample anything and everything that’s consumed as food globally, from cow vein stew in Bolivia and giant flying ants in Uganda to raw camel kidneys in Ethiopia, putrefied shark in blood pudding in Iceland and Wolfgang Puck's Hunan style rooster balls in Los Angeles. For Zimmern, local cuisine — bizarre, gross or downright stomach turning as it may be to us — is not simply what’s served at mealtime. It is a primary avenue to discovering what is most authentic — the bizarre truth — about cultures everywhere. Having eaten his way around the world over the course of four seasons of Bizarre Foods, Zimmern has now launched Bizarre Worlds, a new series on the Travel Channel, and this, his first book, a chronicle of his journeys as he not only tastes the “taboo treats” of the world, but delves deep into the cultures and lifestyles of far-flung locales and seeks the most prized of the modern traveler’s goals: The Authentic Experience. Written in the smart, often hilarious voice he uses to narrate his TV shows, Zimmern uses his adventures in “culinary anthropology” to illustrate such themes as: why visiting local markets can reveal more about destinations than museums; the importance of going to “the last stop on the subway” — the most remote area of a place where its essence is most often revealed; the need to seek out and catalog “the last bottle of coca-cola in the desert,” i.e. disappearing foods and cultures; the profound differences between dining and eating; and the pleasures of snout to tail, local, fresh and organic food. Zimmern takes readers into the back of a souk in Morocco where locals are eating a whole roasted lamb; along with a conch fisherman in Tobago, who may be the last of his kind; to Mississippi, where he dines on raccoon and possum. There, he writes, "People said, 'That's roadkill!' ‘No it's not,’ I said. ‘It's a cultural story.’”
Whether it’s a session with an Incan witch doctor in Ecuador who blows fire on him, spits on him, thrashes him with poisonous branches and beats him with a live guinea pig or drinking blood in Uganda and cow urine tonic in India or eating roasted bats on an uninhabited island in Samoa, Zimmern cheerfully celebrates the undiscovered destinations and weird wonders still remaining in our increasingly globalized world.
A host of Bizarre Foods and Bizarre Worlds presents a whimsical exploration of some of the world's most unusual and taboo foods, explaining what cultural markets reveal about their locales while describing such meals as possum and roasted bats.
About the Author
\Andrew Zimmern is a food writer, dining critic, chef, and co-creator, host, and co-producer of Travel Channel series Bizarre Foods and Bizarre Worlds with Andrew Zimmern. Zimmern is the founder and editor in chief of www.andrewzimmern.com, writes monthly for Delta Sky Magazine and Minneapolis-St Paul Magazine and lives in Minneapolis with his wife and son.
Table of Contents
LAST STOPS ON THE SUBWAY [GOING TO EXTREMES]. Modern day Vikings: puffin hunting in the land of fire and ice — The most dangerous game: how I almosto lost my life tracking down Samoa's elusive giant fruit bat — Journey to the source: why the shortest distance from sea to plate makes for amazing meals — Muddy waters: Ugandan lung-fishing can be messy — THE LAST BOTTLE OF COKE IN THE DESERT [DYING BREEDS]. The last bottle of coke in the desert: a day in the life of Tobago Cox — Saving Huatulto: free diving for octopus — Death match 2009: Can a matador save Madrid's historic tabernas? — Forgotten foods: juicy cheese worms are making a comeback! — RANKED AND FILED [A FEW GOOD MEALS]. Paris: best food day in my life? — Welcome to a Wazawan: the meal that nearly killed me — Mary's corner: the quest for the best laksa in Singapore — Simple foods: noodle houses of Guangzhou — Eating my words: when the most obvious choice is the best — Fish heaven: finding perfection n a Ginza basement — Lamb alley: dining nose to tail in the Djemaa El Fna — INGREDIENTS AND RITUALS. Nature's candy: The Achachairu — Pleasant surprises: a gallimaufry — Sweat, tears, and blood: rituals around the world — Ritual royalty: the Kalahari trance dance of the bushmen — SMALL WORLD, BIG ISSUE. Viva Cuba!
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