By: Chrysa Smith
If you’re a foodie, a traveler or a fan of the bizarre, you might know Andrew Zimmerman. A favorite on The Travel Channel, the man circles the world, meeting with locals and tasting the delicacies. Sounds like a dream in some ways—new people, new food, new locations. But his show: Bizarre Foods has that name for a reason. I’d dare say that he’s one of the bravest guys I’ve seen. He puts items in his mouth that would make most people squeal. Items like roaches or crickets or snake or eels. In short, if it’s alive and moves, he just might eat it.
I’m fascinated with the show, even though I don’t have a huge tolerance for gore. In fact, creepy crawlers give me the heebie-geebies. But I love finding out what people round the world eat and maybe expanding my view that there is more to meat-eating than the civilized butchered varieties found at the local grocery market.
As it says on his website, ‘Whether it’s baked muskrat in Baltimore, deep fried piglet testicles on a hog farm in Iowa, or fermented fish eggs with Native Americans on an island in Alaska’, Zimmerman is a food adventurer. And it got me to thinking about expanding my horizons just a bit.
I don’t plan on anything as exotic as sheep testicles or alligator tail, but when I look at menus, if the food is unfamiliar, I just automatically avoid it. Avoid it like the plague. And for some, I don’t really know why. Like a kid, much of it I’ve never tried. So, as mother once said, ‘How do you know you won’t like it until you try it?’ After all, I had that experience just over a year ago, when I swore I didn’t like yogurt. I found it to be bitter, unsavory. But when somebody brought lunch for me one day, the dessert was a yogurt parfait. Not to offend my eating partner, I slowly put in my spoon, took a bite, and discovered that with the granola crunch, I actually kinda liked it. In fact, I eat it every morning for breakfast—much healthier and more filling than the bagel or muffin I once had in the morning. The lesson? While I might not like everything, I need to try more things. And especially more healthy things. Because I find that a big part of good taste has to do with good preparation and fresh, flavor-packed food. That’s how I got to like Blue Cheese and Goat Cheese and Herring.
So I challenge you too. The next time you’re at a restaurant that prepares fine food, look closely at those items you’d normally avoid. If they’re prepared in a way you might find tasty, give it a try. Split it with your eating partners. Be adventurous. Like all things in life, without exotic vacations or being as adventurous as Andrew Zimmerman, it’ll shake things up—and may even make things that once seemed bizarre, a new favorite.
For more on the show, check it out at: http://www.travelchannel.com/tv-shows/bizarre-foods.
Are you a fan of exotic/bizarre foods? What’s the most unusual thing that’s ever graced your lips? Has an adventurous eating moment changed your mind or menu?