Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Bizarre Foods: I Want This Job

Lately I've been tuning in to The Travel Channel's food shows. Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations is one of my favorites, second only to Andrew Zimmern's Bizarre Foods.

Zimmern travels the world, tasting delicacies that we'd be kind of grossed out over. In the episode above, the waiter slew that cobra, fed Zimmern the still-beating heart, then proceeded to slice & dice the rest and whip up all kinds of dishes that Grandma used to make.

I think Zimmern needs a sidekick! A cohort. A female straight-man. Oh, pick me, pick me! I want to be Kathy Lee to his Regis! Gracie to his George! Ed McMahon to his...oh, you know what I mean! If the crew of Bizarre Foods ever rolls through town, I will camp out on the sidewalk to audition (working beforehand, of course, to overcome my fear of television cameras).

I want to travel the world and eat grasshopper (chupalines) tostadas, and smile approvingly, and say "Mmm, nutty! These are quite good, actually." And I want to go into people's kitchens, and learn how to properly fry grubs, after I knock down banana leaves with my machete to find them. I'd eat whole crunchy little birds, and guinea pigs, and armadillos cooked right in the armadillo shell—they cut it out of the shell, and then put it back in, just like a little armadillo crockpot!

Come 'n get it!

I swear, I'll even be a trooper when fermented-in-a-hot-van-for-four-days beef and egg dishes are passed. I'd take Zimmern's cue, and say, pleasantly, "I have to agree with you, Andrew, this is the stinkiest thing I've ever eaten, and it tastes just like it smells."

Seriously, can it be any worse than tripe? (Yes, I have eaten tripe. It taste like a pig farm smells.)

MMMmm. Stomach chambers.

I'll practice on beets, the one food that triggers my gag reflex. If I can get to a point in which I can smile through a slice of pickled beet, I'm a shoe-in for this job...this job that I just made up.

Gulp. Blurp.

While I busy myself writing the network suggesting they hire me, tell me this:

1. How adventurous is your sense of taste?

2. What's the most bizarre thing you've ever eaten?

3. What could I rope you into tasting? C'mon, there's gotta be ONE thing you'd give in on. Broaden your horizons! Life's too short!

And don't you go applying for my job. I'm not choking down all these beets for nuthin'!


  1. stfarmer1:12 AM

    No effing way! (shudder)

  2. Linda has eaten mountain rat in Laos and I've crunched into a Witchetty grub.

    Yum, yum!

  3. I won't be applying for that job.

  4. You need to read this then.

  5. Ever try Kimchi?

    To get past the refernce's fancy words, its fermented cabbage. Placed in jars and buried. The reference's remark in the last line is hilarious. But the "age" being referred to is yours, not the kimchi's. You know, as your sense of taste & smell begin to fail.

    You can have that job, thanks.

    Oh, a cow's eyeball. Once.

  6. Miz Liz10:08 AM

    I'm pretty adventurous I guess, although the strangest thing I've eaten so far are grasshoppers at a sushi place I used to frequent in the W. Village in NYC. That and Guinea Fowl in Ghana, which were way too gamey for me but both seem tame to some of the stuff the bizarro food guy eats. I would be hardpressed to eat some of the stuff Bourdain has tried, in particular, the fermented shark meat in Iceland. That just turns my tummy over and over! And if you've not seen that episode, check it out on Netflix!

  7. StF: Okay. Baby steps, then. You get a california roll at the sushi place: no raw fish.

    Dogbait: Grub cooked or raw, or still writhing?

    Joe: Alright. I assign to you: an avocado.

    Sbellie: I have to eat AND talk?! Ok, I'll fill out my application.

    Paradise: I do like kimchi, but only in those small, bite-sized comes back on ya, if you know what I mean. Check this out:

  8. MizLiz: Fermented stuff is hard to overcome. No crickets for me, yet, dang the dang. I'm jealous!

  9. I'll eat darn near anything once, and often more than once. And for the record, Bourdain is my dream man. I watch him with a spit rag to catch the drool. Love Zimmerman too.

  10. Mal: I love Bourdain too. No "pomp" about him; he seems to fit in whereever he goes. If I get this job, I'll see if I can fix you two up. (Don't tell your new boy I said that, I don't want him mad at me.)

  11. 1. Not that much I think, though I'm much better than I used to be.

    2. Snails - which are quite good actually. Frog legs. My bizarreness tends towards french cooking it seems.

    3. Bugs. I do intend to go to the yearly bug tasting at the Insectarium one of these years.

  12. can take the job...I am a very very picky eater....but I do love that show!

  13. Anonymous2:03 PM

    I haven't got cable but picked up No Reservations at the library. In Iceland they apparently love rotten shark flesh. ?!?
    The weirdest thing I ever ate is (I have no idea) something a friend gave me at a Chinese New Years party awhile back. Some white vegetable, I think.
    Hands down, best description ever...(in her words)
    "It's this innocous vegetable that turns to clothing in your mouth."
    PS. What puzzles me is who is the 1st person to try this stuff...?
    (Smells horrible, I think I'll eat it..?!?)

  14. Wow you are way more adventurous than me! I've had tons of sushi (but I always order the tame stuff), gator, eel, frogs legs, buffalo, elk, bear, lots of wild game - but I won't do bugs. No way, not even if they are covered in chocolate.

  15. Marinemom7:23 PM

    I'm with Fightn Mad Mary, I thought I was adventurous when it comes to food, but not like that. I've eaten veal brains, octopus & snails, does that count? And I've had tripe too. I love exotic foods but not insects. Thanks, this made me laugh. Hope you get the job.

  16. Anonymous8:06 PM

    I tried Oreo's and Cream cheese once... That's enough for me!

  17. Not really adventurous. As a kid my father was always hunting so we experienced turtle, squirrel, rabbit, frog legs, rocky mountain oysters (ain't seafood), and blood pudding (ain't pudding).

    As an adult, I have eaten alligator and ostrich.

    No bugs, ever.

    I don't like seafood cooked so I'm pretty sure I wouldn't like it raw. I am allerfic to shellfish so no room for experimenting there.

  18. I'm both fascinated and horrified by that show. I couldn't eat scorpions on a stick. Weirdest thing I ever ate, polar bear. This was pre-PETA so I get a buy. Weirdest thing I'd eat, no idea until I see it. I had reindeer on a recent vacation and it's actually quite good.

    You should come to San Francisco. The Big Four restaurant has a game dinner once a year. We went and they fed us kangaroo. It's an utterly indescribable taste.

    Happy to write Food Network on your behalf. Better yet, let's make it a reality show ala "The Next Food Network Star"!

  19. Mmmmm...I love pickled beets! :)

    Let's see, the most exotic thing I've eaten was probably Worm Pancakes, way back in elementary school science class.

    A very nice scientist came to the school and talked about protein and cultural food differences and let us sample a fried locust.

    But what really sticks in my memory are the pancakes because we children helped make them. vividly remember rolling the guts out of the worms (ewwww!) and chopping them up, and seeing how they turned kind of white when you cooked them into the pancakes.

    Yep, I'm sure I'd be fine in a survival situation.

    But generally I'd avoid that sort of food I have to say. :)

  20. I'm not all that adventurous an eater, mainly because I don't go seeking adventure. I've eaten elk, and tripe, and once a raw quail egg on a sushi platter. Oh yeah, I once ate a cigarette butt because I swigged it from a beer bottle I had mistaken for my own and was too embarrassed to spit out... I like to think I could eat any living animal thing if it were cooked, and I can't think of any vegetable/fruit thing I'd be too timid to try, regardless of preparation. I love beets!

  21. I can't do anything that still has its face. I mean...I *could*, if I was starving or I was in some exotic locale where to not eat it would be more insulting than I will be. But here? In the States? By choice? Nope. No faces. And no talons/toenails/beaky-parts. *shudder*

  22. Lay off the crack, lady! Eating roadkill? Are you out of your mind? I ain't eating no crazy shit. Unless you can turn it into a cheese of some sort, and then I'd have it soon as look at it. x

  23. Jazz: I did have snails (aka escargot) once, and found them...snaily: slimy and sandy. Not my av.

    MaryPoppins: See, watching the show is a start. I have friends that can't sit through it. And girl, I just can't see you not tasting octopus, if I pressured you...and took you to The Greatest Greek Restaurant in Chicago. So, that's YOUR assingment. Get up here. (You can spit it out if you want...but you won't.)

    Zia: Fermented vegetables are hard to face; fermented meat, I admit, would be toughest to overcome. Which, after all, is the proper wine to serve with fermented shark? Red or white? And find out what the clothing veggie is; I must try!

    FMM: The only wild game I've eaten is moose, which my grandmother served to us once. I was about 9, and could barely choke it down on smell alone.

    Military Mom: Brains are difficult to overcome, so kudos for you! I've never eaten them, myself.

    Jay: Oreos and Cream cheese. Interesting. Time to move forward baby. Meet me at Kamakura.

    Mk99: Mountain Oysters aren't seafood?!! What?!! Ok. Fine. I'll admit that the only balls I've ever tasted are cheese balls and shrimp balls and rum balls.

    SpiderGirl: So, worm pancakes with Kimber and Tai, if I come up?

    ShySmiley: Cigarette butts. You win, and I laughed and laughed (and gagged and gagged). And girlie, I don't see you turning down an adventure. Not if I'm there, by God. YOU turned me on to sushi.

    BPobs: So you're out, when we go to Chinatown and order chicken feet?

    Sveny: You KILL me. And you ARE eating some crazy shit. You're going to Australia, and you WILL eat Witchetty grub. If Dogbait can do it, by God, you can too! (see Dogbait comment above)

  24. What happened with Noah's party???????

    Dying here....

  25. Hmm. I've eaten turtle and snails; that's about as crazy as I've gotten. I do plan to try tripe sometime. My mother used to make it, and I wouldn't go near it, but she loved it.

    You'll get that job over my dead body, by the way.

  26. 1. I've been all over the planet and sampled just about everything out there from sea urchins to grubs. Sea Turtle is a personal favorite.

    2. You just had to know her, but I've definitely got to go with "April Guthrie."

    3. See #2. Not gonna do that again.

  27. Jennie Tonic10:06 PM

    Well, I'm grossed out at the thought of people slaughtering animals for kicks on TV.

  28. Jennie: LOL. In Zimmern's defense, I don't think it's for kicks. The cobra dinner was a restaurant called "Cobra's are Us," or some such; most of the foods he eats are offered in dining establishments. I admit it's "sensationalized" in the sense that it shocks us, but most seem to be legitimate stories about everyday foods in some countries. That's the part that fascinates me. Many of these "foods" I can order up for my own kitchen.

    And hey! Miss ya, I'm a schmuck for not keeping in touch.


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