Thursday, October 27, 2011

Trip Update!

A quick travel update: my plane ticket is purchased!  I officially fly out on January 11 and return on April 11.  Special thanks to Compass Travel for their help in getting me a great price.

Glad to have the details of the trip materializing!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

"Bizarre" Foods

Interesting interview with Andrew Zimmern on The AV Club today. For the uninitiated, Andrew Zimmern is the creator and host of "Bizarre Foods" on the Travel Channel. One of the more common questions I get when people hear about my street food project is, "hey, do you watch Anthony Bourdain or Andrew Zimmern? Unfortunately, I have to say, "not often; I don't have cable...but I like what they do."

The show is great, and it really reinforces the kind of adventurous eating I like to practice and promote. Of course, it brings up the question of what "bizarre" really means when it comes to food. For example, here's a picture of Andrew Zimmern about to eat a geoduck:

Sometimes a geoduck is just a geoduck...

And here's a picture of some classic American Midwestern fare...the tuna noodle casserole:

Fresh from the local casserole farm.
Credit: BrokenSphere

Who's to say that the geoduck is any more bizarre than the casserole? Both are ostensibly seafood. Both presumably taste good to some people (though both would have their share of naysayers). Both provide enough nutrition to go about your day. So where's the line between "comfort food" and "bizarre food"? Naturally the answer is found in human nature...we're creatures of habit. One man's favorite dinner is another man's stomach-churning nightmare, for no other reason than the world in which each was brought up. 

That's why I like to eat "bizarre" foods. If somebody out there eats something strange, then maybe if I give it a try I'll learn a bit about that person. It's a (often delicious) way to gain some insight into the fact that not everybody grew up in the same world that you did. Neither world is superior...just different. Our differences make the world dappled and interesting. This is what food diplomacy is all about. So from one gustatory diplomat to another, thank you, Andrew Zimmern, for your efforts to bridge the gaps between our worlds, one bite at a time.