Andrew Zimmern became a household name by eating the types of foods that would make most people run for the hills: iguana eggs, cow urine, squirrel brains, and the like. As a result, the Bizarre Foods host has become remarkably adept at listening to questions from strangers who are aghast at what he puts in his mouth, then schooling them like food safety champion Upton Sinclair.
Food & Wine has an excerpt from his new book, Andrew Zimmern’s Field Guide to Exceptionally Weird, Wild, and Wonderful Foods (due October 30), in which he sketches a number of frequent situations he encounters wherein a fan makes a litany of comments masked as questions (“That stuff in Africa was so gross, what was that?”).
His responses are generous rather than snippy, but they are firm in their intent: To chip away at the biases that cause fans to normalize hot dogs and hamburgers over porcupine and rice field rats. Of those weiners, he says, “The hot dog you hold in your hand is all fat, lips, and buttholes.” Now who’s gross?
Of course, Zimmern did build his brand by playing into popular American perceptions of “weird food,” so it behooves him to not get aggravated with the masses who tune in to be grossed out. In recent seasons, though, he’s begun to turn the lens back on his viewers, looking at American food and perhaps helping people realize that world food traditions are supposed to be a lens into culture, not a gastronomic freak show.
[via Food & Wine]