I am a foodie. I love to cook, try new restaurants, and sift through old recipes in my eclectic cookbook collection. I also enjoy watching the occasional food show. No, this does not include that weird Catherine Zeta Jones remake, No Reservations. Aside from the fact that I saw the German film that it was based on and it was exponentially better; the title alone triggers my gag reflex. However, I find most food shows very interesting. I enjoy watching Rick Bayless, then trying his recipes at home (f.y.i., his queso fundido is the absolute bomb). Hell’s Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares always seem to suck me in. But, I think I most enjoy the food-travel shows. Not only am I able to see cool new locations, but it is amazing to see the different dishes common in certain areas. Food can be a gateway to learn about other cultures—or our own. And so, over the past few days I have watched a season of Bizarre Foods.
Netflix told me I might like Bizarre Foods based on my interest in Man Vs. Food. Hey, when Netflix speaks, I listen. Sadly, I have grown into a perfect consumer (sigh). But I digress, as I often do. In Bizarre Foods, we follow chef/writer/iron stomach Andrew Zimmern as he travels the world in search of, well, bizarre foods. This season of the show takes the host to Thailand, Sicily, Goa, Los Angeles, Ethiopia, and Japan (to name just a few of the destinations). He eats a wide array of foods from various organs to insects, and from fish eyes to cashews (cashews? Who eats those?).
I found this show strangely intriguing. While far from perfect, it is interesting to see the variety of dishes from across the globe. After I watched the first episode, I thought I wouldn’t watch any more of the show. However, I was still thinking that as I was watching episodes 2, 3, 4, and 5 (and so on).
I don’t recommend this show for anyone who is remotely queasy. Some of it is a little hard to watch. While not explicitly graphic or gory, it did make me strongly consider turning to vegetarianism for a while. However, then I would probably feel sorry for that poor cashew.
Zimmern tries to connect with the people he meets through food. As he says, “When we share food together, we get to celebrate what we all love instead of our differences.” I find him to be a fairly charismatic host—he is certainly not as sour as Anthony Bourdain and not as perky as Rachel Ray, so maybe we could label him in the category of “happy medium.”
Overall, I think this show caters to a specific, not wide, audience. For what it is, the show is adequate. But, while interesting, I am not sure I will try to catch up on all of the seasons I haven’t seen. I just feel bad for those cashews.
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