Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Off Bizzare Foods with No Reservations

It must not be easy to travel around the world eating all manner of "exotic" fare. From warthog rectum in Namibia, to fermented shark in Iceland, or chicken uterus in Taiwan and stuffed cows pancreas in Morocco. Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern are two celebrity chefs who traverse the globe looking for such fare. Bourdain hosts Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations and Zimmern: Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, both shows are on the Travel network.

It is quite amazing how the two manage to put a positive on even the most weird culinary concoctions, may it be frozen sheep testicles or stomped fermented potatoes. They never seem disappointed, or "grossed out", they use terms like "savory", "light on the palate" etc. Terms that are undoubtedly supposed to ease the viewers gagging reflex, but they hardly do. Zimmern seems to be the most positive of the two, so willing to prove his open mindedness, that at times his cloying praise of bizarre foods get so annoying that one wishes he'd chock on that goeduck, Bourdain is a cantankerous, cigarette huffing, hard knock drunk, who will on occasion give you his real opinion (like calling the warthog rectum and fermented shark his worst meals ever).

Bourdain's somewhat dark and brooding persona makes his show more entertaining, as is his constant cursing and jabs at other celebrity chefs. But both show do serve to widen the viewers culinary and cultural perspective.


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