Originally Posted Online: Feb. 01, 2013, 9:58 am
Last Updated: Feb. 01, 2013, 11:44 am
Expanding Your Taste Buds: Author talks about his new book on 'exceptionally weird, wild and wonderful foods'
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Chef Andrew Zimmern's book, 'Andrew Zimmernís Field Guide to Exceptionally Weird, Wild and Wonderful Foods.'
Chef Andrew Zimmern encourages food lovers to expand their taste buds as host of the Travel Channel shows "Bizarre Foods" with Andrew Zimmern and "Bizarre Foods America." Now, he's encouraging kids to do the same in his new book, "Andrew Zimmern's Field Guide to Exceptionally Weird, Wild and Wonderful Foods." Recently, we spoke to Zimmern about how kids can venture beyond chicken fingers to try new foods.
Time for Kids: What was your motivation to write the book?
Andrew Zimmern: My biggest purpose in life is to try and get people to stop thinking of food in terms like weird or not weird, gross or not gross, what we eat or what other people eat, but to get everyone to a place where all things edible can be enjoyed. I am trying to get to a place where people are excited about having that conversation, and they are talking about the differences in foods and learning about a broad, inclusive and roomy kitchen.
TFK: Can you give three adjectives that describe your book?
Zimmern: Funny, naughty and curious.
TFK: What prompted your interest in bizarre food?
Zimmern: People put words like bizarre or interesting in front, but I don't really think of it like that. (We think eating) fruit bats from Samoa is bizarre, but it's not for people in Samoa. My point is what's weird to some people is wonderful to other people. What prompted my interest in food is that it is a universal way to communicate.
TFK: When I first tried the European delicacy foie gras, I didn't know it was made from duck liver. Do you think giving kids so much information will scare them off from eating unique foods?
Zimmern: Maybe, but that is not my experience. I think kids are smart. If you're not going to tell them what it is and you're sneaking something past them, then any other time they are going to wonder, "What are you sneaking past me?" I think it is better to be up front and honest.
TFK: Your book includes foods like cuy (guinea pig eaten in South America) and various animal brains. What is the texture of roasted guinea pig and brains?
Zimmern: Guinea pig has the same texture and flavor as barbecued pork. Brains have the texture of warm cream cheese and a delicious nutty flavor that tastes like hazelnuts.
TFK: What is the best way for parents to ease kids into eating unique foods?
Zimmern: Let the kids call the shots. Find great, unique foods near your home, pick a couple of restaurants and let them choose one. When you get there, everyone has to get something off the menu they never tried before.
TFK: Where can you buy some of the foods you give recipes for in the book?
Zimmern: You can buy guinea pigs at Latin American markets in big cities in South America, especially in Peru, Equador and Chile. Many large markets carry them too. I would like people to visit these places and learn about the culture from where the food originated.