Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Eating in Appalachia with Andrew Zimmern

Do any of you watch Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern? I found his show on the Travel Channel shortly after we signed up for cable TV, and I have been a fan ever since. Even my kids have gotten into the action. Mr. Moo will ask if we can watch the “man that eats the funny things.” I spend most of the show playing a game of “Would You Eat That?” with the others in the room. I am usually pretty open about trying new foods, but I admit fully that I draw the line at insects. It’s a texture thing. I know I couldn’t get past the legs and exoskeleton. {{{shiver}}}

Most everything else, the obscure seafood, animal testicles, aged beyond belief items, and cultural oddities…sure, I’d probably give them a try.

What I also love about the show, besides the culinary insights, is the fact that Andrew embraces the culture of the place he is visiting. While I have seen him hesitate to eat something and give his host a funny look as if to say, “Do you really eat this around here, or are you getting a laugh on my behalf?”, he never starts the interaction with an Anglo-centric arrogance that is found far too often in our country. There is no judgment of people who eat pieces of the animal we normally discard or even items that would we might not normally consider eating. There is simply an appreciation of the culture, the cuisine, and the experience of taking it all in first-hand. I love that I can experience that with Andrew and share it with my kids (who really do find the show fascinating).

So, when an announcement came across his Facebook fan page asking for bloggers to promote upcoming shows, I responded immediately. Here is what you’ll find on tap for tonight:

Appalachia Episode

This week's episode takes place right here in the US in the Appalachian mountains. The mountain range runs north to south touching more than a dozen states, and many of the people in the area still maintain the traditions and foods that were a part of life for their ancestors.

First, Andrew goes squirrel hunting in Cass, West Virginia. You have probably heard of chicken fried steak, but have you ever tried chicken fried squirrel? He also samples good, old-fashioned Swiss cooking in Helvetia. Next, Andrew heads to North Carolina to attend the Livermush Festival. Livermush, made out of ground-up pig parts, was invented here. Other items on the menu this week: bear meat, wasp larvae, and mushroom coffee.

Be sure to tune-in tonight at 10 E/P. If you’d like, you can watch a promo video of the episode. You can also get a detailed list of the places he visits and food he eats on the Appalachian Travel Guide.

See if you can get your house together for a lively game of “Would You Eat That?” I think you might be surprised at what you find out about each other.

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