THE BIZARRE TRUTH
By Andrew Zimmern
Host of the Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods and Bizarre World
For [him] to spend fourteen days creating this dish made me want to cry. Who goes to that kind of trouble for a stranger? People who are proud of their culture and want to share it with you, that’s who. Octavio Gomez of Granada, Nicaragua, resurrected a regional, traditional dish that had died. . . . He breathed life back into a lost art form. . . . The most disgusting-looking food is often the best-tasting. As foul an idea as it is to shove a runny, smelly fromage, riddled with something you’d rather bait a fishing hook with, into your mouth, it was pretty darn tasty.”
—from the chapter “forgotten foods”
As millions of Travel Channel viewers know, there is nowhere Andrew Zimmern won’t go to satisfy his hunger for the Authentic Experience. Now the popular food writer and television host invites all passionate explorers from extreme adventurers to armchair travelers to join him on a worldwide feast like no other, jetting to Iceland and Botswana, Chile and Samoa, and dozens of other locales (including some little-known corners closer to home) in search of THE BIZARRE TRUTH (Broadway Books; Hardcover; ISBN: 978-0-7679-3129-8; $24.99; On Sale September 8, 2009).
Chronicling Zimmern’s most memorable sojourns, THE BIZARRE TRUTH celebrates his philosophy of travel and life. Believing that the best experiences come from people who transform our worldview and that food rituals are the best windows on the world, he has created a unique book that he says encourages “eating at the last stop on the subway, or investigating dying breeds, or perusing unique and arcane ingredients.” He is a fierce defender of indigenous cultures, observing that “end-of-the-line locales are the last unspoiled destinations for travelers craving a real experience.” The far-flung places and little-known haunts captured in this collection include:
• An Embegge village in Uganda, where Zimmern lived with a tribe and had his fill of lungfish (an air-breathing fish that can hibernate during droughts, has teeth that resemble a garbage compactor, and is not prepared by women because it’s considered to be a “cosmic soul sister”) while also feasting on goat, squirrel, flying ants, crickets, millet porridge, matooke (steamed green bananas), yucca, cassava, sweet potatoes, rice and beans, g-nuts, and more.
• Otavalo, Ecuador, where, armed with a five-dollar bill and a live guinea pig, Zimmern received a shamanistic purging that changed his life. Among other things, the shaman spat on Zimmern, rubbed him head to toe with hard-boiled eggs, and beat him with the pig. The result? One of Zimmern’s most successful years.
• Delhi, the scene of a thirty-six-course Wazwan, a lamb-laden extravaganza that Zimmern calls “the meal that nearly killed me,” populated by glamorous Indian A-listers who even teach him the do’s and don’ts of posing for pictures.
• Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, home of giant rainbow crayfish (picture lobsters the length of an arm), complete with brilliant blue, red, and orange armor.
• Samoa, with its delicacy of yellowfin tuna eyeballs. Zimmern sails the stunning South Pacific waters with Samoan locals in small canoes fitted with outriggers, venturing into twenty-foot seas to catch yellowfin tuna and devour them on the boat—eyeballs and all (the “eyeball shooters” are saturated in lime juice and gulped down whole).
• A farmhouse near the shores of Lake Titicaca in Bolivia, where the menu includes chunos (putrefied, rotten, steamed black potatoes) alongside quinoa dumplings, root vegetables, and broiled llama. After the meal, elders eat fistfuls of cocoa leaves, dance to exhaustion, and participate in a ritual to vanquish evil spirits (a llama fetus is the main ingredient).
Indulging in the world’s most memorable meals, Zimmern also meets the most memorable people, learning more about the human race than he ever could in a museum or a classroom. Delving deeply into the real world of “eating locally,” THE BIZARRE TRUTH goes beyond the shock value of a stranger-than-fiction travelogue. This is a tribute to the corners of the world where living in sync with the land is second nature. Recalling a Caribbean diving excursion, Zimmern writes, “It’s hard not to get emotional about spending the day on the water with the very last person in the world who harvests conch the old-fashioned way, one at a time with his own two hands. The lessons to be taught about our rapidly diminishing capacity to save our planet are best learned not from the nightly news but from men like Tobago Cox.” Filled with tales of rare, captivating men and women such as these, THE BIZARRE TRUTH is a sojourn to savor.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Andrew Zimmern is the co-creator, host, and consulting producer of Travel Channel’s hit series Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern. His new show, Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre World, will be launched on Travel Channel September 1. A food writer, dining critic, and chef, Zimmern is also an associate editor at Minneapolis-St. Paul Magazine and Delta’s Sky MagazineNew York City, he now lives in Minneapolis with his wife and son. and writes the blog Chow & Again. Born and raised in New York City, he now lives in Minneapolis with his wife and son.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
THE BIZARRE TRUTH by Andrew Zimmern
Broadway Books • Hardcover • ISBN: 978-0-7679-3129-8 • $24.99
On Sale September 8, 2009
For more information or to book your interview with Andrew Zimmern, please contact Tammy Blake in the Broadway Books Publicity Department: 212/572.2542 or Tblake@randomhouse.com.