BIZARRE FOODS

Here are two video clips from Andrew Zimmern’s Bizzare Foods on Greece.

All around the Mediterranean sea urchin is an esteemed delicacy, not a bizzare food.

Fermenting and preserving dairy products in goat’s skin is an ancient practice.

 

Zimmern’s show focuses on regional food from around the world  “which is typically perceived by Americans as being gross, unique, or, of course, bizarre”.

But,

can food- any food-  be considered as bizzare?

Not really…

Because

no matter how different or unusual food and food -related etiquette might be, or how  unfamiliar-and sometimes unappealing- cooking and eating practices are, above all, food  links  to a variety of  preferences and choices,  taboos, rituals, traditions, religious beliefs and dietary practices.

It  links to culture, identity, politics and economics.

So,

there are not bizarre foods.

But

there are different cultures.

Lamb’s tongue and eyes, sheep’s head, cow’s stomach, pig’s feet, octopus, roasted sparrow, snails, jellied eel- or eating food with fingers- are perceived by -white?- Americans as being gross and weird,  although  they are highly esteemed in a number of world regions.

Because,

what is considered strange, weird and bizzare to someone in one part of the world, in another part of the world is simply considered delicacy.

 

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6 thoughts on “BIZARRE FOODS

  1. Have you ever heard of the fermented shark in Iceland?
    The fish is being left in boxed covered with rock for about two months and it is served with Icelandic potato wine. Apparently I’ve heard that they are not serving this dish to tourists!

  2. In Lebanon too sea urchins are a delicacy and milk is traditionally preserved in goat skins. Pfft! People should open their eyes to the world, not be judgmental based on their own narrow perspective.

  3. Hi Mariana,

    I can understand being angry about this episode, but it’s not quite the definitive representation of what Americans and north Americans think about food. To be sure, there is still a good portion of the population, especially people who live in smaller citites and towns, that might think anything outside of steak, burgers and piece of fish, without the head, is weird. However, ‘ nose to tail’ eating as it has unfortunately been called, has in recent years has become staple items of good and not necessairly super expensive restaurants

    Chefs like Chris Cosentino, Thomas Keller, David Chang, April Bloomfield, Michael White, Gabrielle Hamilton, Grant van Gameren, Michael Psilakis, all work with those bits and bobs of the animal that the American diet has forgotten. In fact, on a recent trip back to Canada and a quick stop over in New York, I ate more offal there than I have in my five years living in Greece. Yes, it’s not mainstream America food, but it is definetly becoming part of the urban experience in all the major cities in North America. Imagine, that now, hands-on butchering seminars for the home cooks are popping everywhere.

    I’m not sure what demographic this television show caters too, but if you watch Anthony Bourdain’s show, No Reservations on the same channel which also caters to a North American audience, you can see a difference in how food is represented. All he does is wax poetic about sea urchins!

    And just one final point, one of the reasons why I love your blog is because ,except the interesting anecdotes you give us about the history of Greek food, food and cooking being something that I just love, to spend my time doing, is that you give me ideas and recipes about greek food, condiments spices that is beyond avgolemeno and kokkinisto and oregano. But I think that what you do on your blog is unique. And maybe you and I, and all your readership, still think of this these food items as something enjoyable, but I’m pretty sure, that if you ask Greeks in and around thrirty years old, what they would prefer to eat, sea urchins or biftekia, I think a good portion of them would prefer bifteki.

    So, Andrew Zimmerman and his Bizarre Food show represent some of us, but certainly doesn’t represent all of us!

    Sincerely,
    Erica

  4. Erica, I totally agree with you. Bizarre foods’ episodes are not what all Americans and north Americans think about food. However, i am still wondering who the target audience of bizzare foods is. “Bizarre foods”? To whom? Is France considered by anyone to be bizarre? Is gyros considered by many people to be bizarre?
    I also prefer Bourdain. No Reservations gives us a real idea of what that food culture is all about. Bourdain is respectful of the host and the food. But Zimmerman’s exoticization plays to the wrongful ideas that some Westerners have about cuisines of ‘the other’.

  5. I agree with Erica on her post as I agree with Mariana on several points that she has made. Food culture differs from place to place and what one considers bizzare another considers normal. Take myself for example; Octopus , sea urchins, kokoretsi and more are perfectly regular and mainstream staples in my diet as I am Greek but ask me if I would eat a cockroach! In all fairness, Americans or at least a percentage of them are the most adventurous eaters I have ever come across. Greeks are much less adventurous when it comes to trying things outside of their comfort zone! So no need Mariana to be enraged with this show as I think that the overall concept is it’s scock value and not neccesarily insult anybody!

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