Imagine, if you will, eating jellied eels for breakfast, a beating frog heart for lunch, and a soup chock full of animal innards for dinner.
Now breathe for a moment.
Each episode of the Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods finds host Andrew Zimmern consuming some of the most revolting and vile foods imaginable – well, “revolting and vile” according to American culture, at least.
Since 2006, this show has documented the pushing of culinary boundaries, both internationally, and nationally, as well. I am consistently grossed out upon watching this program, but, I’ve watched each season with unadulterated enthusiasm.
Despite the fact that I was a strict vegetarian for over four years (and I still refuse to eat any meat other than poultry), Bizarre Foods has truly fascinated me from the get-go. Each culture has its share of mores and norms, and while they may not be universally accepted, they are customary to that culture.
While I am disturbed and disheartened by the sight of any animal being killed (even for food), it’s integral to understand that the consumption of odd animal parts and eek-worthy insects is as, dare I say it, “normal” to other cultures, as putting a slice of cheese on a ham sandwich is for Americans.
The endless slew of foods Zimmern has eaten is mind-boggling, and nearly all of them are beyond anything our closely sheltered stomachs will ever have the pleasure(?) of digesting – sheep’s eyeballs, spleen sandwiches, and raw camel organs being just a few.
Although Bizarre Foods may make you a bit queasy, it truly opens the eyes of its viewers….and, somehow, teaches the importance of putting aside one’s inhibitions in order to fully experience another culture.
Were you ever outside of your comfort zone (while traveling or otherwise)? How did it make you feel, and how did you deal with it?