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Eat My Globe: One Year to Go Everywhere and Eat Everything [Hardcover]

Simon Majumdar
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

19 May 2009

Simon is obsessed with food. He is able to remember every meal he has ever eaten and comes from a family of food lovers whose relationships are all based around food. In the midst of a mid-life crisis, Simon Majumdar decided to pack in his 9 to 5 day job and embark on a trip of a lifetime: to go everywhere and eat everything. 

Part travelogue, part memoir EAT MY GLOBE is a culinary tour of the world that Simon has always dreamed of making. From Philly Cheese steak in the US to mouldy shark in Iceland, he crosses the globe in search of variety and the ultimate taste experience. He also meets a fascinating array of peope, whose foodie passion impresses even Simon. Both witty and inspirational, EAT MY GLOBE is an eye-opening look at the world through food.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 279 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press (19 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416576029
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416576020
  • Product Dimensions: 2.6 x 15.6 x 23.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,563,679 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'A snappy and entertaining book ... although this is an account of Majumdar's international love affair with food, it's his deep affection for those with who he shares it that really nourishes the soul' (Daily Telegraph)

'Excellent foodie travel memoir ... Majumdar is often genuinely funny and can spin a good story ... highly readable, and ofren highly entertaining but to be avoided if you are on a diet' (Clover Stroud, Sunday Telegraph)

'This book made me quite patriotic about our over-boiled vegetables and cauldrons of stew' (Sunday Express)

'Ballsy, often hilarious foodie travelogue ... Majumdar's comic-yet-brazen voice carries the reader swiftly and winningly from foul to fowl in a book that's funny and delectable' (Publishers Weekly)

'If you're a slave to your taste buds you'll love Eat My Globe' (Wanderlust)

'As Jay Rayner says, Majumdar "writes like a dream and eats like a pig". It's a riot' (Tribune)

'Through the exuberant enthusiasm of Majumdar's writing we share his excitement' (Waterstones Books Quarterly)

'A very satisfying read ... there is a lot to enjoy' (Matthew's Table)

'One for serious foodies ... Majumdar successfully brings to life the tastes and experiences associated with his global quest ... but this book takes the reader way beyond that' (Adventure Travel)

Majumdar's passion for all things edible is evident and he has an amiable, engaging writing style (Observer)

A journey for travel enthusiasts, foodies and anyone who's ever had a 'what am I doing here?' life crisis (Irish Tatler) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

One year to go everywhere and eat everything

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eat My Globe 3 Sep 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is an excellent, informative, and amusing food travelogue. I certainly agree with most of the author's viewpoints. I found only one error, and that is that the Galata Bridge in Istanbul does not go from Europe to Asia and crosses the Golden Horn, not the Bosphorus.

Buy it. It's a good read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Eat my ego 10 Oct 2013
Format:Paperback
Yes, this book has all the faults that other reviewers have pointed out. But on the plus side it is a refreshing travel read, given that he skips over any detailed history or cultural aspects almost completely. Given that he spent only a few days in many of the places he visited and the brevity of each chapter, he sums up his travel experiences very well. Overall I found this a very funny read, and found it hard to put the book down. The criticisms are all true. He doesn't travel with much sensitivity, grabs the freebies wherever he can, and is only concerned with his taste buds. But that is his intention from the start, and the introduction to the book makes that quite clear that this is his aim. Job done. I still have 10 chapters left to read, and he hasn't mentioned any airplane food yet, but if he does I know I will be laughing out loud, for not the first time.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read for foodies 13 Feb 2010
Format:Paperback
Hilarious. Very varied destinations and meals. Every time I read a bit, it puts a smile on my face. Great stuff!
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Amazon.com: 3.4 out of 5 stars  50 reviews
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing debut from a prominent food blogger 14 Jun 2009
By Joseph Adler - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
On the Food Network, there is a show called "The Next Food Network Star." It's a fun reality show; the competitors are portrayed as charming, interesting, and genuinely likable people. When they compete on the show, they're sometimes told things like "you made my mouth water when you described the food, that's a true talent." Unfortunately, they're often also told that they sound unenthusiastic, or pedantic on camera. When I read Simon Majundar's book, I felt like a judge on "The Next Food Network Star." This book shows moments of brilliance, but is uneven, unpolished, and unprofessional.

"Eat My Globe" is a book about a set of trips that Majundar took around the world, trying to sample many different dishes from many different cultures. The book gives a lot of facts: names of people he met, restaurants he visited, places he ate. It reads a little like a calendar: he tells you where he ate at breakfast (and what he ate), where he went next, what he ate for lunch, etc.

I found this book very tedious and difficult to read. Sometimes he'll describe in detail what he ate at a specific meal (for example, BBQ in Texas), but other times he'll just throw out the name of a dish and not describe the flavor, texture, or aroma. Majundar manages an unusual trick: he has written a book that is both too long and too short. He provides too much detail in the book about the minutia of his travel planning. However, he spends far too little time talking about the people, places, and foods that he encountered.

Worse yet, Simon is a terrible writer. As an example, here is what he writes about a woman called Tina, a stranger who invited him to Thanksgiving dinner via email: "I took the plunge and wrote back saying I would be delighted to join her for Thanksgiving and, over the next six months, we swapped regular e-mails so, by the time it came for me to pick up my rental car and make the short drive from San Francisco down to Santa Cruz, I already felt like I knew her and knew I would like her." Yes, this is an overly complicated, run-on sentence. But worse yet, that is almost all that Simon tells us about this woman. He doesn't tell us how she was dressed, where she was originally from, what her house looked like, what she did for a living, why she liked food, what type of accent she had. This happens again and again in the book: Simon says "I met this wonderful person and liked them a lot" and then doesn't tell the reader anything about the person.

Even worse, he does the same thing with food: he doesn't tell us how dishes are prepared, where the ingredients come from, when they were developed, why they were eaten. And, I have a sneaking suspicion that he was eating a lot of tourist food. Outside of the western world, meat is still an expensive luxury. I think that Simon ate meat for three meals a day for most of his trip.

I was very disappointed by this book. Simon clearly knows and loves food, and spent a year of his life going to interesting places and eating interesting things. But it's a shame that he only managed to turn that journey into a 264-page book. I didn't learn anything from this book, and I didn't walk away from this book wanting to go anyplace he went, or eat anything he ate. It has brief moments of brilliance, where he does a great job capturing a specific meal. But on the whole, I can't recommend this book.
16 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars His ego is bigger than his stomach 8 Jun 2009
By Jo Ann Graham - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I was deeply disappointed in Simon Majumdar's tale of traveling the world to "eat everything" in a year. As a part time foodie and semi-pro chef I was anticipating exciting descriptions of foods, ingredients and restaurants around the world. That is not this book.

The pronoun "I" is used more in this book than any other word. The book is disappointingly not about the food but is about Simon and his travels. Simon comes off as a self obsessed, self professed and self impressed lover of food but primarily unusual (to an American palate) foods. His descriptions of the food are limited and he spends more time talking about his walks through the cities and countries he visits. I had anticipated reading succulent word pictures of the many foods he ate. These are missing from this book. Instead we are told he ate "a dish of crunchy green beans with garlic", or "Sichuan-style spring rolls and a dish of fiery pork" -- nothing inspiring about the descriptions and no recipes or even clues to recipes to recreate some of his more "normal" food adventures (I will pass on the still beating cobra heart). Instead of telling us that he drank 30 year old sherry, could he have shared a name or brand?

The inclusion of recipes in this book or even pictures of the foods, people and places would have added a great deal to this journal about Simon and his travels because his words are not enough.

Most disappointing was Simon's unnecessary and gratuitous inclusion of repeated references to his genitalia and self perceived sexuality. Was it really necessary to be told he dreamed of carrying a large sign saying "will drop trou for food"? (He'll starve doing that!) Wouldn't it have been sufficient to tell us he thought of carrying a sign that said "will work for food"? Do I need to know what his tailor told him about his limited personal endowments or that he walks around in front of strangers in a short silk robe and nothing else? None of this was enticing nor did it add to the book. I guess it made his ego feel better.

And that is what this book is about -- Simon's ego. The food is not the star.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Complaint,s Apologies,and Thank You's 6 Jan 2013
By S. Woolverton - Published on Amazon.com
"[I] shouldn't complain, but will anyway" pretty much sums up "Eat My Globe."
Too much of this book is wasted with complaining. There's some travel. There's some food but remainder of the book is Thank You's to those who were nice to the author and Apologies to the people he's pissed off along his way.

Quote is from Chapter 37, Morocco of "Eat My Globe".
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A global view of food eaten in its natural habitat by a man who loves food and knows how to write. 5 April 2012
By Craig Matteson - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
What an incredible project! Most men face some kind of mid-life crisis in their early 40s and some buy flashy cars and some change careers. I went back to school and got an MBA. It seems to me that the only person crazier than an 18 year old male is one in his early 40s. Simon Majumdar had a nice, safe career going and then hit the famous middle age wall and decides the proper course of action is to do something absolutely nuts.

He decides to cash in his life's savings, leave his job, and travel the globe for a year and eat as widely and broadly as he can in order to understand how we humans eat in every corner of the world. And he found some amazingly out of the way corners. The sheer travel involved in the trip actually frightened me. I traveled frequently for business in the mid-1990s. I once went completely around the globe. Twenty-four time zones in twenty-one days and I arrived home utterly spent and delirious with jet lag. But I had something Simon did not. I had a well-funded expense account and stayed in very nice hotel rooms every step of the way. And it still beat me down. If he were only twenty-five this would be a delightfully fool-hardy adventure. For a forty year old this becomes an act of crazed heroism. That he accomplished it and lived I find to be a staggering achievement. His status as a celebrity food critic is was hard won and well deserved!

After all, you can find any cuisine you want in London and, if you look a bit, I am sure you can find most dishes of exceptional quality. If you add in Paris and New York, you have to get well above 90% of the world's dishes available to you. But just eating exotic dishes that are well prepared is not what Majumdar is after. He knows that experiencing dishes in their natural habitat is quite a different thing and being authentically prepared is often superior to being merely well-prepared. Plus, he put in the energy to find dishes that surprised even him. Things that you can't find in standard-exotic fare, if you can forgive that term. As he puts in on page 182 in referring to a chili, garlic, shrimp paste, chicken dish he had in Thailand, "Exactly the sort of meal I had hoped for when I first set out on the journey. The chance to find out what these famous dishes, so often served in the West, but neutered by bad ingredients and lack of soul, taste like when are made properly and with care."

I also think that Majumdar's reputation as a writer is well deserved. He is an excellent diarist. This book is full of adventure, humor, some drama (his first experiences in Brazil and Senegal), and his accounts of making strangers into friends is always touching. The author's account of his travel to remote areas of China and other Asian locales is something I am glad he did for me. Frankly, reading about them is about as far as I want to go. Very little of what he experienced makes me want to duplicate what he did. Except maybe I would like to taste the food in that monastery where they make delicious meat dishes without a bit of meat. I have been told that many times about vegetarian food and never been fooled once. But I trust Majumdar enough to believe him absolutely.

The author unfolds himself to us along with the story. He brings in elements of his family, or "clan" as he likes to call them, in order to flesh out the story of the food at that point in the adventure. So, there is that bit of skilled writing to keep us interested in what we might learn next. I mean, after all he is an interesting mix of a physician father from India and a fiery mother from Wales. And he uses references to his older brother, whom he identifies as The Great Salami, as a nice counterpoint throughout the story. Another achievement is that he turned his Rucksack, Big Red, into a character. I mean you cheer for the thing when it is in peril and feel for it as it suffers wear and tear during its travels. What does it say about a writer when a reader thinks, "Yeah, Simon, I know you are sick and dying, good luck and all that, but what about Big Red?"

Obviously, I can relate most to his travels in the states. I think he gets Americans far better than most Americans get other parts of the world. He even travelled to Ann Arbor, where I have lived since 1978. He spent his time at Zingerman's, which is a company I know intimately because I have eaten their food since 1983 and several of my children have worked there. While I think the author was fair in his telling of his experience in working at the Deli for a day, I don't think he quite captured how special the place truly is. I say this as a person who has also done a fair amount of traveling and eaten a wide variety of food. But, hey, he only had a day or two here.

I also want to comment on the sheer range of food the author ate and told us about. It is nearly incomprehensible. No wonder his gout ridden toe bothered him on this trip - not just from all the walking, but the vast universes of food he managed to taste and experience. Majumdar is a fair critic. He has an expansive palate, but not universal. He is open in saying that he prefers food that is spicy, crunchy, and sour. Frankly, I can enjoy that food, but it is not the center of my preferred taste galaxy. And while I appreciate the head-to-tail idea and am willing to try and eat more broadly than most people, I am reminded that dogs and cats need food to eat, too. But he also has his lacunae. For example, he doesn't like pizza. Oh, he tries to like it, but for him it remains "snot on toast". And, like nearly everyone on the planet, he has no use for Durian fruit. It is, apparently, a very specialized taste, which I have heard described as a combination of rotted onions and unwashed feet. He also likes to gnaw on chicken and duck bones. He says he chews them to dust. I like to get the food off, but don't get any pleasure in biting bone.

Decades back, during my formative years in fine dining, I was a member of a highly regarded dining club and as I talked with the owner I asked the usual stupid question about what his favorite foods were. I asked this because his restaurant served such a wide range of foods I had never tried before. I learned love sweetbreads. I ate elk there, which I like more than Majumbdar apparently does, and other game. It was a fabulous place to eat with family and friends. In answer, the owner gave me some fabulous advice that has benefitted me ever since. He said, "Craig, it is much less the ingredient than the chef. In the hands of a great chef you will love everything they cook. In the hands of a bad cook the finest ingredients are wasted." And that is always true. While I doubt I will ever crave beef tendon soup, if I were served it by a great cook, I would eat it gratefully and expand my food horizon by one more dish.

Well, let me add to that advice something I learned from this book, having a good and adventurous guide to the great chefs, who are not always in the fancy establishments, is also indispensable to expanding one's food universe. In the back of the book, Majumdar has a few lists. One is of the top twenty tastes he had in his travels. The other is the ten worst tastes. As he says, things he ate so we don't have to. If you want to find some of the funniest writing in the book, use this list to find the spots where he ate them. The food may be awful, but the writing is delicious.

Reviewed by Craig Matteson, Saline, MI
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Less than impressed 20 Aug 2009
By Andrea Polk - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
If you liked No Reservations: Around the World on an Empty Stomach, which I did, you would think you'd enjoy this book too. "You'd think."

I tried to get into this book and found I couldn't do it. A personal bias against perhaps the author's style? Too much of this, and not enough of that? Who knows? I also gave it to my mother to try it out and she too found it uninteresting. Maybe it's a 'family thing'? Whatever the reason, I would not recommend this book if you enjoy the food channel and were hoping for something akin to that experience in print, in this book.
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