I want to start this review by stating the obvious from the front cover which shows a lady with something resembling a long creepy crawly hanging out of her mouth. THIS IS NOT FOR THE FAINT HEARTED!!!!
I am such a picky eater that my mother despairs, especially as she has spent her life as a chef. To have a daughter that turns her nose up at anything that "doesn't look right" or "doesn't smell right" is practically a sin in her eyes. I must confess that I am terrible, but have improved with age and will try more and more stuff as I get older.
However, although I am a fussy eater myself it doesn't mean that I am weak stomached, in actual fact I'm the total opposite. I am one of those sad people that sit glued to the TV shows watching while they put Celebrities in front of a plate of something revolting. I have no problem watching other people eat weird stuff; I just don't want to try it myself.
When I saw the front cover of this book I was intrigued as I love to see what other countries eat and consider delicacies. This book is perfect for people that are curious and don't have problems with pictures that may make some a little sick to the stomach! The book itself is quite small and is only around 7" x 5" and around ½" thick but makes for a perfect conversation starter if left lying on your coffee table!
This book is a collection of what Lonely Planet consider a glimpse of 65 of the worlds most challenging Foods. The first page is a note from the author Eddie Lin. Eddie is a former break-dancer turned food writer and has travelled the world looking for the weird and wonderful of the culinary world.
Each of the 65 foods has a double page spread. On the left you will find a brightly colourful picture of the food. On the opposite page he has broken down the food into four sections, what it is, where it is, how it works and the experience. Now I must warn you that if you have no desire to know about the actual foods then please don't read on. I want to give people an idea on the sorts of weird and wonderful are in this book.
The first page that I hit when I must admit my stomach did a topsy-turvy was the page with the name Maggot Cheese. Maggot Cheese comes from Sardinia and folks; it is what it says it is. There are varying types of cheese, there is `Casu Marzu' which is basically rotten cheese, but maggot cheese is just the next step on. I won't spoil all the information given on this page but it is definitely an eye opener.
Page after page had me turning my head away and then back again to read the details of the vile picture on the left. It appalled and shocked me all at the same time, but again curiosity got the better of me and I just had to carry on reading.
I loved this book just because it addresses the sorts of food that the average person would squirm at. It is interesting to see what other countries consider delicacies, but admittedly there were times when I couldn't help but cover my mouth to stop from gagging whilst reading some of the more horrendous choices of food, such as fish sperm and fermented herring. The most bizarre page was 77; I had just recovered from page 76 which was Lutefisk to discover that Marmite is considered one of 65 most challenging. All in all, this book is very interesting, albeit a little stomach churning, and most definitely a conversation starter like I said before. I took this to work and found that out of the 8 in my team, two of my colleagues were fascinated and two were disgusted. The rest were indifferent. I figure it depends on the type of person you are as to whether you would find this interesting or awful. Personally I thought it was unusual but great.