Andrew Zimmern's Bizarre World of Food: Brains, Bugs, and Blood Sausage

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Have you ever thought about eating giant flying ants? Or raw camel kidneys? Well, read on to watch Andrew Zimmern not only eat these unique and gross foods, but live to tell the tale about the people, places, and adventures he's had while roaming the world in search of new and exciting meals.
Zimmern takes readers from country to country, visiting local markets, participating in cultural feasts, and chasing down native wildlife to taste what each country has to offer, and ...

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Andrew Zimmern's Bizarre World of Food: Brains, Bugs, and Blood Sausage

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Have you ever thought about eating giant flying ants? Or raw camel kidneys? Well, read on to watch Andrew Zimmern not only eat these unique and gross foods, but live to tell the tale about the people, places, and adventures he's had while roaming the world in search of new and exciting meals.
Zimmern takes readers from country to country, visiting local markets, participating in cultural feasts, and chasing down native wildlife to taste what each country has to offer, and discovering what is most authentic about each place he visits and the amazing information he receives while traveling to these countries.
And you can too! Come along on Andrew's amazing adventures and learn fun facts about the animals he encounters, the people he meets, and the places he explores. You'll also find cool recipes to try at home. So let Andrew Zimmern be your guide as he takes you around the world, eating his way through foods one couldn't even dream of eating, while celebrating the undiscovered destinations and weird wonders still taking place today.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Phyllis Kennemer
Zimmern has written about his travel experiences in remote areas of the world and his passion for exotic foods that most people in this country would not consider eating—even if they were available. He happily accompanies native hunters in their quest for birds, fish and animals. He sometimes helps with their preparation for consumption and whatever is served, he eats with gusto. Zimmern describes the hostile terrain and seas of Iceland as he embarks on his search for puffins. In Samoa he helps roast large fruit bats over open fires and eats them whole. In Africa he seeks out the Embegge tribe and delights in eating lungfish. Other travels and foods in Asia and South America include such dishes as dung beetles, tarantulas, and stinky tofu. A section of eight pages of color photographs appears in the center of the book. An Author's Note at the end provides details about the taste of some of the more unusual foods Zimmern has eaten. Fans of his Bizarre Foods program on the Travel Channel will likely delight in this memoir of world travel based in foods. Reviewer: Phyllis Kennemer, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—In this part travelogue, part memoir, and part behind-the-scenes peek at what it takes to get a television crew on location, Zimmern shows the correlation between the unique experiences he's had across the world and his appreciation of culture through food. With an amazing recall of meals, he goes beyond the brains and bugs promised in the title to recount feasting on exotic fare such as fruit bat, lungfish, and achachairu (a fruit he found outside of Santa Cruz in Bolivia). Often the excitement comes from obtaining food as he risks treacherous ocean waves, climbs up volcanoes, or treks through the jungle before getting to the table. Inserted within the narrative are text boxes of travel tips, translations, or historical facts. The author has an engaging and jovial tone throughout, but the writing style at times seems better suited to the television medium where descriptions get paired with visuals. Still, with such thoughtful insights like the difference between a tourist and a traveler, it is ultimately Zimmern's spirit of adventure that shines through and will no doubt inspire readers to explore the world around them.—Joanna K. Fabicon, Los Angeles Public Library
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385740043
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 6/12/2012
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 1,531,658
  • Age range: 10 years
  • Lexile: 1220L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

ANDREW ZIMMERN is a food writer, dining critic, and chef, and the co-creator, host, and consulting producer of the Travel Channel series Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern and Andrew Zimmern's Bizarre World. Zimmern is the founder and editor in chief of, and he writes monthly for Delta's Sky magazine and Minneapolis St. Paul magazine. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife and son.

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Read an Excerpt

Modern-Day Vikings: Puffin Hunting in the Land of Fire and Ice

Iceland looks and feels like no other place on earth. As our plane touched down just outside Reykjavik, I was almost convinced we’d landed on the moon. Not surprising, given that NASA astronauts trained in Iceland prior to the first moon landing. In much of the country, the barren, rocky topography looks otherworldly. Iceland, which is roughly the size of Ohio, is a glacial, rocky, moss-covered expanse born from volcanic eruptions. Treeless mountains, sweeping fields of arctic grasses waving out to the horizon, awe-inspiring geysers, raging rivers, spectacular ocean vistas, and therapeutic hot springs fueled by underwater volcanoes are stunning but make much of the island uninhabitable. Iceland is called the Land of Fire and Ice, yet despite its staggering natural beauty, the overwhelming majority of the population lives in the capital city of Reykjavik. Everyone else is a farmer or works in either the thermal energy business (booming) or the greenhouse-gardening industry (emerging).

 * Reykjavik is the world’s northernmost capital city and is home to two-thirds of Iceland’s total population of about 320,000 people.

• Iceland’s name implies that the weather is freezing, but that’s not the case. Summer temps rarely hit the sixty-degree mark, but the winters are surprisingly mild—the average temperature in January is 32°F.

• The only native land mammal when humans arrived was the arctic fox, which came to the island at the end of the last ice age, walking over the frozen sea. There are no native reptiles or amphibians on the island.

 The country is changing and growing all the time—literally. In 1963, a volcanic explosion just off the southern coast of Iceland created an island that eventually expanded to one square mile in size. This landmass, named Surtsey after Surtur, the Icelandic fire god, grew to this official landmass status in only three and a half years. I was fortunate enough to travel to Surtsey by boat one day. It’s a phenomenal thing to see, an island that is as big as it is, that is as new as it is, and freakishly almost exactly as old as I am.

I knew the food in Iceland would be wonderful. As a chef in New York and Minneapolis, I’d always been floored by the quality of the Icelandic lamb, dairy products, and seafood I’d run across from time to time. Icelandic animals drink the cleanest water on earth, eat the freshest grass, and breathe the purest air. Everything, from the horses to the sheep and cows, is genetically pristine, and the animals are raised not only for their meat but for their milk and cheese products. Skyr, the addictively cheesy yogurt product you see everywhere in Iceland, comes from cows that eat sweet grass for a brief period of time, then silage for most of the year. The cows’ diet produces a unique flavor profile that is distinctly their own.

I spent much of my time in Reykjavik, puttering around town and enjoying the beautiful summer weather. Summer temperatures climb into the forties during the day, maybe the fifties in the sun.

* Because Iceland is so close to the North Pole, the country experiences midnight sun in the summer. In the winter, expect only four to five hours of daylight.

The food scene in Iceland is vibrant. I was looking forward to my first taste of puffin, those cute little black-and-white birds with big orange beaks. Before you get yourself all worked up about me eating this cute ’n’ cuddly creature, consider the fact that only about 320,000 people call Iceland home. The puffin population, on the other hand, runs between 8 and 10 million. Icelanders could eat puffin meat at every meal from now until eternity and they would never make a dent in the region’s population. As a matter of fact, they urge people to eat the birds as a point of civic duty because there are just so many of them.


But to eat the best puffins, and to hunt them where they live, you need to head south of Reykjavik. There you’ll find the Vestmannaeyjar Islands, a cluster of smaller islands that make up one of the region’s most famous fishing communities. This area’s other claim to fame is the 1973 volcanic eruption on Heimaey, the largest island in the chain. It’s Iceland’s version of Pompeii, but only a few decades old. Lava flows crushed half the town, and when you see the end results of something that destructive and realize that it happened within your lifetime, it takes your breath away. You see homes buried, and cars half frozen in black, porous rock. Luckily, everyone was able to get off the island in time to save themselves.

Millions of puffins call the Vestmannaeyjar Islands home, and the local restaurateurs take advantage of this ample source of food. The rest of the citizenry are devoted puffin eaters or hunters, or both. Once our six-seat puddle jumper landed on Heimaey, the Bizarre Foods production crew and I tried to negotiate our way over to the far side of Vestmannaeyjar, with its simple harbor, occasional spouting orca, seals, and numerous birds. We ended up running into a guy who claimed he could arrange to have us picked up by boat on the far side of the island and taken to an uninhabited area to experience a puffin hunt firsthand. Without hesitation, we piled into our van and headed over.

It’s a bright, beautiful summer’s day in Iceland, perfect sweatshirt weather. We pass alongside a huge half-moon bay, complete with breathtaking views of the ocean and the outer isles, which include Surtsey. We start unloading our gear onto the mile-long black sand beach at Surtsey. There isn’t a trace of human imprint as far as you can see. Not a jet contrail in the sky, not a footprint in the sand, not a boat at sea . . . it’s just empty and desolate. You know for sure you’re at one of the ends of the earth—a feeling I find so satisfying I could have sat on that beach all day.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2013

    If you've read The Bizarre Truth...

    If you've read The Bizarre Truth by Andrew Zimmern, don't bother with this one. Its pretty much shortened versions of whats in the other book with some little factoids throw in. There's also a few tiny stories in single paragraph ones that are "what its like to eat...", but if you watch the show you already know the answers. Its not a bad book, you just don't need to read this one if you've read the other.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2012

    Really loved it! One of Z's best!

    Gave this to my brother the real fan for Christmas and he really loved it! It's the best Andrew Zimmern's put out to date. Also love his show!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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