The Year of Eating Dangerously: A Global Adventure in Search of Culinary Extremes


"A bracingly funny writer…Whether he's choking down dog stew in Korea or sipping cobra bile in China, Parker Bowles imbues his odyssey with self-deprecatory wit and sensitivity that make this travelogue a rare treat."—Entertainment Weekly

Tom Parker Bowles is a fiend for great flavor, and does not shy away from strange-looking, spicy, or otherwise "dangerous" foods whether in London or halfway around the world. Raised with a taste for fresh, simply prepared foods, he ...

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The Year of Eating Dangerously: A Global Adventure in Search of Culinary Extremes

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"A bracingly funny writer…Whether he's choking down dog stew in Korea or sipping cobra bile in China, Parker Bowles imbues his odyssey with self-deprecatory wit and sensitivity that make this travelogue a rare treat."—Entertainment Weekly

Tom Parker Bowles is a fiend for great flavor, and does not shy away from strange-looking, spicy, or otherwise "dangerous" foods whether in London or halfway around the world. Raised with a taste for fresh, simply prepared foods, he nevertheless was always intrigued by "exotic" foods, especially the kinds found in America—no Spanish or French food for him, thank you! "A chili freak who always carries a bottle of Tabasco" (People), Tom is no food snob.

His journey took him from the potentially lethal—fugu, the infamous poisonous blowfish —to the merely nauseating to the unexpectedly delectable. As he traveled through Asia and Europe, guided by friends and locals, he warily ate dog, snake, insects, offal, and a variety of sea creatures. In the United States, he ignored warnings from those who knew better as he eagerly stuffed himself with much too much barbecue in Tennessee and some of the hottest of the hot sauces at The National Fiery Foods Show in New Mexico. "Smart, stylish, erudite and hip in a sardonic, unmistakably limey sense—like a lost son of Nigella Lawson and Eddie Izzard" (Radar), Tom Parker Bowles makes even a cringe-worthy meal worth the trip.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A mix of self-deprecating humor and lightly worn erudition."—Wall Street Journal

“The Year of Eating Dangerously chronicles [Tom’s] an attempt to acquire new experiences and eat like the natives do, and ultimately what makes it so engaging is that he only partly succeeds…his sense of humor is intact throughout and never sharper than when he’s writing about himself…”—The New York Times

“A veritable culinary Odysseus...[Bowles] wins over his audience as a writer, describing dishes and sensations with the zeal of the recently famished, and his own hedonistic acts in delightful passages of unabashed bravado and self-deprecating humor” —Kirkus Reviews

"[Bowles'] sly, tongue in cheek wit...sets [The Year of Eating Dangerously] apart from Bourdain's macho, New Yorker fearlessness and serves up a funnier and more relatable dish."—Radar

“Tom Parker Bowles writes with a testosterone-inked pen.”—Slate

"The book offers more than 'he ate what?' sensationalism; it also prods our culinary preconceptions."

Boston Globe

"Tom Parker Bowles is nothing if not a charmer. From the first page...this reader was hooked."—The Washington Times

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312531034
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 8/19/2008
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 8.06 (w) x 5.40 (h) x 1.04 (d)

Meet the Author

TOM PARKER BOWLES, son of Prince Charles’ wife Camilla, is a respected British food critic, with columns in The Mail on Sunday, “Night and Day” and Tatler. He is also the author of E is for Eating: An Alphabet of Greed. He lives in London.

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Read an Excerpt

I realize that beery bravado was the main culprit but I do remember (very vaguely) thinking what the point was in going on a search for the hottest sauces in the world if I didn't try at least a spatter. I imagine myself stepping up to the challenge, a brave knight fighting for the pride of his homeland.

'Bollocks to that,' says my ever-sensitive friend. 'You were a sweaty mess, and the whole crowd was waiting to see you go down in a blaze of unglory.'

Apparently, the braying masses whooped for joy when I took on the challenge. And the crowd grew bigger still, as at least a dozen hot-sauce maestros gathered expectantly to have a laugh at the English fool. The bottle appeared once more, named Salsa Para Pendejos.

Now it's one thing drunkenly agreeing to try a drop of this liquid fire but quite another to risk putting myself in hospital before I've finished at The Fiery Foods Show. I took the straw, touched it to my palm so there was a dot no bigger than a comma. A few in the crowd voiced their disappointment.

Ignoring the heckles, I touched the tip of my tongue to the dot of sauce on my hand, probably taking no more than a quarter of the punctuation mark blob. The crowd grew silent, craning their necks to get a better view.

—from A Year of Eating Dangerously

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 23, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Thoroughly engaging!

    Bowles crafted a fantastic text that details his culinary adventures around the world. No door is left unopened in this revealing piece, as Bowles describes preparations and skills required to create some of the most unique dishes known to man-kind. A fantastic way to use up free time, this book will appeal to chefs and food-lovers alike.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2007

    Hall-of-Fame Bartender says WOWSERS!!

    Just finished reading ¿The Year of Eating Dangerously¿. To say that this is a major statement on food and humanity is an understatement! It should be a college course on how to live fully and very well. Bowles is much more than his mother¿s son ¿ he can flat out write. Reminds me of very much of Bill Bryson with hints of Pete Hamill and Calvin Trillin. For a year he gives up his body for our education and entertainment by overstuffing it and imbibing more calories, liquor and heat than one really should. But what the hell, he¿s young and will recover from his gluttony, hangovers and ghosts. Besides some of us are very curious about non-bland foods. Not simply a food and travel writer he has surprising insights into who we are and what we put in our mouths with an astounding feel for history, people and the unusual. His quest is about a love for good food and a fascination with other cultures. In my travels I have been on the lookout for unusual foods and have not be swayed too much from the dangerous. The only thing that Bowles missed on my special foods list was horse, considered a mid-European delicacy. While reading this marvelous work I was reminded of several wonderful things: The best place to see inside a local culture is the neighborhood food markets. Eastern foods must be the most delicate blending of exotic flavors in history. The Chinese will eat anything if the correct sauce is found. Laotians live for today only and their foods reflect it. The fiercest, most courageous and best fishermen are still in Spain and Japan. Sicily has had more conquerors bringing food additions than any other small island. Eating dog makes me horny and macho afterwards. It smells and tastes like wet dog. Just because something smells horrific doesn¿t mean that it doesn¿t taste sensational. Just because something smells sensational doesn¿t mean that it doesn¿t taste horrific. Please do not compare this to `A Cook¿s Tour¿. Anthony Bourdain was looking for the perfect meal and the book is a splendid read. Bowles was looking for foods that can literally kill a person. ¿The Year of Eating Dangerously¿ is a standout achievement on its own. This is a MUST READ for anyone who wants to understand people through what they eat. It will be placed in the food sections of bookstores but it should also be placed in the anthropological section as well. Read this book ¿ you will relish the experience as much as I did!

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