Move over, Anthony Bourdain, here's Michael Ohlsson
- Gary Soup Feb 22, 2007 09:34 AM
In searching for a particular dish I wanted to try in Shanghai (I'll leave it to you to guess), I stumbled across Weird Meat, a blog by reformed vegan Michael Ohlsson. It's such a gem I can't believe it hasn't been mentioned here before, but searching was fruitless (and weird meat-less).
Despite the title, this blog is not meant to shock or tittilate, certainly less so than the posturing of Bourdain (which Ohlsson gently twits for wussiness in one post) occasionally becomes; it is a sober-sided and truly intrepid expedition in food anthropology, even accompanied by reading lists.
That is a good blog - some well written pieces.
I know you don't like Bourdain, but I don't find his position to be that shocking or tittilating. I don't think that he includes foods that are strange to Americans - whether offal or bugs - for the sake of posturing, but rather because they are there where he travels, and he feels that eating these foods shouldn't be such a taboo. He isn't pushing strangeness for TV or celebrity, as much as he is challenging the ickys and eeewws that come from so many folks that really only want to eat grilled cheese sandwiches.
Bourdain does have a cultural background (French) that loves certain offal - and when he runs into good examples, he does turn on his "I love the Nasty Bits" commentary. All of us that grew up in different cultures eat things that are not the norm for most Americans. You don't even have to leave the country to run into chitterlings and jowls - which some Yankees would eeeww. But I don't think anyone has to push strangeness for strangeness' sake - just a shout here and there for open mindedness to try things that are not so strange to others. Part of it is coming to the understanding that eating the rest of the animal is the norm, and has been for all of our existence - we've just become so ridiculously sanitized that a lot of Americans eeeww even more common, delicious items, like liver - even foie gras!
I love this comment from the site: "I've eaten dog, cat, rat, cockroach, camel penis, bee larve, scorpions, spiders, night hawk, and pre-born duck embryo without feeling ill. Can't say the same for Taco Bell or McDonalds."