[Sca-cooks] A curious question about the rotted meat mythos

Dragon dragon at crimson-dragon.com
Thu Mar 13 09:55:45 PDT 2008

On Thu, March 13, 2008 05:33, Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius wrote:
> Many would argue that being uncomfortable with the abnormal is
> basically the definition of xenophobia. Of course, it doesn't have to
> have a negative connotation. Xenophobic superiority is something else
> again; I don't know your husband and wouldn't dream of accusing him of
> such a thing. I'm just accusing _some_ viewers of TV shows about
> bizarre foods of it, and the producers of such programs of probably
> being aware of, and capitalizing on it.

I'm only going to reply to this part of the discussion as I think that it
has otherwise been handled far better than I can tackle it...

But first, the OP keeps calling the host of the "Bizarre Foods" show
"Andrew Zimmerman" his name is Andrew Zimmern. Sorry, getting people's
names wrong is a serious pet peeve of mine stemming from continuously
having to deal with people screwing mine up (my mundane name that is, and
it isn't even that difficult).

OK, now back to the discussion.

I think Adamantius is correct here. I've seen this show and it IS geared
to evoke sensationalism and evoke the "ew" factor from the audience. It's
not as blatant as something like "Fear Factor" but it is definitely a
deliberate element of the show.

Most of what Mr. Zimmern eats on the show is pretty non-threatening to my
mind, for example, one of the recent episodes I watched was him in Spain.
He ate suckling pig and jamon serrano and a lot of seafood. I think the
only things on the entire show I wouldn't personally eat are the bull
testicles and the barnacles.

Another was him bumming around the gulf coast... Boudin is "weird"?
Really? Alligator? Grouper? Mullet? Nothing on that show was particularly
weird or surprising to me.

Which brings me to my point. Food preferences and tastes are very much a
cultural phenomenon. The culture in which we are raised tends to shape our
preferences and expectations of what serves as acceptable food. Education
and exposure to other things can change that for some people. Having an
open mind about this can be very rewarding but the fact of the matter is
that a large majority of people are not inclined to be adventurous in the
realm of food. In short, most people are at least passively xenophobic in
that they are afraid to try new things.

There are culinary adventurers in this world and there are those who play
it safe. I think the main appeal of the "Bizzare Foods" show to its
audience is to provide some vicarious thrill to those who are not of the
adventurous bent and I do think there is very much a xenophobic smugness
attached to that. The same goes for Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations",
it is entertaining but he is always trying to push how "unusual" things

  Venimus, Saltavimus, Bibimus (et naribus canium capti sumus)

More information about the Sca-cooks mailing list