Saturday, February 6, 2010

Eat My Globe : One Year to Go Everywhere and Eat Everything - Simon Majumdar

Summary: When Simon Majumdar hit forty, he realized there had to be more to life than his stable but uninspiring desk job. As he wondered how to escape his career, he rediscovered a list of goals he had scrawled out years before, the last of which said: Go everywhere, eat everything. With that, he had found his mission--a yearlong search for the delicious, and curious, and the curiously delicious, which he names Eat My Globe and memorably chronicles in these pages.

In Majumdar's world, food is everything. Like every member of his family, he has a savant's memory for meals, with instant recall of dishes eaten decades before. Simon's unstoppable wit and passion for all things edible (especially those things that once had eyes, and a face, and a mom and pop) makes this an armchair traveler's and foodie's delight--Majumdar does all the heavy lifting, eats the heavy foods (and suffers the weighty consequences), so you don't have to. He jets to thirty countries in just over twelve months, diving mouth-first into local cuisines and cultures...

The meat of the story...is the friends that Simon makes as he eats. They are as passionate about food as he is and are eager to welcome him into their homes and tables, share their choicest meals, and reveal their local secrets. (Summary from book jacket - Image from eatmyglobe.blogspot.com )

My review: At 40 years old, Simon Majumdar was faced with a lack luster job and, to his abject horror, a declining ability to move urinal cakes. Can you say “impending mid-life crisis”? Eat My Globe is the expression of one man’s desire to eat truly amazing food as it was meant to be prepared -- pad thai in Thailand, Texan barbecue, Japanese sushi, Argentine steaks, and countless other less-famous-but-local fare from around the world.

Eat My Globe was an impressive combination of my three favorite things to do - read, eat, and travel. The first two I do well enough on my own, but for the last few weeks I have opted to travel vicariously along with Simon as he flew, walked, and ate his way around the globe. Flat out obsessed with all things culinary, Simon enjoys the pleasures of a well-prepared meal and thinks nothing of licking his fingers or, indeed, his entire plate in the middle of a crowded restaurant. I couldn’t help but love Simon for his tactless and unapologetic way of expressing his opinions to anyone within earshot. His self-deprecating sense of humor and clever phrasing provided not only an entertaining read, but also a fascinating account of the meals he ate in gluttonous hobbit-style.

I was both horrified and delighted by the food that Simon willingly consumed. It would have been much easier for him to say he was going to eat only the world’s best food, but instead he chose to eat everything, devouring lamb’s head, tripe, and tongue dumplings with relish. While our taste in food might not always align (I will always prefer pizza to veal brains for the simple reason that I will never ever try veal brains), I can’t help but admire his spirit and sheer nerve.

If I could describe books as well as Simon describes food, then I would be a world-class reviewer and a kazillionaire. His imagery had me chuckling, salivating, or near retching on practically every page. I almost hurled reading about his encounters with stir fried rat, rotten shark meat, and cod sperm sushi and actually hurt myself laughing at his account of the discovery of a breaded, deep fried banana. Seriously, I think I pulled a muscle.

While Eat My Globe, doesn’t really have a deep plot or existential message to share, I adored my time with it. The chapters aren’t very long (though there are many), which makes it conveniently easy to put the book down, fix something to tasty to eat, and then come back to it without feeling disconnected from the story. I’m not entirely certain that Simon learned a great deal from his journey across the globe, however, what I experienced was an often humorous, occasionally gross, but mostly delicious account of his exotic tastes and travels.

My Rating: 4.5 Stars. For the sensitive reader, there are occasional moments of crassness and profanity. Also, if you have a problem with gluttony this book probably is not your bag.

Sum it up: A sarcastic, savory travelogue that leaves you hungry for more…and willing to eat almost anything. Sure to be a hit with the food lit crowd.

2 comments:

justpeachy36 said...

This sounds very interesting.


BTW... I gave you a shoutout on my blog today.

http://debsbookbag.blogspot.com/2010/02/giveaway-saturday-7.html

MindySue said...

Why thank you!!!

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