I really enjoy Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern on the Travel Channel. First and foremost, Zimmern is an extremely likable guy. He has a lot of passion for experiencing new cultures via the way people eat, which is a really cool way to break down barriers in language and customs. He’s ruthlessly honest in his descriptions of what he’s eating, what kind of texture it has, and what kind of flavor it has. His reactions are genuine. And I find the food that he eats on that show fascinating. Where else on TV are you going to see someone sampling snake bile, volcano rabbit head, or camel kidney? Last but not least, I have a soft spot for Zimmern because he reminds me of my own well-traveled brother, who is also bald and enjoys introducing people to new cultures via their food. His four year old son even loves the show because Zimmern reminds him of his father/my brother. But I’m not a food critic. I write about movies and TV. Keeping that in mind, here are several dishes eaten in movies that I’d like to see Zimmern try.
I should probably note that there’s a caveat here. These are foods that someone would have to either willingly consume or order in a restaurant. Anything that someone was tricked into eating during a movie has been excluded.
Chilled Monkey Brains, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
Let’s get the obvious choice out of the way first. When people mention “bizarre food eaten in movies” to you, a gigantic percentage of you will no doubt think of the chilled monkey brains from this movie. It was even served as a dessert, straight from the monkey’s head. This was only after an appetizer of baby snakes, eyeball soup, and beetles. While it’s fun to think about a meal of these truly bizarre items, it’s probably worth noting that people in India don’t really eat this stuff, at least not to my knowledge.
Lamb fries (sheep testicles), Funny Farm (1988)
“Call me Mr. Lamb Fries”, said Andy Farmer (Chevy Chase) after downing a record-setting 30 lamb fries. It was only afterwards that he found out that they’re sheep testicles. I wouldn’t ask Mr. Zimmern to eat the record amount. That’s a task for his food show peer, Adam Richman. A regular order of sheep testicles would do.
Fish stew with eel heads; Glazed pig’s feet (pied du porc), Frenzy (1972)
One of the running gags in Hitchcock’s thriller, Frenzy, was that the detective’s wife was taking a French cooking course. Throughout the film, she would present her husband with the most bizarre, vile-looking dishes imaginable. And with Hitchcock being Hitchcock, he’d let the camera linger for an uncomfortable amount of time on these unappealing dishes.
Cheese made from human breast milk, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006)
As strange and revolting as cheese made with human breast milk sounds, it’s not the worst thing you could imagine. After all, human breast milk is our first food source. It would be cheese made entirely from ingredients that we’ve all consumed at one point or another. Still… I’m not sure I could eat it, at least not without some sort of endorsement from Mr. Zimmern.
A live octopus, Oldboy (2003)
As I understand it, there are actually parts of East Asia where this is considered a delicacy. It even has a name–sannakji. I’ll go a step further and say that it’s altogether possible that Andrew Zimmern has eaten this dish. I know that he’s eaten octopus ice cream in an episode of the show in Japan. He compared it to “seafood yogurt”, before taking a bite and declaring that it was “just wrong”.
Prison wine, Let’s Go To Prison (2006)
You have to wash down these food items somehow. What better way than using prison wine, which Chi McBride’s character makes in the toilet? If you don’t believe me that this is a real thing, google it. You’ll find recipes.
An entire bottle of maple syrup, Super Troopers (2001)
With all due respect to Jay Chandrasekhar, anything Jay Chandrasekhar can do, Andrew Zimmern can do better when it comes to consuming outlandish food items. I will admit that this item seems like a bit of a stretch, as the only reason anyone would consume this much maple syrup would be because they were challenged to do so. If Mr. Zimmern wanted to pass this one off to Adam Richman, I wouldn’t cry foul.
Werner Herzog’s shoe, Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe (1980)
As you can probably guess, this was the result of a lost bet. Herzog bet that Errol Morris would never complete the film Gates of Heaven. True to his word, when Morris completed the film, Herzog ate his shoe, and it was filmed for a documentary short directed by Les Blank. It was prepared with garlic, herbs, and stock. If Mr. Zimmern would be willing to give it a shot, I’d allow him to prepare it however he’d like. As a world class chef, I’m sure he could make it infinitely more palatable.
Human flesh, Alive (1993)
Eating human flesh is where the whole idea for this list came from. The diversity of the products that are consumed on Bizarre Foods has made me joke many times, “I can’t wait until he eats human flesh”. Well, given the rest of this list, I think now is the time to make it happen. I’m not really sure of any ethical way to make it happen, though. Someone would have to willingly volunteer to have a hunk of their flesh torn out, prepared, and served. I wouldn’t do it.