His­tor­i­cal hunger

An­drew Zim­mern chows down on Amer­ica’s early eats

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - COOKING THIS WEEK - By An­drew War­ren

An­drew Zim­mern sure does get around. The chef is prob­a­bly one of the more well-trav­eled TV per­son­al­i­ties out there, with his long-run­ning Travel Chan­nel se­ries “Bizarre Foods” tak­ing him around the globe to sam­ple some of the more un­usual dishes and cuisines out there.

For the new sea­son (its 21st!), pre­mier­ing Tues­day, July 25, on Travel Chan­nel, Zim­mern stays close to home and sticks with all-Amer­i­can foods. In his cross-coun­try trek, he doesn’t just seek out mod­ern cui­sine, oh no — he heads out on an ad­ven­ture through time, too, and looks for foods that are ripped right out of the na­tion’s his­tory.

In the July 25 sea­son pre­miere, Zim­mern seeks out the his­tory of cow­boy culture. With a cow­boy hat on his head, he vis­its a mod­ern­day va­quero, who shares with him a cen­turies-old dish: the bar­ba­coa, which is a whole cow’s head that’s slowly roasted un­til it’s per­fectly ten­der.

Sound gross? Not for Zim­mern, who’s not averse to try­ing — and usu­ally en­joy­ing — any food, no mat­ter how off-putting it may be to our mod­ern sen­si­bil­i­ties. That be­comes ap­par­ent later in the same episode, when he chows down on an old-fash­ioned chuck­wagon stew made of calf heart, stom­ach, liver, tongue and marrow.

Later this sea­son, the four-time James Beard Award-win­ning chef and TV host re­traces Paul Re­vere’s leg­endary ride, cruises down the Mis­sis­sippi and recre­ates leg­endary pi­o­neer Daniel Boone’s fa­mous jour­ney. Ev­ery step of the way, he mixes his­tory with moder­nity, with a spe­cial fo­cus on the foods that were en­joyed as Amer­ica was built.

This is far from the first time that “Bizarre Foods” has stayed home. Sea­sons 7 through 12 even had the ti­tle “Bizarre Foods Amer­ica,” and the last sea­son, which aired ear­lier this year, also stayed in the United States. It just goes to show that in a coun­try as large and di­verse as this one, there’s al­ways more tasty — and bizarre — foods to be dis­cov­ered. “Bizarre Foods” re­turns for sea­son 21, pre­mier­ing Tues­day, July 25, on Travel Chan­nel.

An­drew Zim­mern as seen in “Bizarre Foods”

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