Monday, April 11, 2016

Peace and Porridge by Anika Redhead ****

Peace and Porridge by Anika Redhead is a small book about strange food experiences around the world. Interspersed with incredible and/or inedible meals, such as the title porridge...
"When I looked at it, I didn't see porridge but cat spew ... I picked up my spoon, dragged it through the mess, filled it and let half of it slide off again. ... I moved the spoon to my mouth, stuffed it in and swallowed."
... was practical advice such as chicken and rice were generally safe and tasty anywhere they were available, which turned out to be almost everywhere. (This raised the unanswered question: why is chicken the most popular meat on the planet?)

One interesting experience was a restaurant that was pitch black.
"The dark also made me passive and obedient. Ever since my husband discovered this, he has removed half the light bulbs in our house, but so far without the results he had hoped for."
More advice on finding authentic local food.
"If you take the easy road towards English menus, you are well on your way to a place called 'tourist trap.' ... If the place is decorated, get suspicious."
The author is from the Netherlands, and seemed to have a special contempt for Germans, even though, or because, her in-laws are German. With her preference for vegetarian fare and distaste for alcohol (traveling the world as she does, firm rules and survival are incompatible), German fare was not a good fit.
"Vegetarian were supposed to live on tomatoes, cucumber and sausage, for the latter are not considered meat."
She also had a special dislike of Oktoberfest (which is celebrated in September), even though she admitted she never attended.

Here are a few more tasty tidbits as an appetizer. If you like these, I recommend you read the book.
"although Americans don't know anything about chocolate, they make the world's greatest fudge."
"don't ever visit a country whose food you like to eat in your home town, because it won't ever taste the same."
In keeping with the title, even though the author dislikes much of what she encounters, she never loses her sense of humor or respect for her hosts. An enjoyable travelogue to some of the less visited places and eateries.

Notice: I was given a free copy of this book for my Kindle reader.

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