Tuesday, November 24, 2009

How Bizarre

Approximately six months ago, I wrote my first article about my picky eater and some of the meal time challenges our family faced. Presently, I am happy to report that my son is a mostly reformed picky eater. What brought about this change? Was it my amazing parenting skills, you ask? Admittedly, no. Well, some of the changes might be due to my extraordinary parenting skills, but I must give credit where credit is due. Here’s what happened:

During the peak of all this “picky eating” business, my husband discovered a show on the Travel Channel called Bizarre Foods. Watching episodes of this show quickly became father-son bonding time. In fact, we girls were often shushed and sent from the room during show time. Bizarre Foods is hosted by an extremely energetic chef and expert foodie named Andrew Zimmern. During each episode, he travels to all corners of the world, sampling all manner of cuisine. So enthusiastic is he, you wish you could join him on each adventure. My husband and son were fascinated by this show. Where would Andrew go next? Who would he meet? What would he eat? You would think this would be the last show a finicky nine year old would want to watch. You would be wrong.

SO – do I think Andrew Zimmern influenced my son to cast aside his beloved chicken nugget and try something new? Well…shortly after he began watching the show, my son (who would previously gag at the mere mention of seafood) ate a very generous serving of calamari. That’s fancy talk for squid.

Recently, there was talk at ilunchbox.com about how it would be cool to begin featuring interviews with celebrity chefs and food personalities. Hmmmm. I wondered if Andrew could spare a few minutes. If not for me, for a curious nine year old boy who would be thrilled to have the opportunity to ask his favorite TV host a few questions. I gave it a shot and heard back from Andrew’s “people” within minutes. My nine year old had scored his first celebrity interview. Not too shabby!

So here it is. Andrew Zimmern as interviewed by nine year old aspiring foodie (and my son!), Adam Rapp:

Adam Rapp: What is the grossest thing you ever tasted? Did it make you throw up?
Andrew Zimmern: It’s a toss up between the stinky tofu I tried in Taiwan or my mother-in-law’s pot roast. Both were pretty bad, but I didn’t throw up.

Adam: What is your favorite place to visit? Do you speak any languages besides English?
AZ: I speak what I like to call “kitchen Spanish and French”, but English is the only language I’m fluent in.

Adam: What is your favorite sport to watch? Do you play any sports?
AZ: I love sports, especially football and baseball. I’m a huge Yankees and NY Giants fan!

Adam: What is the scariest thing that ever happened to you on your show?
AZ: We almost sunk our boat in Samoa— I’ve never been so scared for my life! Also, when I was supposed to jump off a reactor in South Africa on the first season of Bizarre World. I am terrified of heights and just couldn’t jump.

Adam: What toppings do you like on your pizza?
AZ: Prosciutto, sausage, pepperoni... I like lots of meat on my pizza!

Adam: When you were a kid, what was the candy you picked most when you trick or treated?
AZ: Whatever I could get my hands on! I love anything that’s chocolaty with a crunch— Snicker’s, Twix, Butterfinger.

Adam: What is your least favorite food?
AZ: Walnuts! They’re disgusting!

Adam: What is your favorite vegetable? What is your least favorite vegetable?
AZ: I’m a big fan of all veggies, especially Brussels sprouts, asparagus and squash.

Adam: Do you like regular stuff like hot dogs and burgers?
AZ: Definitely. Love them. We grill at my house all the time during the summer. My wife is a meat and potatoes gal, so we eat a lot of “regular” food when I’m in town.

Adam: What do you usually eat for breakfast?
AZ: Yogurt, granola and a giant coffee.

Bonus question from Adam's mom:

Me: What is your advice for parents of picky eaters?
AZ: I can’t tell you how many emails I get every week from parents thanking me for influencing their son or daughter to try new foods. Whether it’s through shows like Bizarre Foods or Bizarre World, or books and songs about food, use entertainment to open their minds. Admit it: You didn’t like Spinach until you saw what it did to Popeye!

A big thanks to Andrew Zimmern and his Mediamonger Molly for making this happen!

To find out more about Andrew Zimmern and Bizarre Foods check out:




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