Book Review: Fierce Food by Christa Weil. "I laughed. I gagged." - Eddie Lin.
A fine and fierce addition to any library.
About a week ago a book called Fierce Food: The Intrepid Diner’s Guide to the Unusual, Exotic, and Downright Bizarre found its way to my front door via the US Post. It was a review copy sent to me courtesy of the author Christa Weil. I learned from the very first page that Weil's previous effort, titled Secondhand Chic, is a guidebook to thrift store and yard sale shopping, etc. This fact triggered some skepticism: How could a low-rent Carrie Bradshaw possibly write a book touting the challenges of choking down chapulines and chicken feet? She proves her mettle from chapter one starting with armadillo. Under the word armadillo is the icon of a bomb with its fuse lit; in her book this is shorthand for "Eating may cause pain/disease/death." This bomb is one of several quick-reference icons describing each delicacies particular set of problems like, er, excruciating death. (By the way, eating undercooked armadillo can cause Hansen's disease aka leprosy.) Weil goes on to tackle tarantula, samples scorpion and bites on bark, and she also gets into the abstrusities of the exotic cuisine world, for example, culinary techniques like quaq, an Inuit method of serving food.
Fierce Food is not only a highly informative, well-researched and fascinating read, it is laugh out loud funny. Fiercely funny. It's an uber-smart exotic foods guide with fart jokes (see section on the beyond gassy Jerusalem artichoke), so there's something for everyone!
Anthony Bourdain needs to find this book in his stocking this Christmas. Then all he has to do is go down the Fierce Food list and make his tv show accordingly.
I'd go shopping and noshing with Christa Weil any time! I've barely scratched the surface of exotic cuisine compared to Christa so there's a lot of catching up to do. I'll just need to be sure there are no pesky bomb icons next to my chow.