10 Things You Don't Know About Me
Who is Andrew Zimmern? What are his likes, his dislikes? The host of Bizarre Foods tells Travel Channel all in "10 Things You Don't Know About Me."
At night, after everyone in my house is asleep, I will write for about 2 hours. It’s a ritual. I sit in my kitchen, make a scrambled-egg sandwich on grilled bread and work. Then I walk the dog for the final time of the evening, and I get to bed by 2 a.m. I sleep till 7:30. I do that almost every day of the year that I am not on the road. Once a month, I sleep for 15 hours straight. My wife calls me a sleep camel.
My guilty pleasures are mini hot dogs in barbecue sauce, gas station pizza, Culver’s ButterBurgers, Atomic Fireballs and, when I'm in the right part of the world, gas station fried chicken, boudin and chicken livers.
I have an art history BA from Vassar College and wanted to teach art history for a brief time. I wrote a dual-discipline thesis titled “The Daguerrotype: The Generic Predecessor to the Photograph and its Ramifications Towards Defining Cultural Nationalism in Pre-Civil War America.” The ideas in that monograph were central to developing almost all the work I do today. At a time when Americans couldn’t see images of themselves but thirsted for it, the first images changed the way we look at ourselves and the world around us. The impact of spreading an idea through pictures gave me the inspiration that became my life's work, concerning food and culture. Being able to influence from a platform and deepen our ability to practice patience, tolerance and understanding of the world around us is a great privilege.
Guitar is my bete noire. I own several, I love to play, and I am the worst guitar player of all time. Same with golf. Love to play every chance I get, but I can't play worth a damn. They are passions of mine that I struggle with.
I could eat Chinese food for the rest of my life. I find it that regionally diverse and complex. Not sure I could say that about any other cuisine.
I’m a coffee freak. I keep dozens of rare varietals from around the world in my kitchen, along with 5 different ways to make it. My family hates me for running the grinder so early in the morning. Rwanda, Burundi and some small farms in Panama and Nicaragua grow my favorite beans.
I have eaten dinosaur, 3,000-year-old butter and the foods of tomorrow, such as Soylent and other laboratory creations. It’s a weird and diverse food world. The library of extreme flavors and food experiences is one of my most valued possessions.
When I am watching TV, I binge on whole seasons of some pretty typical hipster stuff: Treme, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, The Wire, Homeland and all the other stuff you would expect. And I also collect some other series that I'm pretty passionate about — all BBC, kind of an obsession. Helen Mirren in Prime Suspect is my favorite. Also: The Young Ones, Line of Duty, This Life (which is a superb law drama), I'm Alan Partridge (which might be the ultimate cringe comedy), The Old Grey Whistle Test (which was a live late-night music show that turned England on to everyone from the New York Dolls to Bob Marley), Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Fawlty Towers and on and on and on and on…
I love Instagram, and everyone seems to like @chefaz. I think it’s a dynamite follow, but I am addicted to following the following: @little_meg_siu_meg, @cockscombsf, @jonavancrail, @patriciaquintana, @ruckergabriel, @danielboulud, @kinkhao, @dominiquecrenn, @andrewcarmellini @foodandwine, @mariobatali, @biggayicecream, @danielkrieger, @chefjacqueslamerde, @matthewjennings and, most of all, @frankprisinzano, who writes so beautifully about food to illustrate his point of view.
My favorite film is The Godfather (Parts 1 and 2). Twice a year, I watch them back-to-back and cook a huge Italian meal that we eat at the end of Part 1. I don't think there’s a better way to spend an afternoon and evening.