Andrew Zimmern Gets a Taste of the American Experience This Season on 'Bizarre Foods'
Andrew Zimmern’s latest discoveries in the upcoming, "Experience America"-themed season of Bizarre Foods are both close to home and even more foreign than some of the foods he samples on his international travels. Who knows how far Lewis and Clark might have gone if they’d known about all the native nutrition surrounding them in the Pacific Northwest? What can the “forgotten coast” of upper Michigan remind us about our own dinner tables? Follow along and find out why, as Andrew puts it, “the modern-day new frontier is food.”
Community Salmon off the Columbia River
Native Americans along the Columbia River Gorge have maintained a tradition of sharing resources with travelers since their ancestors welcomed Lewis and Clark’s team more than 300 years ago. These days, local salmon-smokers give away bags of alder-smoked wing and collar meat to people who can’t afford fancier cuts, or who just happen to pass by and encounter their hospitality.
Gooseneck Barnacles in Oregon
Q: What looks like an extraterrestrial villain from a Ridley Scott movie but lives in Oregon intertidal zones, secretes one of nature’s strongest glues, and inspires forward-thinking chefs (like the guys at Holdfast in Portland) to new flights of fancy? A: The gooseneck barnacle, which Andrew happens to find delicious. This critter debuts in the “Lewis and Clark Trail” episode and appears again later in the season.
The Upper Peninsula's Meat Pasties
Yoopers—that is, residents of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula—teach Andrew a thing or two about pasty production as he explores the Great Lakes. Meat-and-starch-filled pasties (rhymes with “nasty,” not “hasty”) actually built the church basement he visits in Republic, MI, since parishioners raised funds to do so by selling their hand-held meals to workers at local mines. Don’t let the ladies’ beaming faces fool you: They have zero tolerance for pasty-patching when Andrew’s first effort goes awry.
Potluck Dinner With Finnish-American Yoopers
Andrew becomes the local errand boy for a traditional potluck dinner at Mark and Riika Hepokoski’s farm on the “Copper Island” area of Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula, which boasts the greatest concentration of Finnish-Americans in the country. The Hepokoskis are rather isolated from the rest of the country—a single lift bridge connects their community to the outside world—but as Mark puts it, “If that lift bridge ever goes, 350 million Americans are going to be stranded.” The shared sense of reliance and community among these neighbors couldn’t be plainer.
More Gooseneck Barnacles
Recognize this guy? (He was tough to see in his first appearance in this post.) It’s the gooseneck barnacle, making a cameo in Andrew’s exploration of the Pacific Coast Highway. Gooseneck barnacles are said to taste like a cross between lobster and clam—and in some parts of the world, they retail for up to 150 euros (nearly $200) per kilo. With a proper license, you can forage for them on the West Coast for free.
The South's Celebrated Barbecue
Andrew reaches for a rib at Fox Bros Bar-B-Q, where a couple of Texans (Jonathan and Justin Fox) have been serving Atlantans their celebrated barbecue for nearly a decade. How robust is their business? A century-old tree fell on one of their dining rooms in 2012, and they were open again less than 48 hours later. Andrew pays them a visit on his trip down the Southern BBQ Trail later this season.
Georgia's Record-Breaking Largemouth Bass
The largemouth bass became Georgia’s state fish in 1970. (Don’t tell Georgia, but it’s a state symbol in Florida, Alabama and Mississippi, too.) So what’s Georgia’s special claim? Well, a 19-year-old farm boy named George Perry caught a 22-pound, 4-ounce largemouth there in 1932. His world record still held circa Andrew’s visit as part of his Civil-War-related culinary explorations more than 80 years later.
Caviar in Oklahoma
Andrew’s travels along Route 66 take him to Fort Gibson, Okla., where a prehistoric species of sturgeon—the paddlefish—can grow more than 6 feet long, weigh in at an average of 60 pounds and produce some of the most celebrated caviar outside of the Caspian Sea. Oklahoma is one of the world’s biggest producers of paddlefish caviar, and its Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) has strict regulations: No individual in the state can possess more than three pounds of the stuff at a time, it must all come from the same fish, and it can’t be transported beyond state borders. Profits from Oklahoma paddlefish caviar sold to outsiders go to the DWC, which protects the population in return. Where else will Andrew get his kicks? Tune in and find out.
Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern premieres tonight with Andrew exploring the Lewis and Clark Trail. Catch it on Travel Channel at 9|8c.