James and I finished reading Eat My Globe this weekend. Majumdar certainly did make a valiant effort to "go everywhere and eat everything" in one year. Like Eric Weiner he tried the harkl (rotten shark meat) in Iceland in the dead of winter, as well as rat, snake, dog, camel and seahorse, in various other locales. As James suggests in his guest post of August 28, the personal connections Majumdar makes during his journey seem to be what truly makes his quest worthwhile. His arrival in Senegal, for instance, is less than auspicious, but once he makes a connection with his new friend, Bath, Senegal becomes one of his favorite places.
In some places he mentions that he finds a lot of restaurants that cater to homesick Europeans and Americans, that don't serve the traditional, local fare. He usually skips these places and keeps looking until he finds something more authentic. Who can blame him? If you are out to "eat everything" you certainly don't want to waste time with "chips and eggs". Even if you don't want to eat everything (and Majumdar does include a list of 10 things he ate so we don't have to) trying some local food is worthwhile. When my family travels, we try to find out what local delicacies are to try. We didn't know about "pasties", for example, before we went to the upper peninsula, or yoopie, of Michigan, or "beef on weck" before our visit to Niagara Falls. One thing we only learned about through YouTube is Food on a Stick at the Minnesota State Fair
Last night James and I had celebrated with tasty wrap up of the book at Westport Rivers Vineyard at their "5-mile" dinner. All the food served was grown or raised within 5 miles of the winery. I think Majumdar would have heartily approved of this very local meal, which included super-fresh soft cheese and basil that literally melted in my mouth, delectable chicken braised in wine, fresh local vegetables and potatoes, with fresh blueberry buckle for dessert. The two appetizers, and main course were each perfectly paired with wine from the vineyard.
I learned once at a library workshop on making the library a "destination" to try to strike a balance for visitors between entertainment and education as well as making the experience active and passive. Westport Rivers has definitely found this "sweet spot". The evening began with a sunset tour of the vineyard and explanation of fermentation process. At dinner we were seated at a table for 9, with a family of seven that included 3 generations. We enjoyed meeting some new folks and had a good conversation. This was the third experience dinner I have had at Westport Winery. If you are ever on Massachusetts South Coast check out the Winery's website to see if they have one scheduled. In the summer enjoy their free sunset music series on Friday nights.
To find out more about Simon Majumdar visit his website at http://www.doshermanos.co.uk/
Read his blog at eatmyglobe.blogspot.com