Review: Eat My Globe by Simon Majumdar
For many in the US, Simon Majumdar is a bit of an unknown entity. Is he a chef? Is he a food critic? Is he an internationally renowned restauranteur? Why is he on TV so much? Who the hell is Simon Majumdar?
Over the past few years I have had the pleasure of watching Simon critique food on Food Network hits like The Next Iron Chef and it’s benefactor Iron Chef America. In that time we have become friends in the way that you only can in the cyber age – via Twitter and Facebook. In September Simon will be joining forces with Alex Guarnaschelli and another of my virtual friends Troy Johnson of the under-appreciated series Crave for the new show Undercover Critics. In UC the three noted critics, employing hidden cameras, survey restaurants. They then share their thoughts with the owners so they may fix the problems before being formally reviewed.
Back to the earlier question of who the hell is Simon Majumdar? There was a time when Simon was a powerful player in the world of publishing. But in his early 40’s he began to feel that life had more to offer than the daily grind of meetings, meetings and still more meetings. One day he stumbled across a sort-of bucket list of goals he’d written as a school boy. On that list were the instructions to go everywhere and eat everything.
Simon quit his job and embarked on a geocentric culinary quest to do just that. The resulting book, Eat My Globe (Free Press) is why you now see him your TV. Majumdar has an opinion and he knows how to express it. None other than Anthony Bourdain is quoted on the cover of Eat My Globe saying, “the bastard can write.” There are lots of other praises that adorn the cover as well but none of them are as cool as a profanity-laced blurb from Tony.
Bourdain is right about Simon’s prowess with a phrase. Observe:
Children like me.
Don’t laugh. It’s true. Kids love me. I may look like the child catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang but for some reason children seem to take to me. At dinner parties, I am inevitably the one sitting in the corner with my host’s kids playing games rather than indulging in series adult conversation. On the few occasions when I am invited to christenings or weddings, I invariably plunk myself down at the children’s stable to talk to them rather than listen to some stranger tell me all about his career as an accountant while spitting bits of cold poached salmon in my direction
Kids just love their adorable Uncle Simon.
Eric Balic, however, hated my guts.
If anyone ever tells you that traveling by train is romantic, I want you to kill him for me and I want you to do it slowly.
Simon even has his own panache for travel advice:
The Japanese train station bento box is definitely one of the world’s great foodie treasures.
Along his journey he encountered many different cultures and practices. Here is a taste:
There is a reason that Russian men have a life expectancy of only fifty-nine years, and almost always die before their wives.
They want to.
Butcher blocks held every kind of animal imaginable, and the putrid smell of the meat brought a wave of nausea over me.
And of course, there was dog.
Eat My Globe is exceptionally well written. It is humorous, intelligent and not the least bit pretentious. It has something for everyone, even fans of weird food. On his travels Simon ate the aforementioned dog as well as rat, cod sperm, fermented mare’s milk and even rotten shark meat to name a few.
So the next time you’re watching ICA and you find yourself wondering who does this bald-headed British jerk think he is? just grab your copy of Eat My Globe and refresh your memory. For more answers to the question of who the hell Simon Majumdar is just visit his web site HERE.