Gastro Obscura is a worldwide trip down memory lane and into some strange corners of the globe. Sort of a more fleshed out Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives with an emphasis on the weird or historical. Want to visit the oldest tavern in America? See the White Horse Tavern in Rhode Island. Bored with the Midwest’s butter art? Visit the Salo Art Museum in Ukraine for bacon fat art. There is even a photo of a bust of a bust.
However, this book can teach you stuff without even leaving your chair. Who knew that giant, and thankfully extinct, sloths spread avocado trees throughout Mexico by pooping out their gigantic seeds basically everywhere. As faraway as Russia and colonial America made shelf-stable alcohol from sour milk. Besides making “milk vodka” those same Russians threw a live frog in their milk to keep it fresh. In 2012, a Russian scientist with a childhood of frog milk proved that a certain type of frog would indeed preserve milk. Another fun fact is that ketchup was created in Southeast Asia. Macadamia nuts all descended from a single tree in Queensland Australia. I could go on and on. It’s all fascinating.
Sorted by continent and then by country/region, there is a brief description of the food or place, a bit of its history, and a photograph or drawing. I had great fun reading about the strange foods and rituals from around the world. Gastro Obscura would be a great gift for the newly retired, those looking for exotic places to travel, or anyone who enjoys reading about different cultures. 5 stars and one of my favorites!
Thanks to Workman Publishing Company and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.