REVIEW by Esther Cohen
Eat My Globe: One Year to Go Everywhere and Eat Everything by Simon Majumdar
Free Press, May 2009
Hardcover 304 pp., ISBN: 9781416576020
Is eating the new money, or even, sex? In Simon Majumdar’s charming odd voyage, he, a writer in London born to a Bengali father and a Welch mother, travels the world to eat. (Thankfully he doesn’t pray or love.) He’s 40, and in a search for how to make his life better than it is, he finds, in his own notes, a scrawling message from when he was in his twenties: GO EVERYWHERE, EAT EVERYTHING.
Majumdar’s family’s religion was food. They discussed meals they’d had, and meals they wanted, every single day of his life. Meals are his true passion, his meaning. He pursues both, in country after country. The book is divided the way he traveled: UK, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, China, Mongolia, Russia, and Finland. Then the U.S., and Mexico, Latin America, Southeast Asia, Africa, Spain. He ends in Italy, home of excellent meals.
What he’s looking for is an understanding of life, and the world, from what he eats. He knows thousands—really—of people everywhere, from Mexico to Istanbul. (His New York: Katz’s deli, Ali’s Kabob Café in Queens, Yasuda’s sushi. His New York friends try to talk him into liking pizza. They bring him to Patsy’s in Harlem. He hated the pizza, as always.)
His six appendix sections are wonderful: top twenty foods in the world that he experienced; his martini recipe, his way of cooking dahl, ten worst snacks, ten best snacks, and ten travel tips. Next time he’s in New York, I’d like to meet him for a meal.