Book Review: ‘The Food Traveler’s Handbook’

Full disclosure: I know Jodi Ettenberg, author of “The Food Traveler’s Handbook.” I’ve eaten with Jodi and explored cities with her; she’s even inspected the spices in my Istanbul sublet apartment. Rather than let my friendship with her just guarantee a great review of her book, I will use it to vouch for the fact that she’s the perfect person to write a food guide for travelers: intrepid, resourceful, curious and (of course) always hungry.

On the road full time since 2008, Jodi has explored the world through food on her blog Legal Nomads. To keep costs down and her palate happy, Jodi strives to eat as locally as possible, chasing down the best street eats, cab driver hangouts and mom-and-pop restaurants. With this handbook, she shares her tips and resources for eating well, cheaply, and safely anywhere in the world. The guide is peppered (pardon the pun) with anecdotes from Jodi and other travelers (blogger Nicola Twilley recommends revisiting a market at different times of the day for different experiences), quirky facts (how about a 1742 recipe for ketchup that will keep for 20 years?!) and guidelines for local dining culture (you’ll keep getting your coffee refilled in Jordan until you learn the proper way to shake the cup and signal you’ve had enough). The book is infused with an enthusiasm and passion for food that’s contagious, and you may quickly find that planning a tour of the world through dumplings seems like a must.Jodi’s travel style may not be for everyone – some people crave familiarity and easy comfort, especially when traveling, and the prospect of eating a mysterious dish at a tiny food stall might be daunting. But for those looking to expand their horizons through food, connect with locals while traveling or just get a good meal without risking food poisoning, “The Food Traveler’s Handbook” is worth tucking into. Just be wary of reading it on an empty stomach, or you might find yourself, as I did, propelled out of bed at 8 a.m. with a strong craving for soup.

The Food Traveler’s Handbook” is available in paperback and as an e-book for Kindle. Additional books in the Traveler’s Handbooks series include guides for Career Breaks, Solo Travel, Luxury Travel and Volunteer Travel. Additional resources for food travelers can also be found on Jodi’s blog here.

[Photo credit: Jodi Ettenberg]

Two routes, one trip – Road trip tip

Before embarking on a road trip, map out two different routes — a slower, scenic route and a shorter, faster (less scenic) route.

In case you need to reach your destination sooner than planned, you’ll have your faster route. However, try to take the more intriguing scenic route. Grab a camera, hop out, and snap some shots of the beautiful scenery you pass by. Discover the hottest eateries on your journey. Be sure to stop in, indulge in the local eats, and continue along your trip-capturing memorable moments.

NOTE: Make sure to print a copy of your scenic route and your fastest route even if you have GPS. Just in case…

Gadlinks for Monday 9.7.09

Welcome to a special Labor Day edition of Gadlinks! For me, this holiday is all about celebrating the end of summer with family and friends — and eating a lot of good food. Check out these travel reads to find out what other cool Labor Day haps are going on around the world.

´Til tomorrow, have a great Labor Day evening!

More Gadlinks here.

What the World Eats

When I lived in Zambia, my neighbors frequently asked what the “staple food” in the US is. Considering their diet is based almost exclusively on one food (maize), they assumed Americans ate one thing at virtually every meal.

Initially, I explained that Americans eat a lot of corn, vegetables, meats, and dairy, but for a quick answer, I usually said, “potatoes.” This answer was convenient: it was short; they knew what potatoes were; and it didn’t make me appear especially privileged.

Of course, people eat lots of different kinds of food. Time is running an excellent photo essay called What the World Eats — excerpted from one of our favorite books, Hungry Planet — that profiles 16 different families; how much they spend each week on groceries; and detailing their favorite foods. This family in Chad survives on $1.23 a week; meanwhile, the German family spends upwards of $500 per week on food!

Sadly, after seeing the American family’s groceries, versus those of, say, the Sicilian family, it’s no wonder we’re a nation of overweight people. Where’s my banana?

[Via Vagabondish]