Being a bit of a foodie I jumped at the opportunity to review “The Food Traveler’s Handbook“. My cynical self was at first skeptical about the book’s content before it had even been delivered. I thought to myself, “What could possibly be in here that I haven’t already been exposed to in an Anthony Bourdain hosted travel show”? Upon receiving the digital copy I was quick to notice the author was the Legal Nomad herself, Jodi Ettenberg, whom I have enjoyed as a frequent guest to both “Amateur Traveler” and “This Week in Travel” podcasts. My suspicion suddenly waned as my appetite increased.
Appetizer. The book starts with introducing the author’s gradual realization of the role food played in her travels and it’s importance. Where the Western world has an impression that “cheaper eats” are so often associated with poor quality or over pocessed foods, often the freshest and tastiest food in much of the wold can be found at markets, food stalls and street vendors alike. The author expounds on this theme and how it can serve as a gateway for travelrs to break the ice with locals and get closer to a country’s culture and history.
Entrée. The meat and potatoes of the book takes the reader deeper into this food centric journey exploring customs, etiquette, spices, overcoming the fear of illness and challenging your pallet. There are detailed chapters covering how to source safe places to eat and making use of technology to aid in your search. Allergies and other dietary restrictions are also addressed to aid in eliminating them as barriers to travel.
Desert. I hope you’ve saved room as there is a generous helping of resources in the book’s final pages. An extensive listing of online sites are neatly organized by topic to aid further exploration of etiquette, customs, trip planning ans satisfying your appetite. In addition, there is a compelling book list with titles covering travel memoirs, cuisine origins and food’s impact on history.
In all this is a very well organzied and informative guide that can serve the seasoned and novice foodie traveler alike. It is an enticing read straight through or one can easily zoom in on a topic of coice form the table of contents. The pasges are nicely pepperred throughout with topical quotes of other qriteres, further resources and referece boxes. It will certainly inspire you to plan that next trip with a new found hunger. Bon Appetit!
Disclosure: A free copy of this book was given to the volunteer with the expectation that they would write a fair and honest review of it.