Friday, November 12, 2010


Bookstore shelves are crammed with adventure books.  Climbing the tallest peak of every continent.  Walking backwards across Australia.  Riding a unicycle across Russia.  Around the world on a skateboard.  But who has pedalled 15,000 miles in search of the perfect meal?  Meet Tom Kevill - Davies whose idea to search for the perfect meal came to him while on a cycling trip in France "the center of the gastronomic universe, and also the birthplace of the bicycle".

Riding a British racing-green touring bike and carrying 120 pounds of gear, Kevill - Davies recounts many adventures and a host of interesting people and situations that will leave you shaking your head at what he is willing to eat.   A warning here - if you are at all squeamish and not in favour of eating animals that our culture considers to be pets - then don't pick this book off the shelf!

Other than that, I must say that this is the first book I've read that made my stomach rumble at his decription of some of his meals.  "Booooooom!  My senses exploded in what appeared to be some kind of orgasm.  The meat was unfathomably tender and each bite released ambrosial juices into my mouth.  It was a dream come true and I truly believed I had found the perfect meal.  But in a land where meat is a luxury, nothing was put to waste, and my carnivorous feasting had only just begun...."

In South America upon meeting a fellow cyclist: "Cycle tourists are like dogs, and with our brief introduction over, we began sniffing each others bottoms.  How much weight are you carrying?  What pedals are you using?  Caliper of disc brakes?  Drop handlebars or flat?  Slick tires or knobby ones?  A derailleur or internal gear system?  Sniff.  Sniff."

The book has an interesting cultural perspective - a tailgate party as seen through British eyes: "Big men, big trucks, big grills and big cuts of meat.  Wherever I looked, food was being prepared and eaten on a grand scale, but overwhelmed and intimidated by this multitude of football crazy, asphalt-dwelling omnivores, I didn't know where to begin."

The book isn't all about food either - you can imagine some of the situations that anyone riding 15,000 miles through the U.S.A., Canada, Mexico, Central and South America would have.  I'll leave you with this nugget: "When I declined again, he bent his other hand behind his back.  When it returned it was gripping a gleaming, silver revolver.  The heavy weapon hit the table and I stared in disbelief at the barrel pointing towards my chest.  "Tocarlo!" he said quietly, and holding up my arm he tapped a substantial mound of white powder onto the back of my hand, and at gunpoint I sniffed.".

No comments:

Post a Comment