In what's likely one of the most epic crossovers the world of food-related podcasts has witnessed, TV personalities Andrew Zimmern and Alton Brown just recorded back-to-back episodes of one another's podcasts, Go Fork Yourself and The Alton Browncast. In this 48th episode of Brown's podcast, which spans roughly half an hour and was recorded in his trailer on the set of Cutthroat Kitchen, Zimmern discusses the true aim of his Travel Channel show Bizarre Foods, the disparity he's witnessed between his travels and his life back home as a food celebrity, what life was like before (and after) he got sober 22 years ago, and his views on food media.
Below, the best lines from Andrew Zimmern's appearance on Alton Brown's podcast, The Alton Browncast. (Also be sure to check out Brown's best lines from his appearance on Zimmern's podcast, Go Fork Yourself.)
1) On getting tired of being asked about what's the worst thing he's ever eaten: "I get there's certain core values there that people are trying to dig at, but to me after a certain amount of time... there's so many more wonderful topics that I could talk to them about."
2) On wanting Bizarre Foods to be more about culture than food: "If the food was just the exclamation point at the end of the act, I'd be happiest because I think introducing the idea of the food as the reason that I'm there almost does a disservice to ... the person who's doing the cooking and what their life is like."
3) On making a conscious choice to respect the people featured on Bizarre Foods from the beginning: "I'd rather be a good guest in someone's home than tell them I don't like their food or make fun of them."
4) On how he feels about the disparity between what he sees in his travels and his celebrity life back in the States: "It all makes me feel guilty. You know what makes me feel guiltier most of all? The overwhelming amount of love and attention that's thrown at the TV people in the world."
5) On the stark contrast between the two worlds he lives in: "We've all been at those dinners in a restaurant and the chef just wants to crush everybody and puts thousands of dollars of food and the oysters and the sea urchin and monster steaks and things down on the table. And it's the same group of people that the night before were somewhere talking about childhood hunger. And it's really hard to equate those two worlds."
6) On what was life like before he got sober: "I was a homeless street junkie alcoholic 22 and a half years ago."
7) On drugs in the restaurant industry: "I spent many years very successfully in the restaurant business walking around sniffing a mixture of heroin and cocaine all day long and just sort of maintaining an even keel. The restaurant industry in New York in the 80's was a good place to hide out if you had issues."
8) On poverty and hunger in America: "When I'm in a slum in Delhi, I expect to see that stuff ... maybe it's some kind of inbred ethnocentricity that makes you go, this is horrible, but it's not in my backyard. So when you see the same thing in America, sometimes worse, it just feels awful that this is part of the country I live in where I vote, where I pay taxes, and we can't feed all of our children."
9) On how this podcast will be received by fans: "There are a lot of people who are tuning in right now who are fascinated that we're talking about this kind of stuff, [but] there's a whole bunch of people that want the Alton Brown that they see on TV and the Andrew Zimmern they see on TV. They'd love to hear you making jokes about how many testicles I've put in my mouth."
10) On the aspect of food media that bothers him: "The corner of the 'food media' that I think is troublesome to me, is the shows on TV that don't really have a point or don't have a lesson to be learned. If you don't have a point or if there's not some part of it that is meaningful and can change someone's life, in my old age, I'm just not into it."
11) On the fetishization of food and chefs: "There's a lot of food media out there in terms of reportage that I think overly fetishizes what we do. I don't like being at food festivals and have someone from some weird cable access show that's all about lifestyle get in my face with a microphone and wants to know which party I'm going to later... That just is pointless kind of stuff to me."
12) On his relationships with big corporations like General Mills: "I remember in the 80's being in rooms with lots of farmers and activists and screaming and shouting about solutions and the enemy was those big food corporations. I no longer think that they're the enemy. I think that those are some of the companies that can help provide solutions... I'd rather be working with those people on civic solutions than screaming and yelling about the fact that they have some practices that we disagree with."