For Christmas I received National Geographic Food Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 Extraordinary Places to Eat Around the Globe. I’m not exaggerating when I say that it’s a visually stunning book. This book is actually part of a series by National Geographic other titles include 500 of the World’s Greatest Trips, 500 of the World’s Best Hidden Gems-but with my immense love for cooking and food, I thought the Food Journeys title was the most well suited. However, it’s books like these that make me feel that even with all of the incredible journeys I have gone on, there is still so much more of the world I have to see.
The book is broken into nine chapters
- Specialties & Ingredients
- Outstanding Markets
- Seasonal Delights
- In the Kitchen
- Favorite Street Foods
- Great Food Towns
- Ultimate Luxuries
- The Best Wine, Beer & More
- Just Desserts
I was immensely thrilled to discover that my hometown of Philadelphia was one of the 500 journeys, specifically its famous sandwiches, cheese steaks and hoagies. Although you can find these two sandwiches just about everywhere (I actually had a surprisingly good cheese steak in Seoul, South Korea), nothing compares to having one in their place of birth.
In each of the chapters there’s various Top 10 lists, one of my favorite was Extreme Restaurants. Included is the Titanic Theatre Restaurant in Melbourne, Australia (the venue recreates the final dinner aboard the RMS Titanic), Witold Budryk Chamber in Wieliczka, Poland (dinner in an underground salt mine), and Ithaa on Rangali Island in the Maldives (a restaurant fish tank that occupies an acrylic tunnel with 270 degree underwater views).
And naturally, it wouldn’t be a food and travel book without a chapter on cooking schools. Italy and France are featured prominently (quelle surprise!), but then a rather unsurprising culinary destination is included, Jordan. Petra Kitchen is a “small backstreet restaurant where smiling women from a local cooperative work under the supervision of a professional chef. Here they introduce local dishes and invite you to partake in the preparation before sitting down to enjoy your meal.” The idea of my tourist dollars going to support a local cooperative as opposed to the expensive prices at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris sounds terrific. So should I ever make it to Jordan one day, Petra Kitchen is definitely something I would want to try.
And two food journeys I never thought about going on until I received this book:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina (cevapi-spicy, mincemeat sausages grilled over an open coal fire and served inside a soft, pita-like flatbread called somun)
- Kansas City (BBQ)