Anything That Moves by Dana Goodyear

17707720Anything That Moves is Dana Goodyear’s journalistic endeavor to discover just what modern day American foodies are made of and the extreme things they’ll eat to remain at the top of their game. Jimmy and I (along with several friends) consider ourselves amateur foodies and so this kind of book pushes my buttons. If nothing else, I thought it would provide some interesting fodder for future supper club outings we organize every Wednesday night.

Goodyear’s book reads more like a collection of similarly themed magazine articles that cover a wide range of foodie topics such as foodie bloggers, the raw movement, and insect eating. She sets out with many different foodies from all walks of life to discover why, how, and what they eat. She also provides a decent amount of background, historical information on the origins of some of the bizarre foods/movements mentioned. It’s a great introduction to the foodie society.

Some have complained about Goodyear’s disconnect from the weird food experiences she’s writing about. I think this is a valid complaint. She was pregnant through much of her research and didn’t feel safe eating the questionable foods. I understand her decision, but it leaves a rather large gap between her and her subject matter. My favorite bits involved her actually describing her personal experiences with the food – the tastes, smells, textures, and emotional responses to what she was eating. So just be prepared for several third party moments.

My personal favorite topic she discussed was insect eating. It just fascinated me. Not only how psychologically against turning bugs into an edible protein source most Americans are, but also how sustainable and environmentally friendly these little critters can be. And I’m not going to lie, they sound delicious. Well, the crunchy ones. I still have mental issues with worms and such. I don’t like squishy things. I started trying to Google Atlanta restaurants that serve things like tempura fried grasshoppers and couldn’t find any. I suspect I’ll have to use underground methods to discover such delicacies.

So, if you’re adventurous and aren’t overly sensitive to graphic depictions of eating animals, I’d suggest this book as a fascinating look inside the food culture of modern America. There’s a lot to learn and some genuinely disgusting moments such as the eating of a baby bird (bones, beak, feathers – the whole shebang). If you’re already well-established in the foodie world, you’ll have tried many of the rare meats and food described here, but it’s still fun to see if anything Goodyear discovers will gross you out! And I’ve now removed foie gras from my diet. I had no idea how it was made and now I’m amazed that such a thing is even legal (which it isn’t in many states).

What are your favorite foodie investigation novels? Any food bloggers you love to read? What’s the strangest food you’ve ever tried? Mine is probably stinky tofu, but I also love chicken gizzards.

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13 thoughts on “Anything That Moves by Dana Goodyear

  1. I’ve been getting into foodie-ness more lately.. out at least the why behind it. Sounds like a great read. The weirdest thing I’ve ever eaten is sweetbread (thymus) or perhaps raw clam… Sweetbread is surprisingly good. Stay far far away from the gray slimy thing they bring you at omikase sushi places.

  2. I guess I’ll hold off on eating insects until we have a Walking Dead kind of apocalypse at our door. Maybe then I’ll cook them over a campfire 🙂 but I hope not.

  3. This sounds interesting, but I wonder why she chose to research it while pregnant, knowing she wouldn’t be able to eat most of the foods.
    I’ve actually tried insects – there’s a bar in London that does them with lots of toppings (I had chocolate & chilli) and also that serves them with alcohol. It was a lot of fun 🙂

  4. Although I like foodie non-fiction, I’m a somewhat picky eater and this sounds a bit too weird for me! It also seems like the third-person experiences could really take away from the book.

    • It’s almost like watching/reading Anthony Bourdain or Andrew Zimmerman. It might be a great way to stretch your comfort zone a bit if you ever wanna give it a try.

    • She does try a lot – particularly her little bird eating expedition at the end. I’ve learned to try first ask questions later. And you know what? I’m rarely ever disgusted by the taste or textures of the odd things I eat. Mostly a mental hangup which I’ve been working on conquering for 9 years thanks to my husband.

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