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YUCK! The Things People Eat - Book Review

By Neil Setchfield

(Watermark, 2010)

Yuck! The Things People Eat by Neil Setchfield

My three-year-old has started saying, "Don't yuck my yum," which roughly translates into "I'll enjoy strawberry yogurt on my pasta even more if you don't denigrate the experience." In his new book YUCK! The Things People Eat, photographer Neil Setchfield takes a more global approach to the topic, exploring through words and in-your-face snapshots dishes that in some cultures are considered delicacies that others may find objectionable.

Some of the items are well-known to Westerners, like abalone, tongue, tripe (Setchfield's favorite meal as a child), rabbit, chitterlings, frogs' legs, haggis and the county fair staple deep-fried Mars bar. Others appear to be off the menu of reality television shows with "gross-out" competitions, including crickets, cicadas on a stick, goat testicles and Korean penis fish. Each menu item from the Welshman's travels is profiled by its location, a short page of informative, entertaining copy, an often-disturbing color photograph and occasional serving suggestions. For tarantulas, which inspired Setchfield's project, he warns after stir-frying that "the belly may burst open at first bite, covering one's hand and face with black, pungent goo." That's something you rarely see in a serving suggestion!

Setchfield deserves kudos not only for his photos and prose, but for actually eating the contents of his graphic global gross gastronomy guide. Much of his imagery is so stomach-turning that the book could be a worthwhile gift for a friend who wants to start a diet.

Reviewed by Jeff Hoyt

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