At any rate, what’s my big problem with Zimmern? Where to begin, where to begin? First, I should admit that I really don’t know who this Zimmern fellow is. I mean, I really don’t know who the hell he is, just as, I’m sure, he doesn’t know who the hell I am. I got wind of a recent dust-up in the blogosphere, however, and felt curious enough to search Google for images of the man. I start there whenever possible, because I have no problem at all judging a book by its cover, being a firm believer in that old business about a picture being worth a thousand words.
At any rate, I spent some time looking at photographs of a man alleged to be Zimmern and quickly concluded that a thousand words were something like 975 words too many; a couple dozen, I should think, would suffice.
I can definitely tell you that I don’t like the cut of Zimmern’s jib. I think he eats too much, and given that he apparently spends so much time eating, I also think it’s fair to presume that he eats bugs … no, wait—he does, it seems, eat bugs, but what I meant to say was that it’s fair to presume that he talks with his mouth full. I don’t care for that.
I dug a little deeper to find out more about this Zimmern character, and discovered not only that—as I suspected—he eats too much, but he also eats almost entirely at places I’ve never heard of. I’m not a big fan of people who make a habit of eating at places I’ve never heard of, then proceed to go on and on about how great those places are.
I’m guessing that Zimmern has never spent a morning hanging drywall and then, with dust all over his hands (and under his fingernails), eaten the hell out of a Manwich and a can of Pringles. I’m also guessing that he’s never spent a cold afternoon in the garage skinning muskrats then driven his truck to the Arby’s drive-thru and polished off the 5-for-$5.99 roast beef special all by his lonesome.
Maybe that’s unfair. Maybe Zimmern has, in fact, laid drywall and eaten the hell out of a Manwich and a can of Pringles. Maybe he has skinned muskrats and gone to Arby’s to gorge solo. But I’ll say this: if I’m correct in my suppositions—and I feel confident that I am—then I’m also correct in saying that this is a man who doesn’t know a diddly-damn thing about truly great food and the supreme pleasures and surprises of eating when you’re flat-out hungry as shit.
Answer me these questions, Zimmern, you hot shot:
• Have you ever eaten a pie from Beek’s, King of Pizza?
• Under the right circumstances (very, very hungry; very, very stoned and/or drunk; etc.) could you rave for hours about the wings at Shorty and Wag’s?
• Can you name, with appropriate enthusiasm, a favorite brand of canned chili?
• Could you, do you honestly think, tackle the Tremendous Twelve at Perkins?
• Have you ever been so fucking hungry that you’ve eaten a microwave hamburger from SuperAmerica and felt like you’d died and gone to heaven?
•Might you, as I did this very evening, mix together cans of Progresso vegetable beef and beef barley soup and eat the whole damn pot while seated on the kitchen floor?
• Have you ever spent hours driving along a freeway praying for the appearance of a Taco John’s?
• Do you agree that Tootsie Rolls and pretzels are often as not a perfectly suitable lunch?
If you answered no to even half of these questions, Zimmern, you’re not only a piss-poor food critic, but you’re also a pussy.