Eating one’s way through a vacation can be normal. Even a long cycling adventure is not out of the ordinary.
Fifteen thousand miles of pedaling in more than 2½ years through North, Central and South America, well, now that’s an adventure that is neither normal nor ordinary.
That extraordinary feat is exactly what Tom Kevill-Davies did. The Hungry Cyclist: Pedalling the Americas in Search of the Perfect Meal (Collins, 2009) starts in New York and ends in Rio de Janeiro. He doesn’t hold back on the good and bad of life on the road. There were plenty of imperfect meals.
Each chapter ends with a couple recipes. Many will likely not be added to most people’s meal rotation, but they are intriguing—like Armadillo Stew and Beaver Tail Soup. Others could be keepers like The Perfect Fish Taco and San Ignacio Date Cake.
Because Kevill-Davies is British his stories about traveling through the United States are seen from a different perspective than had this been written by someone who grew up in the U.S. He goes through the northern states and parts of Canada before heading south through the three West Coast states. Then it’s onto Baja, mainland Mexico, Central America, and South America.
Besides his gastronomic experiences, Kevill-Davies is expressive about the people he meets, the land he traverses across, and the interactions he has. The Hungry Cyclist will take you on a delightful journey that most tourists will never encounter. One of the things I loved most about the book is that he sought out authenticity and he got it. It reinforces that the journey is so often more important than the destination.