His name may be unfamiliar, but his family is not. Author Tom Parker Bowles is the son of Prince Charles' wife, Camilla. The British food critic has columns in Night and Day and Tatler. He also has written a book called "E Is for Eating: An Alphabet of Greed."
In his latest effort, "The Year of Eating Dangerously: A Global Adventure in Search of Culinary Extremes," Bowles examined the cultural divide of food. Two friends' food phobias inspired the book.
He traveled for a year through Asia, Europe and America in search for the world's most thrilling, scary and odd foods. To see what he discovered read an excerpt of the book below.
My love affair with America was, for the first twelve years of my life, a faroff, unrequited crush. I gazed longingly at this mythical land from afar, my youthful passion fuelled by a ceaseless flow of movies, television, and comics. It mattered little that the farthest west I'd ever been was Cornwall, at the toe of Britain's isle, because the accent of my imagination was firmly American. Anything that glided over the Atlantic, from Indiana Jones, Archie, and Ronald Reagan to Lifesavers and Tab Clear, seemed impossibly glamorous in comparison to the seeming drabness of my own world. But my infatuation with American food overwhelmed any other concern. While we were draped in the dull brown and orange livery of Sainsbury's -- a glum, plodding existence -- America seemed glossily alive and dynamic. Not for them variety packs of ready salted crisps or bulk loads of PG Tips; America had Fritos and iced tea. It had cherry slushies, all frozen and tingling. We had Sainsbury's orange squash. America was a land filled with McDonald's, Burger King, and Dairy Queen, bright, pristine, and filled to the gills with glorious burgers. We had the dull suburban yawn that was Wimpy, with its sad meat patties and second-rate, watery milk shakes. America had Willy Wonka candy, Twinkies, Baby Ruth, M&M's, Reese's Pieces, Hershey's Kisses, and a million other exciting, slick sweets that were made all the more desirable by their appearance on the big screen. All we got was a Terry's Chocolate Orange. And because of this imagined world, America became an edible Emerald City, a culinary Kubla Khan where hot dogs paved the streets and Kool-Aid flowed from taps. A place where Chuck Norris took it in turns with Arnie to keep the peace, while Corey Haim kept the well-coiffed vampires at bay. This was my culinary mecca, not the familiar landscapes of home, or France, Spain, or Italy. And the sooner I could get there, the sooner I could start my edible American Dream. It's not that my own life was dull or unhappy. Anything, but, in fact.