After the holidays, we moan about how much we ate. And yet not all eating is equal; some meals are more interesting than others. This week, we’re bringing you pieces about unusual foods and the culinary adventurers who seek them out. Patrick Radden Keefe profiles Anthony Bourdain, the chef who made travelling the world in search of amazing food a way of life. Rebecca Mead visits the Faroe Islands—“an austere, mountainous archipelago marooned in the North Atlantic”—to eat at Koks, one of the world’s most exclusive restaurants, where dishes are composed of salted seabird and fermented beef tallow. Lauren Collins crisscrosses the United States to meet the chili-pepper aficionados who torture themselves with “superhots”—peppers capable of providing “near-death experiences in a bowl of guacamole”—and Dana Goodyear shares a meal with a group of “entomophagists,” or insect-eaters, who hope that, by cultivating “mini-livestock,” they can help save the planet. Helen Rosner investigates the appeal of gold-encrusted food—an Instagram-ready trend that, it turns out, dates back to ancient Egypt. Finally, Adam Gopnik cooks his way through fantastic recipes invented by novelists. Perhaps you’re in the midst of a January detox. If so, we hope that these pieces inspire dreams of wilder meals to come.

David Remnick


Grub

“Most edible insects are wild-harvested and highly seasonal, and not U.S.D.A.-approved.”


Twenty-Four-Karat Chicken Wings and the Allure of Eating Gold

“The megaphone of social media has allowed the recreational ingestion of gold to reach its peak as a form of conspicuous consumption.”


Journeyman

“Anthony Bourdain had spent the first half of his life preparing food to feed others. He would spend the second half getting fed.”


Cooked Books

“Cooking is to our literature what sex was to the writing of the sixties and seventies, the thing worth stopping the story for to share, so to speak, with the reader.”


Meal Ticket

“In Faroese, koks means a flirt, or someone who fusses over something in pursuit of perfection. Early last year, the restaurant Koks received a Michelin star, the first to be awarded in the Faroes.”


Fire-Eaters

“At the moment, there is no definitive claimant to the title of world’s hottest pepper. Lacking a central authority, the chili community finds itself embroiled in a three-way schism.”