I was a little dubious about dedicating an entire issue of Outside to the topic of food. We've published plenty of culinary stories in the past—on the quest for the best wild chocolate in the Amazon, say, or the latest theories on sports nutrition—but a whole issue? How would we do it without sacrificing some of our most beloved topics, like travel, gear, and adventure? I didn't want readers to think they'd picked up a copy of Bon Appetit.
One of the things that changed my mind was a meeting we had about meals worth traveling for. As everyone began ticking off favorite dishes from exotic spots, I realized how many entrees I could distinctly remember and wanted to discuss. The ceviche at a roadside bar in the Bahamas after a three-day sea-kayaking trip. A breakfast of Gayo coffee and nasi goreng before heading out on a trek in Gunung Leuser National Park in Sumatra. A traditional chotlho made by my host family when I was a student in Botswana for a semester in college. And a seven-course dinner served at a tiny ryokan in Kyoto, Japan, where the proprietor-chef-server didn't speak any English. I have no idea what exactly was in the flurry of dishes he brought to our table, but it was easily the best meal of my life.
The meeting helped drive home how rich the topic of food really is. From there, the stories that would fill up the issue seemed to come naturally, and looking at them now I realize there's a thread running through a lot of them. Whether it's chef Blaine Wetzel's attempts to source every ingredient on his menu ("Eating the Island") or Scott Lindquist's mission to harvest Alaskan glaciers for his award-winning vodka ("Cold Fusion") or the newfound obsession with filling our freezers with meat we've hunted ourselves ("Dressed to Kill"), there's a collective desire among Americans to get reacquainted with what we eat. As you'll discover in this issue, that impulse also happens to be a reliable spark for some incredible adventures.