Food for Thought

Every country has its favourite foods and as an immigrant living here I am often asked what I think of various American staples. Sometimes the reaction to the fact that I haven’t tried something is the type of shock usually reserved for people who haven’t seen Star Wars or listened to The Beatles. Occasionally I am moved enough to actually go and try the product in question so that I am not treated as a food pariah anymore. I will forever avoid the person who told me that I’d “just love root beer” and I won’t be rushing to order iced tea again either.

Yesterday my wife bought the ingredients to make smores when we were grocery shopping so I decided to try some for myself. In case you don’t know smores are made from graham crackers, chocolate and melted marshmallow. Now I must admit that my technique wasn’t the best; I held the marshmallow too close to the fire so it ended up looking like one of the torches they used to light medieval castles but the end result was pretty tasty. I think next time I will swap out the vile Hershey’s chocolate for something palatable but I’m definitely willing to make them again!

smores.jpg
A finished smore

While we are on the topic of food why is apple pie considered so American? Pretty much every country in Europe has some version of apple pie and it was one of my favourite desserts growing up as a kid in England. I think that the phrase should be “as American as mac and cheese” or “as American as smores.” I know you guys have a slightly important election coming up first so I’ll give you some time but maybe you could reconsider the idiom? Below is my table of some of the American things I’ve tried and how I rate them, is there anything you think I need to try?

Delightful Passable I wouldn’t touch it again if you paid me
Pumpkin pie Pumpkin beer Root beer
Mac and cheese Lucky Charms Necco wafers
Smores Ice cream sandwiches Iced tea
Cider doughnuts Goldfish crackers Hershey’s chocolate
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19 thoughts on “Food for Thought

  1. Oooh I’m surprised you like pumpkin pie 🙂 . I was once invited to Thanksgiving my Americans here in Germany, and after the hype around pumpkin pie I was so looking forward to finally try it. When I did I wished there was a flower pot around that I could spit it into and hide it 😀

  2. After leaving the U.S., s’mores is one of the things I miss the most that surprises me! I also really miss pumpkin pie (though I could make it here if I wasn’t too lazy to do it from scratch).

    Have you had chili? Definitely one of my favorites. You also can’t skip barbecue (the kind with all the sauce…and I may be biased, but I think KC is best), peanut butter and jelly, or pretty much any Cajun food that has ever existed. I would add biscuits (not cookies) and gravy, but I actually hate biscuits and gravy, so try at your own risk.

    1. Thanks for the suggestions! I refuse to touch peanut butter and jelly but am keen on trying gravy and biscuits even though I’ll probably regret it. I’m a big chilli fan for sure. 🙂

      1. I’m guessing by “chili” you mean “chili con carne” but if you’re truly brave, you might want to try Cincinnati chili which is completely different. (It even has its own Wikipedia entry.) Always served over spaghetti or hotdogs, its unusual combination of spices gives it a complex flavor – an acquired taste – which people either hate or find addictive.

        I’m with you on the Necco wafers and (at the risk of sounding un-American) Hershey’s chocolate. Disgusting. But we’re spoiled here in Ohio because we have easy access to fabulous Amish-made chocolates. 🙂

        Years ago, a former co-worker visited England and brought back some candies that she gifted to me. I wish I could remember exactly what they were because they were some of the best candies I’d ever tasted. I kept them in my fridge to prolong their lifespan and nibbled at them slowly since I knew I wouldn’t be able to get them again. It was a sad day when I finally ate the last of them!

      2. Ooh I’ll have to look that up, sounds like something interesting to try!

        I hope that one day you are reunited with the candies, I’m always finding random stores that stock European stuff which helps keep me going. 🙂

  3. Was the iced tea sweet or unsweet? Unsweet iced tea is gross; sweet iced tea is passable (to me). Also, what kind of root beer did you have? The only one I like is Barqs – the others taste like swill.

    There’s so many regional variations of the same dish. I’ve had chili made at least three different ways (all good, IMO, but all different).

    Have you ever had venison? Not sure if it’s American as such, but still good when done properly (cooked low and slow).

  4. this kinda made me laugh, just because us americans tend not to think that other people in the world eat completely differently. try some american fast food. don’t eat it too much or you’ll die before you’re fifty, but just a hamburger and some fries can be worth it 😉

  5. Don’t eat the fast food. And stick with the hot tea.
    I’m not too sure about your taste in chocolates, but here’s what I thought when you mentioned s’mores: add a square of Caramello, instead of the milk chocolate. Don’t get diabetes, either!

  6. Hi Tom.
    To translate; when folks in the USA say biscuits, think scone…plain or cheese, but not fruit! Gravy can be as we know it back home in the UK, but also and more likely, some sort of savoury sauce that probably came out of a packet in powder form, you have been warned!

  7. Cider donuts sound good. Can’t say I have tried these. Smores are okay but use a nice chocolate. Iced tea – I drink unsweetened with mint. Biscuits and gravy only if it is made right. Chili – yes! I love anything pumpkin and anything apple. Cool post.

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