Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Sugar and spice

Chocolate dessert
Originally uploaded by

Ever since I moved to Chicago in October 2005, there have been a lot of things about the American diet (as it is) that have perplexed me. And we should probably take a moment to pause and remind ourselves that my blog has never been about specifics. In this post, as with the rest of my blog, I am typically generalising. In venting some of my WHAT THE? moments, I'm not wanting to say something sucks, or suggest I hate something, and life is better anywhere else bla bla. It's a cultural observation, nothing more peeps, okay? Alright, let's continue...

Flavoured coffee. I just don't understand seasonal drinks. Why only bust out spiced lattes or flavoured mochas at certain times of the year? Makes no sense to me. And while we're on the subject, Starbucks, why do you persist in flavouring your coffees to suck all the joy out of the fine art of coffee making (barista-ing?) by sweetening them up, sprinkling crap on them, spicing them, and generally blitzing all the coffee taste out of it? And yet you still having the balls to call it coffee. I just don't get it. And I also can't pronounce half your coffees, and I speak three languages. Obviously just not the right ones.

The salty and sweet combo? Used to hate it, now I love it. Chocolate covered pretzels are the bomb. Ditto PB&J sandwiches. Can't quite embrace Reece's peanut butter cups though.

Cinnamon. If it was combined with sugar and dusted on donuts, then I was happy. But on its own, or added to any kind of food - yuck. So when I bought English-style crumpets at "Trader Joe's" the other day, only to discover they were doused in cinnamon, I was traumatised. But I just finished two of them, and I am wondering where they have been all my life.

Iced tea. Can't get into it, even though it is popular the world over. Am stuck on the terribly British concept of hot tea. Still, if I can come around to British crumpets with cinnamon, perhaps I can come around to chilled tea?

Mexican food. Never before have I seen such an abundance of this cuisine. But all I can say is, God Bless America.

Jagermeister. Granted it's the devil but it's beloved by college students across this country (and a certain Aussie expat after waaay too many other beverages late at night).

Bagels. It seems to be the breakfast of champions in this country, but I am not adventurous enough yet to indulge in the multitude of flavoured varieties available (again with the flavours people!). Give me a toasted poppy seed bagel with Vegemite for breakfast, and I'm a happy girl.

The Outback Steakhouse. Not even remotely associated with Australia but its advertising bastardises all that is good about our country. Did you know they have an "Ab-Original Salad" on their menu? The Americans don't know any better; for shame on the restaurant - it's just plain deceitful.

The Holy Condiment Tray. Waitresses in diners have to carry this damn thing with both hands, if it's not already taking up half your table when you sit down. Every possible variety of mustard, sauce, spice, and topping is included in this condiment smorgasbord. Because God forbid you eat your meal as it comes - go ahead, splash a whole lot of other crap all over it for good measure. Crikey.

Dr Pepper. I can't even tell you how much my teeth hurt at the mere mention of it.

And while it feels good to rant about the bizarre nature of the American diet, I buy into all of it. I love that there is excess in this country. I love that there are large portions and buffets of goodness as far as the eye can see. I love that you can call someone to bring you any and all of this stuff, at any time of the day or night. And I love that there is such food diversity in the US that I can be here for 100 years and still only scratch the surface. I'm just glad that I discovered chocolate-covered pretzels so early on. Woohoo!


batreg said...

If it's anything liek teh toffee coated waffles in Switzerland - delete it NOW!

glamah16 said...

Hahahahahaha.I'm amazed at how you , Certain Someone and others have become so Americanized with the food choices.

Jammin' Jemma said...

I can't believe there is an Ab-Original Salad - I'm offended and I'm not even Aboriginal.

Mind you I did have to ask my friend Victoria in a high school exam if I was a "Torres Strait Islander" coz I didn't know what it was. She politely said no, I wasn't.**sheepish grin**

We are all allowed one "Duh" moment in our lives - I have two - that one and another for admitting to it on your blog!

Gab said...

Classic - that just reminds me of the scene in "Muriel's Wedding" with the South African swimmer. And Muriel asks him outright "Are you black?". I just love it.

Lexie said...

i love all of those things.

dodgey said...

pretzels covered in white chocolate are kinda yumm also.

ps: can u have a torres strait islander who is gay..??

kilabyte said...

.... eerrrhhh, does my ass look big in this????? ........

batreg said...

Iced tea, great for a sugar fix, just make sure it's flavoured. This is juxtaposed to coffee that should never be tampered with.
Sweet & Salty - where has it been your whole life - delicious, hot chips (extra salt) and a chocolate sundae - devine.
Condiments - are you remembering the individual portions weighing down tables across Scotland?
Dr. Pepper, the Holy Grail for non-root beer/sarsaparilla fan the world over.
Here endeth the menu ...

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