April 02, 2003

American food

I have ranted to my students on this subject for three weeks in a row now, so I thought I would share the rant with my gentle readers. Here goes.

Many of my ESL students work in restaurants or work jobs where they have to take very brief lunch breaks. As such, American fast food figures prominently in their lives. Recently, my students had to do presentations where they compared several aspects of two cultures. I lost count of the number of times that they said American food was different because it was "all hamburgers and hot dogs."

This drives me batty. I told them that, if they came over to my house for dinner, they would see hamburgers and hot dogs about once a year, max. I brought in three different "American" cookbooks -- one published in Minnesota in 1903, one full of recipes by elderly women from the church, and one full of things that can be cooked in a CrockPot. I explained that, as a nation of immigrants, much American food (ie pizza) was an amalgam of our own tastes and the recipes that immigrants brought with them. They remained unconvinced.

I think the strength of American food is in its baking. Think biscuits, cookies, cakes, quickbreads, and even apple pie. Also, pot roast. Vegetable soup. Clam chowder. Gumbo. Pork chops with applesauce.

So, gentle readers, what do _you_ think constitutes American cooking? Send any interesting hyperlinks my way. And, if I ever get a ^(&%$$&* WYSIWYG editor for my stupid iBook, I'll add them into my next entry.

Hasta la pasta. Or should I say "hasta la hamburger"?

Posted by Meredith at April 2, 2003 11:16 AM

I don't have the hyperlikns handy, so I'll just comment. For Mardi Gras my flatmate and I made crepes as an experiment (from an online recipe). I had never eaten them before, let alone made them. We spread jam on them and they were yummy.
The other day I felt inspired to make funnel cakes, but when I looked online for a recipe I found ones with 3-18 ingredients, sometimes barely overlapping in the essential ingredients. So, I didn't end up making them, but they're another part of American cookery.

Posted by: Emily on April 15, 2003 02:11 PM
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