How to Appreciate American Cuisine (rerun)

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Reader Comments (20)

Coming from the land of the cheesesteak, I can only say, "Bring in on, Frenchie!"

*does that Bruce Lee come-at-me motion*

January 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBrian

The idea that any chef can make a good burger is not true in all cases. One time I was in a restaurant in Nassau and they served me the worst burger that I have ever eaten. To be fair, the best burger that I have ever eaten was also on Nassau. I guess that the quality of their burgers has an exceptionally large kurtosis. It is pretty weird that the United States has never been known for a thriving food culture and yet most of the internationally successful chain and franchise restaurants in the world come from the U.S. I guess that people eat at chains when they want predictability and convenience rather than a nuanced dining experience.

January 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterGregory Bogosian

Haute Cuisine...French for a little stack of ugly, rank food in the middle of a big empty plate, drizzled with sauce.
Gimme a nice steak, and a baked potato.
...At my age, make that a nice, small steak.

January 28, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDee

I visited Chicago for a week. I had only two decent meals - one in a Thai restaurant run by a newly-immigrated Thai family (sadly, I found this on our last night).

Everything else - even the pizzas and the burgers - was muck, I'm afraid, and the only vegetable in the USA seems to be the potato. And it is only served in the form of a chip (fry).

I lost almost a stone, so it wasn't all bad.

January 28, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPaddy

Compared to a "Broodje Mario" on the Oude Gracht in Utrecht, a Big Mac is just roadkill wrapped in a bun.

January 28, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterEric de Redelijkheid

American style chinese food is good, and tacos and nachos are good as well. /Norwayian

January 28, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterwickedragon

You think that McDonalds have great fries?

Ah of course, I'm making the mistake of comparing them with chips*. You're not saying they are great chips, but that of the US version that was renamed fries they are great in terms of fries. Well played.

(* I'm in the UK btw, so referring to UK chips, not US chips [crisps])


Also something else about US cuisine that the US excels in. Unnecessary extra ingredients.

For McDonalds fries
UK ingredients: Potatoes, Vegetable Oil (Sunflower, Rapeseed)

US Ingredients: Potatoes, Vegetable Oil (Canola Oil, Soybean Oil, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Natural Beef Flavor [Wheat and Milk Derivatives], Citric Acid), Dextrose, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Salt. Prepared in Vegetable Oil and Dimethylpolysiloxane.

Impressive list indeed!

January 28, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterpasserby

McDonald's Diet Coke is so great because they filter the water, they keep the syrup and water cold, it's always fresh because of the volume of business and (and this is big one), they CLEAN the machine every day.

/At least, that's what I've been told

January 28, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterThe Moon

I don't care what anyone says, I love american pizza and sub sandwiches. my regional sub is even pretty tasty! other things: cole slaw, chowder, barbecue, mac n cheese, pumpkin pie... the list goes on. that being said, it is all pretty wing-wangy.

January 28, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterducken

I'd never thought about it before, but yes, a crappy philosophy can, indeed, be a great mission statement.

January 28, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDel Stewart

You really need to try new restaurants if you think the US is lagging in cuisine

January 28, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJardal

My experience with expensive, fancy, fine dining is that portions are so tiny that I'm still hungry after eating it. Seems like an unforgivable flaw, as the main purpose of food is to prevent that.

January 28, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDrowlord

Indeed, there is no American (or other) chef that could make a decent Oreo.

January 28, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterefahl

Paddy (earlier commenter) must be the only person to LOSE weight because of American food.
Anyway, I haven't been to America to compare, but the Big Macs here in England are pretty good. Sure, it is an American franchise, but we can pretend to be Americans if we want to!

January 28, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJerden

Anyone who thinks Americans lack "cuisine" has never experienced Cajun food, or dug into American barbecue, or been to a fine American steakhouse.

January 28, 2015 | Unregistered Commenter1Mac

IMO American food is better in the south. Fried catfish, BBQ in all it's various regional forms, and more local styles like cajun are all better that what Chicago has to offer. Chicago is famous for what, hot dogs and pizza? Meh. But I don't doubt there's good restaurants there. It's just like Dublin or Rome or Boston or anywhere else, plenty of lousy restaurants catering to tourists.

January 28, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMark

I was told the utopian American breakfast consists of burgers over-easy, poached fries, fried-toast sunny side up, egg whites broiled in hollandaise sauce, baked flank steaks, minced garlic seasoning and a fresh cherry tomato on top (obviously optional).

January 28, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBaza

I am much more likely to laugh at what you Americans call cheese than to eat it. There seems to be a mindset in some American supermarkets of, "Sure it's revolting and barely food, but it's cheap!"

But, I have to say, I have eaten some very nice meals in San Francisco and San Jose restaurants. Even at some quite reasonably-priced restaurants.

January 28, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

The fact that your benchmark for American cuisine is store bought snack foods and fast food suggests that our real problem is not so much a lackluster food culture as it is widespread poverty. You can get luxury food like lamb shanks and lobster bisque in the U.S., if you can afford to spend over $200 on a single meal. ($200 is a rough estimate. Do not use that figure for any actual financial calculations.)

January 28, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterGregory Bogosian

Just wondering what IS a "decent Oreo"? As far as I can tell it's merely a big, more tasteless bourbon cream. Even compared to a custard cream biscuit, it fails utterly at taste. Maybe something learned in the palette?

If you want a all-time, all-weather great biscuit, ginger nuts are the way to go. Great dunky bikkie, several ways to eat sans hot drink, strong taste that works.

What, though is a decent oreo? It's like saying "Decent water". Past a certain point of unhygenic, there's a quick plateau of no taste to speak of. But maybe it's the HFCS content or something, which may be missing in the export version.

All, when it comes to good tasting food, look for the "traditional poor person" meal. Given the arsehole of the animal and told "thank the lord for that by the way", you learn how to make something that tastes so good you don't care what it originally did.

January 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterWow

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