Thursday 8 July 2010

"American food"

American food is obviously bigger than the sum of its parts. I get that. It's like trying to define Australian food by eating only a Four 'N' 20 and a Chokito. And I am aware that I was in The South, the home of deep fried coke, but I have got to say that most of the meals I ate in Florida defeated me with the sheer size.

Now, as most of you know, I am pretty good on the fang, but as you can see from the above breakfast shot, the Yanks do it BIG.

The above pic was a small serve of corn beef hash and eggs. And, as you can plainly see, it came with toast, several slices of thick, hot ham, toast, sweet butter and apple sauce. AND a hash brown. The actual corned beef hash is peeking out under the ham, to the left of the toast in the pic.

AND, the hash had been served into patties and fried.

One of the first problems I encountered was the American idea of appetizers. In my feeble, jet lagged brain, I thought of small plates of tasty nibbly bits to whet my appetite. This was also promoted by the fact that after the Appetizer section of the menu, comes the Entree.

Erm. No.

Appetisers and entrees and entrees are mains.

And appetizers are freaking HUGE.

I ordered an appetizer of fried green tomatoes, naively thinking I'd get a wee tapas-like taste.


I got 4 whole sliced tomatoes. Deep fried and covered with cheese and salsa. Absolutely delicious, bit terrifying when I realised that I had also ordered another "appetizer" and an entree while I searched vainly for "mains"

That first night in Florida, I ate for Africa. I ate for King and country. I ate for my very reputation. Like a foie gras goose, I was pushing those last little bits of seared tuna with wasabi mayo, and those blackened grouper cheeks down with a stick.

And the other cah-WAAAZY restaurant thing I took a while to get my head around, was the sheer amount of choices.. both in supermarkets and restaurants.

Would you like fries, soup or salad with that? (Soup? With a sandwich?) White, brown, multigrain, farmers grain, rye or sourdough? Toasted or fried? Butter or mayo? Dressing with your salad, ma'am? Ordering a Coke became a battle of wills to see who would crack first. Cherry? Vanilla? Diet? Ice? Lemon?

Invariably, everyone I met was amazingly polite, but the number of choices and decisions I had to make simply to get a salad sandwich and a Coke, left me feeling quite wan.

I went to the supermarket (and yes, they do actually have Piggly Wiggly's in Florida!) and stared like a numpty at a whole aisle devoted to more than 30 TYPES (not brands) of Cranberry juice. Low-fat, added fibre, Cran-apple, Cran-respberry, Diet Cran, Sugar-free Cran.. the list went on and on.

Later in my trip, a bucket of steamed shrimp (no, that is not a typo.. I mean it.. a BUCKET of banana prawns) was ordered in the vain hope of consuming something neither fried nor covered in condiments.

I admit to developing a penchant for chips and ranch dressing while I was away, but only Lay's Kettle Chips, any other chip I tried was just too salty... like cave-your-mouth-in-seawater salty.

I was fed fried green tomatoes and cheese grits with boiled salted ham for breakfast, by two Southern Belles called Aunt Wee and Aunt Tee. I had iced tea, I ate a hotdog from a roadside diner. I had my very first coke slurpee, I ate a 7-Eleven Cherry pie, consumed mojhitos, Apalachicola fried oysters, soft-shell crab legs, Michelob beer and more.

And loved every damn mouthful!

Although, there was one thing I found, in a roadside gas station cum fast food joint, deep on 98, in the middle of the panhandle, that even I didn't attempt.

And no, they're not strange candies. They REALLY are what they say they are.


Jazz said...

Every time I go down to the states I have the same sort of OMG! reaction. Bad as it is in Canada (and we're basically American when it comes to food), it's worse there. Here you'll have half of one side of an aisle devoted to chips - which is bad enough. A whole aisle is overkill.

purple goddess said...

Babe, it completely freaked me out. I mean WHO needs 5 different types of Fanta?

cloudcontrol said...

Hahaha don't hate the fanta! It just saves them coming up with other brand names. I personally had a thing for grape fanta. Gotta love that fake grape bubblegum taste!

Anonymous said...

Loved this post Ella.
Shit I'm goin there.

Griffin said...

Hmmm, so why is there an obesity epidemic there then?... oh, 'ang on!

Oh good grief!

Anonymous said...

Love this blog, just been pawing through your posts. The writing style is great, more gently cynical than I could ever hope to be, I'm too (grammatically correct) blatant. Came here from tummyrumbles, which I also just found. I am linking yours to mine (blogs, that is) and also listing you in my Blogger's Cafe: in Library 2 - Food & Drinks. My food blog is Things that Fizz & Stuff:

I'll be back... I have to get to page 2 yet.

Don't like your word verification: worming, makes it sound more like a pets blog, maybe the result of the failed paella.

Thank you for an entertaining lunch hour.


purple goddess said...


When and where are you off? If you're heading down to Flah Dee Dah, I can give you some awesome recs.

And welcome Arg Vulg! Will pop over and visit you a bit later! Welcome to the creamy gooey goodness that is PG!

Sorry about the word verification, but had a bad attack of spam and idiots earlier this year.

THats' a bit like spam and eggs, but greasier and harder to digest.

Carmen said...

Oh dear! You are so right!! Going shopping is down right dangerous in Canada too. There's way too much choice, and if you've taken to reading labels for content and amounts (yup..trying to lose weight), you can spend a half a day in there. I try to stick to shopping at the outer sides of the food stores (fresh vegies, meats, breads, cos you could die of preservatives and additives in the middle aisles! :) I enjoyed your post!!