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Old 02-02-2006, 08:25 AM   #1
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Foods The USA Has No Clue About

On another thread discussing tea I started thinking about this. What foods do we in the US have that we just do plain wrong, but don't seem to know any better. By "we in the US" I am talking about the general public, not necessarily those of us here (or elsewhere) that are info this stuff as much as we are.

The one that got me thinking of this is tea. Lipton tea bags seem to be the standard tea here, but talk to someone overseas and they will think drinking tea made from Lipton teabags (or any teabags for that matter) is like comparing a Mcdonalds hamburger to a big juicy steak cooked to perfection. There is just no comparison. The majority of people who drink tea here though use teabags and love it and don't seem to know any better. Now I am not saying there is anything wrong with tea bags if that is what you like so don't get me wrong on that point

So what other foods do we do here in the USA that are done 1000x better elsewhere?

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Old 02-02-2006, 08:29 AM   #2
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Good one GB - I have never been anywhere else so I don't know. I used to have a neighbor from England though, and we would go to her house for tea - such a nice experience.
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Old 02-02-2006, 09:08 AM   #3
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Go to Turkey and get some coffee. It's completely different from the acidic swill we brew and serve here in the US.

Same thing with wines. Europeans know more about wines than most folks in the US do, and many of the folks I associate with don't know the first thing about wine. What wines go with what foods, etc.
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Old 02-02-2006, 09:24 AM   #4
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That is a very interesting subject GB, but I fear my answer would be tainted by my perpetual home sickness for all things (very much including food!) North American

The Italians really do have us (I think we classify Canada and American as having much the same over-all cuisine as a continent) beat when it comes to "true" dishes like pizza, lasagna and gelato ice cream. Which isn't to say the our NA versions are bad, I love them to pieces, just different.

Some French people I've spoken to over here feel that we've butchered things like mayo (buying it in a jar practically strikes many French people as a form of sacrilege), quiche, baguettes and frogs legs.

A lot of it comes down to the where the food is grown. For example, you can make a classic Italian pizza recipe at home, ingredient for ingredient, even bake it in a wood oven, but if you don't have those luscious, ripe Italian tomatoes or authentic fresh mozzarella it isn't quite the same. Lol, or at least DH says Another key thing is what you've grown up eating, and how much of an emotional connection you have to the food you are used to eating.
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Old 02-02-2006, 10:00 AM   #5
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maybe we could take cooking lessons from the Japanese, they live much longer than we do, and I think its because of their diet(the way they consume food) maybe rice has something to with it... hmmm ? something to think about...
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Old 02-02-2006, 10:39 AM   #6
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Seems like people are so busy these days that pre-prepared foods have taken over...and they're never as good as the real thing, are they. I was shocked that three of my daughter's college flat mates had never had mashed potatoes made from raw potatoes, peeled and boiled and mashed. At a bar-b-que this summer at a friend's home, her neighbor, a mom of 2 young kids asked how do you know when the potoatoes are done (when you boil them). She had never made this simple dish either. Somehow I think it's the fast pace of life here that is causing everyday people to miss out on really good food.
BTW, GB, I complained to a friend at work about Lipton tea - "what is that foamy stuff that comes out of the tea bag when you pour boiling water on it? Air? Chemicals from the bag?"....she picked up the phone and dialled a number, handed me the phone and said "ask my dad, he's head of quality control at Lipton, and they take their tea very seriously". Boy, talk about a surprise.
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Old 02-02-2006, 10:49 AM   #7
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Sandyj that is hilarious, though I bet you didn't think so at the time. Yes surprise indeed!
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Old 02-02-2006, 11:19 AM   #8
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I can't offhand say what North Americans do poorly, but I CAN say what they do very well indeed. There is a list a mile long, but I will limit it to the top three IMO.

Beef (Alberta is best of course )
Peanut Butter
Cheddar Cheese.

OK, I've been thinking a bit and I suspect that where we fall short a lot of the time with home food prep is with sauces. I don't know that folks in Europe use Campbells soup regularly to "sauce up" their food. If they want a sauce they make a reduction or something.
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Old 02-02-2006, 11:34 AM   #9
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I've only been to Europe and some things they have may be better, but some things we have may be better too. The white asparagus was wonderful, but overall I think our food (and the variety and abundance of it) is as good or better than anywhere I went. The French food was really too rich for me. Lot of the German food was a bit heavy and the only meals I had in England that I really enjoyed was Tea at the Thistle Tower where we were staying. The fresh croissants in France (and so many, I'd never seen so many)were wonderful. I certainly couldn't eat them every day. On a 3 week trip, I lost 8 pounds, but I think that was because we were going so much.
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Old 02-02-2006, 11:42 AM   #10
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Could, would, but won't, go into tons of thoughts I have on this subject.
The shocking thing to me is that people think Macaroni and Cheese equals the blue-boxed stuff. That floors me. How can anyone think anything so bland and boring is the real deal? And you're right about the mashed potato subject too. Hating to admit it, but our DD has the frozen bagged version in her freezer at all times for quick meal preparing. Her life is busy and she isn't in to the cooking procedure and to her it's the same thing.

In France, the one thing I'd say they do better is bread. Aside from that, we don't care for their cuisine at all. In Italy, OMG their cuisine is something that we here in the states, haven't mastered>regarding Italian food anyway.

Someone on here spoke of prepared foods. That seems to help the busy cook get things done quickly when time is of the essence.

Our kitchen was being torn up over the last couple of months due to my blunder. When getting several quotes from contractors about replacing the tile floor, one estimator began to open the pantry door since the existing tile flooring goes in there too. He opened the door, for measuring sake, and with awe in his eyes, he said to me, "Is this a 'kitchen store'?" I guess I too have prepared things a plenty...
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Old 02-02-2006, 02:58 PM   #11
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you know, GB, I have lived with a British man for six years. He always mentions 'fish and chips'. says we can't even come close. Jelly here confounds him. He won't touch it. And when his parents come over at Christmas time, his mum cooks the most amazing meals! I had never had a standing rib roast until 5 years ago and now I cannot bear to eat a plain old pot roast (the stringy roast my mom always made in the crock!!)

I might mention he is not particular about tea being in a bag. He buys PG tips brand from "The Taste of Britain" in norcross, Ga and that makes him quite happy! "I'll have a cup of rosy, dahling" he says!!!

Oh, the sausages and bacon. Can't forget to mention those. We have to buy both at the british import store as well. Says the stuff here is crap! So there you go, that's all I can think of now. I'll ask him when he gets home from work!

Having said that, he always tells me there is nothing there to make him ever go back to live...visit maybe, but not live! So maybe the cuisine isn't such a big deal!!
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Old 02-02-2006, 03:03 PM   #12
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oh yeah! this is funny...about the wine...listen, these folks will drink it. if it comes in a bottle that says 'wine', then down it goes and don't waste 1 drop, thank you very much!! I could never keep up with them! and don't be pouring no half a glass...nuh uh! fill 'er up to the brim! I am being totally serious! Now they love the good stuff and always bring over a couple of bottles of nice wine...but they aren't picky, they'll drink what you put out quite happily!!
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Old 02-02-2006, 06:19 PM   #13
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I agree with Jenny. I am married to a brit and lived there for a few years.

for sure they have us beat on:
sausages
bacon
baked beans in a tin (Heinz) for beans on toast

for fast food:
fish & chips
donner kebabs

there are a few other things we miss, but these are the big things available here that don't even begin to compare.
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Old 02-02-2006, 06:32 PM   #14
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I don't say that our food is 'better' than that I've eaten in the USA - only different!

I don't like your 'bacon' or your 'sausages'...

Our proximity to mainland Europe and cheap and easy travel there means that we know good ethnic foods, first hand... pizzas and pasta dishes from Italy. French dishes, even German (at a push!)....

I think that Americans 'approximate' the dishes that they think are European.

When I read that someone here puts TWO POUNDS of ricotta in a lasagne...!
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Old 02-02-2006, 08:30 PM   #15
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Don't Americans have Heinz beans? I had no idea. Those are my all time favourites.

As for the bacon, I am not quite clear on the difference. Ishbel, if you are still here would you consider taking a stab at elaborating? Or Jenny? Sounds like you have both sampled both.
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Old 02-02-2006, 08:41 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alix
Don't Americans have Heinz beans? I had no idea. Those are my all time favourites.

As for the bacon, I am not quite clear on the difference. Ishbel, if you are still here would you consider taking a stab at elaborating? Or Jenny? Sounds like you have both sampled both.
well, let me give it a go,

re: the heinz beans. nope, can only get in specialty stores. Nothing we have really comes close, Hubby does like the Bush's vegetarian style beans now so I am saving on the imported heinz, whew!!

as for the bacon, Dave is here to describe the difference for us...go on Dave!

British is thicker ( somewhat similar to canadian style) and is cured differently. The taste is nothing even close to US bacon. Basically very hard to describe, but tasting is believing!

So there you have it, Alix! I grew up on the smokey flavored bacon that is thin and crispy, or salt ham and UK bacon is nothing like either. Sorry, that's the best I can do! (I prefer our bacon, but shhhh, don't tell!! )
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Old 02-02-2006, 08:51 PM   #17
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Well thanks! I guess I am grateful to live in Canada where I can get the best of both worlds. LOL! I tasted Bush's beans once...blech! Heinz (formerly Libby's) kick their heiney. And add in some chopped up cocktail smokies and you have my idea of heaven. (Ken is always most distressed when he sees the tin though...not sure why! )
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Old 02-02-2006, 08:53 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alix
Well thanks! I guess I am grateful to live in Canada where I can get the best of both worlds. LOL! I tasted Bush's beans once...blech! Heinz (formerly Libby's) kick their heiney. And add in some chopped up cocktail smokies and you have my idea of heaven. (Ken is always most distressed when he sees the tin though...not sure why! )
Bless him, I bet he is!!!
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Old 02-03-2006, 07:43 AM   #19
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Like Lefse, having lived in Italy for 3 years now I could point out tons of misunderstanding/miscoception about Italian food that created abroad, but I choose not to get into that too much here, also I already discussed some of the differences in this thread.

IMO if what you cook/eat/are used to taste good to you and you and your family enjoy them, then there is nothing wrong with that.

I think the real issue here is to realise that certain things are purely new creations apart from the authentic recipe, ...like chicken parmigiano is not exactly a real Italian fare, or chicken curry made with coconut milk shouldn't be called "Korma" (something I learned from Yakuta recently...) ... and respect the difference, and not to confuse one from the other. The problem in this subject is that some people would consider things from California Pizza Kitchen or Olive Garden "Italian", or call anything that is made with tomato sauce and cheese "Italian", that's the only thing that bothers me.

Having said that it is an universal problem I believe, not with just American folks, I found the similar problem exist here in Italy when you try some exotic fare. It is at times difficult to recreate the true authentic recipe when you are left without proper ingredients, cooking tools or traditional background.

I know the curries, fajitas, stroganoffs, falafels etc. etc. that I make don't follow the traditional recipe exactly, so I always make sure to mention to anyone to whom I serve them that there are a little modifications and not out and out authentic. That is one thing I can do at least to have a consideration towards true authentic fares.
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Old 02-03-2006, 09:47 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alix
Don't Americans have Heinz beans? I had no idea. Those are my all time favourites.
My grocery store actually has a little section for British foods. Heinz beans are among the few things they offer. What is the difference between those and say Bush's? For some reason the can has always put me off. It just is not an appealing looking can so I always thought the contents would be gross. Looks like I will have to give them a shot now
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