Daily Archives October 3, 2011

What is American Cuisine?

Ponder this question for a moment. What exactly is American food? If someone asked you how would you answer?

There are some pretty obvious answers, but rather than a unifying theory of food, you’d probably just answer with individual examples. Those examples aren’t going to be totally correct either. Pizza? Nope, that’s Italian. A hot dog? Sorry German. A really great steak dinner? Sorry, but you’ve got France to thank for that one. Maybe, the hamburger? Actually it is also derived from German cuisine. Apple pie? They’ve been making pies in Europe since the dawn of time. And while turkey might be American, the roasting of birds also has a long and proud tradition in Europe.

The only thing you can call “American Cuisine” and be accurate, is barbecue, Pure and simple. Within barbecue there are many regional permutations which resemble the same differences that you find within cuisines all over the world.

The rest of the cuisine is made up of various derivations and bastardizations of the other cuisines of the world. Several factors contributed to this. We lack some of the same ingredients in both character and quantity. Large immigrant populations who brought traditional cuisines to our shores were forced to adapt to different resources. Many of those groups began to interact and their cuisines fused together. Still other traditions were simply lost to history with the passing of generations.

So I guess the answer to the question is the same one we can use when asked what is America?

A melting pot. The ultimate in fusion cooking. I would love to see Outback put “a fusion restaurant” sign out front but I sense that might lead to confusion.

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Fast Food World Tour

I spent fair amount of time in college hanging out with nerdy guys.  That pretty much means that instead of spending Friday nights trashed in a mini skirt (though there were a few of those), I was more likely to be eating take-out on a dorm floor while watching action movies and making penis jokes.

However, ordering pizza and wings got old pretty fast, so my friend ET came up with an innovative, new way to indulge: World Tour.  When I asked him how he came up with the idea, he simply said:

<wise, old wizard voice>”We were four friends who were fat.  Not physically, of course, but mentally. Mentally hungry and the only thing that could suppress the hunger was cutting off all blood flow through greasy foods.”</wise, old wizard voice>

And thus, an epic journey began.

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