I’ve often wondered why food tastes vary so much across different cultures (other than the obvious geographic and economic reasons). And during these sporadic musings I’ve also wondered why domestic “American” food sucks so much. Sure, I love pizza, hot dogs, and apple pie as much as the next fellow. And some regional cuisine (such as Cajun food, seafood in
fast food. We might as well digest salted cardboard before partaking in that hate. And Southern food (perhaps the most celebrated of all regional
Incidentally, if you ask anyone what their favorite type of food is the average person will answer with one or more of the following: Chinese, Italian, Mexican, Thai, Indian, Japanese, Vietnamese Fusion, or German Watersports. And there is a reason for this. Ethnic foods are brilliant. Sure, some can clog the arteries with the best. But at least they bring some unique flavorful experience to the table.
Currently, my roommate is my Stepbrother. He’s Cuban and has only been in the States about 5 years now. And he’s one of the best cooks I know. Because he knows how to do more than boil water, throw something in the microwave, or order a pizza.
The main reason behind this dichotomy of cuisine mastery is obvious: The U.S. is still a very young country, and is made up of many different cultures and races from all over the world (which is a big part of what makes it great). But I think it goes beyond that. Average Americans, by nature, are complacent and, quite frankly, lazy. They’re also quite reticent, homogenized, and self-segregated. I bet this nation could be around another 500 years and our eating habits wouldn’t really evolve and would likely just get worse.
Why would Joe Whateverpack rather drop by his local Burger joint for a meal full of carbs, saturated fat and blandness instead of something a tad more healthy and much more tasty and spicy? Because he’s boring? Or because he’s afraid to venture out of the comfort zone and try something much, much different. The continued success of the fast food behemoths, the emergence/proliferation of Subway and other sandwich shops, and Cali-Tex/Mex replacing authentic Mexican food saddens me. Because while Joe is eating foods that makes a man grow a vagina, I’m downing Tandoori Chicken with Panak Paneer and ready to take on the Thuggee.
Try something different every now and then, you freaks.
(Disclaimer: I still think In-N-Out is quite awesome and consider them above criticism of the usual fast food burger chains. But then, maybe that’s because I only get to partake in that indulgence a scant few times a year)