Jump to content

Welcome to the eG Forums!

These forums are a service of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts. Anyone can read the forums, however if you would like to participate in active discussions please join the society.


The American Way of Eating

  • Please log in to reply
69 replies to this topic

#61 aliwaks

  • participating member
  • 360 posts
  • Location:Philadelphia

Posted 10 July 2003 - 10:54 AM

. Hence, in far too many places in the US you find "French", "Italian", "Mexican", "Chinese" food that would be almost unreognisable to people from those countries.


you will notice that I mentioned I use the flavors of other cuisines rather than saying I have Italian food, chines food etc. on my menu. American food is evolutionary...I use classical techniques none of which are chosen for thier labour saving we play around with the flavors if lemon worked in the classical french why wouldn't sumac work in our adaptation for example or teh other way around if shiso works in the classical japanese application why not try using meadow mint.

There are obvioulsy dishes that in themselves with out change are wonderful and perfect and have thier place in teh culinary world and an esteemed place it is, but we as innovators should have the opportunity without regret to adapt & change and create new dishes without it being supposed that we neglect & shun the "old masters as it were"

the classical cuisines of have thier place much as a Michelangleo does but thier has to be welcome room for the Jasper Johns & the Basquiats
"sometimes I comb my hair with a fork" Eloise

#62 Sweet Willie

Sweet Willie
  • participating member
  • 866 posts
  • Location:ORD

Posted 06 August 2003 - 07:27 PM

Thus, we are in the process of creating that culture. And by "we" I mean us, literally, this group right here.

This quote combined w/the amount of name dropping I’ve read in the above posts, so much for one posters wish of “Snobbiness. Definitely. It's gotta go.”

We are all preaching to the choir on this site. No wonder most friends/colleagues I've turned on to this site, turn away.

The most important issue I see is spreading a passion about food to those who don’t have it, OK maybe passion is too strong, but at least get someone to care about how/what they eat. I know most would like to think that they assist in spreading the “good word of food” but in reality;

Client wants to dine at famous restaurant X even though you know it is overpriced junk. What happens, you take the client to restaurant X.

Kids are tired/hungry and you are the single parent, yeah just look up a slow food recipe that is the answer, no you take the kids to McDonalds. (please no stories about how you are the terrific know it all parent and we do XYZ w/the kids).

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m seeing more chains/much more processed foods when I travel outside the US. There is a reason, (hint $$$)

If all your friends want to dine on cutting edge, truly ethnic, or slow food dinners, Congratulations but then I would refer you to the quote, “Snobbiness. Definitely. It's gotta go.” If you are like my wife and I, our friends do not all share the food passion and choosing a restaurant/food can be a taxing issue when trying to convince someone to try something new.

Baby steps are how America will learn to have passion and care. I saw on FoodTV recently a story about a Scandinavian restaurant from NYC that opened a branch in Minneapolis with the same menu. Did not fly at all. The restaurant had to “Americanize” and offer more familiar items to make a $ (after all that is what EVERYONE is trying to do, (again please no stories about how you are so different and are not just about making a $)) The restaurant has earned the trust of the local public and now offers more “exotic” fare. I think the show was "a Cook's tour"

I know baby steps are how I’ve had to convince friends and colleagues to try new food experiences. Come to think of it, baby steps are how I developed the food passion.

#63 John Whiting

John Whiting
  • participating member
  • 2,749 posts

Posted 13 August 2003 - 08:47 AM

All that this website is obligated to do is to please those it set out to reach. If there enough such people to make it viable, then it has achieved its purpose. It is not obliged to speak to those whose primary concern is entertaining clients or children.

As for my own preferences, I often find eGullet too upmarket. I'm no longer particularly interested in restaurant meals that cost a bras and a gigot. But there is much useful information here, and so I continue to visit, occasionally offering a comment or a suggestion or even a mild protest, but no longer attempting to convert anyone to my way of thinking.

There is indeed snobbery here. But out there is arrogant mediocritizing anti-snobbery which offends me even more.
John Whiting, London
Whitings Writings
Top Google/MSN hit for Paris Bistros

#64 Sweet Willie

Sweet Willie
  • participating member
  • 866 posts
  • Location:ORD

Posted 17 August 2003 - 07:22 PM

All that this website is obligated to do is to please those it set out to reach. If there enough such people to make it viable, then it has achieved its purpose.

Whoa, not much of a purpose IMO and I hope one that is not shared by many others.
"I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be"

#65 Mayhaw Man

Mayhaw Man
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 4,857 posts
  • Location:Raleigh, NC

Posted 30 August 2003 - 11:44 AM

. If anything, too many Americans fall into one of two camps when it comes to food: 1) Totally ignorant; or 2) Overly intellectual.

Does this mean that if I sit down and enjoy a meal and 1) think about it 2) discuss it a little, but not too much, that I am ok and can continue to read and think about food without having to see a therapist?
Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

#66 Singapore

  • participating member
  • 180 posts
  • Location:Savannah, GA

Posted 06 September 2003 - 03:20 PM

I'm new to egullet, so forgive me for putting my two cents in:

I'm an American. I've had the pleasure of traveling and dining in countries on just about every continent sans Antarctica and Australia, so I think I've managed to pick up a decent sense of perspective, culinarily speaking.

A story comes to mind, once during a business trip to a small city in Germany, a local businessman and I went to dinner. Having long ago learned to never try to outdrink a European, I paced myself. Unfortunately, the fellow didn't notice, and got quite plastered.

Walking him back to his home, one arm across my shoulder, his shirt half tucked in, his hair a mess and his glasses askew, he turned to me and said: "You know what's the problem with you Americans? You're all so unstructured." I nearly dropped him from laughing so hard. :rolleyes:

I think that's the word you want to describe the American Way of Eating. Unstructured.

Don't get me wrong. I'm all for it.
Be polite with dragons, for thou art crunchy and goeth down well with ketchup....

#67 bao

  • participating member
  • 44 posts

Posted 07 September 2003 - 06:32 AM

I think that's the word you want to describe the American Way of Eating.  Unstructured.

In regards to our eating habits and our society, I've heard many respected folks tell me we are uncivilized. I agree.

Through food preparation and food discussions, I've found most people look for comfort food. They are not interested in trying something new, but rather migrate to something familiar. Something that they know is to their liking no matter what their background might be. How many people do you think order a completely unfamiliar dish on an empty stomach, dislike it and eat it anyway? How about if one has purchased enough ingredients to make a new recipe and it's not to their liking? Then what? Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for everyone? In a society where there aren't enough hours in a day, unless one is a foodie and loves to tread in unfamiliar waters, the average person is going to eat a very limited variety of food which is going to cause the rest of us to scratch our heads why they aren't eating ____ or are eating ____. Truth is, they don't know any better and have no interest in this subject. To them, eating is a way to fuel the body, not fuel the soul.

#68 jat

  • legacy participant
  • 133 posts
  • Location:Santa Barbara

Posted 14 September 2003 - 10:43 AM

:biggrin: I think it's about individual choices and consciousness. The "natural"
food restaurants where I live are no different from others, so I choose not to go
there. I just got the book The Raw Truth, and it's all about foods TOO high in
sugar and salt.
I see many people flood our farmer's markets. We have FIVE a week, not just
on the weekends.
I eat salads for dessert. We have all been highly educated about what foods
are good for us. How much protein, etc. I spent the summer in Paris, the food
was not healthy. It's no different anywhere else, except the care taken with
ingredients, and fresh produce. My neighbors grow there own vegetables and go
to the Farmers's Market.
I go with the Chef, Isabelle, at Citronelle. She KNOWS the freshest produce and
best at the Farmer's Markets. So which restaurants use organic produce? Those
are the one's I go to.
I think we are blessed with an abundance of great products and knowledge
of what we need to stay healthy and fit.
I am a dental hygienist, and taking good care of your teeth, can mean a healthy
heart. So we can choose to value and respect our bodies, or ignore it with the
attitude "I Know so-and-so who drank and smoked and lived to be 90."
It takes time and energy and respect and love to take care of our bodies
and thankfulness for what we have. Loving good food, loving how we treat
one another and the LANGUAGE we use, and how our words and actions affect
one another.

#69 krsobra

  • legacy participant
  • 1 posts

Posted 16 September 2003 - 09:59 PM

Time, in my opinion, is what drives the American public's diet. Granted, there are those fortunate few (a lot of them are in this forum) who have time (and $) to go to lengths of finding "good" dining places or practice "good" dining habits (food and company that really feeds the soul more than the stomach). But for the average Joe, its all about fast food or convenience foods (TV dinners).

As far as Joe is concerned, what they eat is decided mainly by a food scientist and a businessman more so than a chef. I'm a chef at a food manufacturing plant, and to be honest, it scares me what winds up in the stuff at fast food chains and grocery stores. Sure, I can make a fine Japanese vegetable bowl with shitake ginger sauce (coming soon to a "healthy food store" near you), but by the time all issues are addressed (shelf-life, deterioration of products/preservatives, the $ aspect), you get something loaded in artificial color, flavor, texture that is loaded with chemicals only a biochemist would understand. But.............it sells! It bothers my conscience so much that I'm going back to the hot kitchen life. But I'm sure someone else will take my place and keep the "American way of eating" going.

#70 fresh_a

  • participating member
  • 1,282 posts
  • Location:Paris

Posted 16 September 2003 - 11:03 PM

I'm annoyed when people drink coffee throughout a meal. That's just me, though.
Anti-alcoholics are unfortunates in the grip of water, that terrible poison, so corrosive that out of all substances it has been chosen for washing and scouring, and a drop of water added to a clear liquid like Absinthe, muddles it." ALFRED JARRY