Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

American palates


takadi
 Share

Recommended Posts

I often find myself not accustomed to eating foods that older generations and other cultures enjoy. I often find that foods are only suitable when drenched in in something sweet. I find myself craving sodas and fruit juices more than beer, wine, or any other sort of beverage. The older generations of my family, who are vietnamese, often enjoy things like grass jelly, durian, bitter melon, and all sorts of bitter greens which I find vile. Then there are people who enjoy straight black coffee. And most of the time, foods that are brought over to America or translated are often created laden in fat and sugars.

I'm wondering if I'm the only who feels as if my palate has been destroyed by all the foods I'm used to eating. Is the American palate dulled by our food habits of today? Everything is milder, sweeter, saltier, fattier.

Here is an article however, contesting to that. It actually says that the American palate is evolving.

http://www.chow.com/stories/10138

I am really trying to experiment with different flavors, especially the bitter, but I am still finding it extremely difficult. So far, the only way I consume alcohol is when I mix it with something sweet like rum and coke or if I drink it as a sweet beverage or hard liquor. The only way I can consume coffee is when I mix it with loads of cream and sugar and dilute it to nothingness. The only way I can enjoy grapefruit is with tons of sugar piled on top. The only way I can enjoy bitter melon...well...is to not eat it at all! I'm still pretty young, so maybe my palate needs time to develop. Even though I'm just one person, I am still questioning whether our food culture, a one that induces obesity especially, has to do with our tastes being dulled to the point of no return.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Takadi, I think it's a personal change (regardless of country) more than a generational one. I'm Japanese but living in the US and it took a while to like black coffee. Just a year ago, the UCC canned coffee (which, looking back, doesn't taste like coffee :wink: ) was the only think I could drink too!

The great thing about living in a country like the US is that you can always find food that isn't "milder, sweeter, saltier, fattier" without much trouble. I'm sure your tastebuds aren't stunted if you try to taste other foods :)

Out of curiosity, grass jelly, durian, bitter melon... , what do all of these taste like?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think that a typical (non-foodie) American diet can really dull your palate. Salty, sweet, mild - that kind of a flavor profile is pretty mass-market freindly. So you eat a frozen dinner, or fast food, or you go to a chain restaurant (I know a lot of people who eat this way), and you inherently limit your exposure to more complex, challenging flavors.

It's not irreversible. I started elimating processed food from my diet a few years ago. Now I find that alot of the foods I used to enjoy on a regular basis aren't as enjoyable if I'm not specifically craving junk. I grew up drinking soda, but now I don't really like it. I'm to the point where I actively dislike drinking something sweet with meals. I feel like in some ways, I've un-deadened my palate.

Coffee is an interesting example. Growing up, I didn't like it black at all. Milk and sugar please! Now the only time I put something in it is on a lazy evening when I specifically feel like treating myself to a vanilla latte. I always just assumed I had grown up.

I guess the biggest thing I've noticed is purposefully choosing to eat something salty or sweet, instead of taking them as the baseline.

"Nothing you could cook will ever be as good as the $2.99 all-you-can-eat pizza buffet." - my EX (wonder why he's an ex?)

My eGfoodblog: My corner of the Midwest

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it's all nature + nurture. I loved black coffee from the get-go. Never liked sodas at all till I turned college age. Didn't much care for 'em even then.

These days I have less patience with sweet & salty foods than I did 40 years ago. Your palate will change.

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know my palate's changed through the years. I like food a lot spicier than I could have tolerated even a few years ago, and what others think is "really" spicy is just nice and piquant to me. I also find that I am preferring desserts that are a little less sweet, or at least more complex than I used to, not that I'm averse to the occasional Slurpee!

I've heard and read that our ability to taste diminishes with time, and so we find ourselves seeking out sharper and stronger flavors. This helps explain why many kids don't like cheese except for maybe really mild string cheese or jack, or don't eat spicy foods. I know I didn't like spicy at all when I was little and could have eaten a bowl of sugar if my mom had let me.

Keep trying new foods, and maybe one day you'll find you enjoy a fine bourbon, or black coffee, or durian!

"I just hate health food"--Julia Child

Jennifer Garner

buttercream pastries

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think that a typical (non-foodie) American diet can really dull your palate.  Salty, sweet, mild - that kind of a flavor profile is pretty mass-market freindly.  So you eat a frozen dinner, or fast food, or you go to a chain restaurant (I know a lot of people who eat this way), and you inherently limit your exposure to more complex, challenging flavors. 

It's not irreversible.  I started elimating processed food from my diet a few years ago.  Now I find that alot of the foods I used to enjoy on a regular basis aren't as enjoyable if I'm not specifically craving junk.  I grew up drinking soda, but now I don't really like it.  I'm to the point where I actively dislike drinking something sweet with meals.  I feel like in some ways, I've un-deadened my palate.

Indeed. Before I learned to cook, I had become accustomed to the overly salty, sweet, fatty flavors of mass-produced food. One impediment to cooking was that food made at home never tasted as good.

Now, much processed food tastes like a salt lick (or cloyingly sweet) to me, or makes me sick to my stomach from all the fat. A deadening and corresponding un-deadening of the palate over time due to change in habits is a great way to describe this.

David aka "DCP"

Amateur protein denaturer, Maillard reaction experimenter, & gourmand-at-large

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well I guess one thing that got me questioning this was when I was looking up different types of mustards to buy. Then I ran into good old wikipedia and read up that mustard didn't really become part of the American culture until later when they made a much much milder, bright yellow version of the mustard. It just hit me that alot of foods in America come in milder, flashy versions of its former self.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Out of curiosity, grass jelly, durian, bitter melon... , what do all of these taste like?

Can't speak for bitter melon (and had a bad experience with a grass jelly drink from the local Filipino market) but can about durian.

There are many different varieties, but the one I've had did not smell terrible - perhaps because it was shipped frozen to the US and I dismantled it when partially thawed.

The texture (ripe) is gooey and stringy. The flesh, inside a thin membrane, has a creamy mouthfeel and flavor reminiscent of bananas, vanilla, and caramel (to me). It is also high in sulfur, and tastes a bit like ripe jackfruit. There is an aftertaste (with lovely 'durian burps' hours thereafter) of cheese, onions, garlic, and wine.

YMMV, of course, as this is only my experience of one cultivar. I used most of the pulp to make Durian Breakfast Muffins, ans the rest is earmarked for a cake.

David aka "DCP"

Amateur protein denaturer, Maillard reaction experimenter, & gourmand-at-large

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What a great subject for a thread.

I don't have any evidence to support this, but I don't believe that palates change significantly over time if one doesn't choose to develop their palate. It is not a passive activity.

Since black coffee is noted often in this thread, I'll note that I own a coffeehouse. When I invite people to try some top auction coffees - but insist that they have to drink them black, no milk or sugar - people are astounded that they can actually tolerate the taste of black coffee. We give them challenges like looking for a specific berry, or type of chocolate or nut flavor in what they're drinking. And they accept that challenge and end up enjoying the experience.

If we can get them to change their minds on the subject of coffee, anything seems possible.

Rich Westerfield

Mt. Lebanon, PA

Drinking great coffee makes you a better lover.

There is no scientific data to support this conclusion, but try to prove otherwise. Go on. Try it. Right now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't have any evidence to support this, but I don't believe that palates change significantly over time if one doesn't choose to develop their palate.  It is not a passive activity.

Except for the changes that can occur due to health or age, that is.

Health of course, can be worked on to improve, but age is natural (strangely enough :laugh: ) and it does affect the palate from childhood to old age, in many if not most people. :wink:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been really trying to aqcuire a taste for bitter melon, which is said to have medicinal properties as well as natural plant insulins to help with blood sugar levels. So far, the only way I can really digest it is if I drown it in soy sauce and sugar and soak in salt water before hand to weaken the bitterness. I've actually nibbled on it raw before...it tastes like pencil lead.

I think the problem I have with grass jelly is not because it tastes bad, it just has a strangeness about it that isn't appetizing or refreshing. I guess when I drink something, I am expecting it to be sweet so much of the time that anything other than sweet will just not quench any craving at all.

Durian just smells and has an aftertaste like a toilet. Of course I'm still trying to find that "pleasant, honey, nutty taste" that people rave about.

One thing I am proud of is that I am really taking a liking towards dark chocolate.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think I made the transition fairly early. In my early teens, I was a processed food junkie. I'd eat a bag of Doritos for lunch and not think twice (other than worrying about getting caught spending my lunch money on chips instead of a "balanced" school lunch). Sometime in high school, I had a health class, and at the same time I began watching a lot of FoodTV. The combination of the urgings of the health teacher, phrases on TV such as, "You can really taste the cabbage in this!" (cabbage has a taste? I thought), and a one-week "caveman diet" homework assignment got me to recognize and appreciate the tastes that exist other than sweet, sour, and salty.

-- There are infinite variations on food restrictions. --

Crooked Kitchen - my food blog

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

This is a fascinating topic... I remember when my staples (in my teen years and even early 20s) included Dipsy Doodles, Ring Dings, and Burger King. I used to love Pizza Hut. I said "yuck" to wine and drank fruity mixed drinks if alcohol was in the cards.

Now, things are very different. I drink wine, espresso, eat bitter greens and things like that.

But there are times when I reminisce about fried chicken, have a hankering for french fries or cookies with M&M's in them.

I think these things are (can be) good, too. Life doesn't have to be all endive salad and fillet of sole. We like fatty, salty things - even high-end ones such as foie gras.

I'm trying to figure out the American diet; I know my own family is schizophrenic, torn between Wendy's, hot dogs, chips, and All Bran, bananas, strawberries and other "healthy" things.

It wasn't until I got my bearings in a French countryside setting that food had more of a sense of tradition, pairings, customs, etc. Looking across to the U.S. (at least as I experienced it growing up and spending the start of my adulthood there), I feel as though food is medicalized. It isn't itself, it's what it can be broken down to: grams of fat, carbohydrates, etc. So if you don't embrace the healthy ethic of it, you might as well throw caution to the wind and make your two food groups (as mine used to be) "salty" and "sweet."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is a fascinating topic... I remember when my staples (in my teen years and even early 20s) included Dipsy Doodles, Ring Dings, and Burger King. I used to love Pizza Hut. I said "yuck" to wine and drank fruity mixed drinks if alcohol was in the cards.

Now, things are very different. I drink wine, espresso, eat bitter greens and things like that.

But there are times when I reminisce about fried chicken, have a hankering for french fries or cookies with M&M's in them.

I think these things are (can be) good, too. Life doesn't have to be all endive salad and fillet of sole. We like fatty, salty things - even high-end ones such as foie gras.

I'm trying to figure out the American diet; I know my own family is schizophrenic, torn between Wendy's, hot dogs, chips, and All Bran, bananas, strawberries and other "healthy" things.

It wasn't until I got my bearings in a French countryside setting that food had more of a sense of tradition, pairings, customs, etc. Looking across to the U.S. (at least as I experienced it growing up and spending the start of my adulthood there), I feel as though food is medicalized. It isn't itself, it's what it can be broken down to: grams of fat, carbohydrates, etc. So if you don't embrace the healthy ethic of it, you might as well throw caution to the wind and make your two food groups (as mine used to be) "salty" and "sweet."

This is a great topic of discussion. The interesting thing is the assumption that "American" food is all mass produced loaded with sugar, salt and fat. When I think of "American" food, I think of more traditional fare that is not mass produced. Sounthern, New England, Cajun, Southwestern, etc and so on. Brats, beer and mustard never really left the Great Lakes area. Some very nice cheeses and butter. Apple pie made traditionally is a very complex sweet, sour, savory thing going on, with a hunk of cheddar on top an entirely different thing. Maple syrup. Bacon in all its various permutations. So were we evolved in our palates, then de-evolved due to our circumstances and lifestyles?

Right now, the mustard section in my local grocery is larger than the mayo and ketchup sections.

I think I was fortunate, in that I had an opportunity to live and be exposed to the earlier generations (homemade cured meats, fresh vegetables, pickles, preserves, relishes, etc.) "this generation", and am seeing a very demanding consumer out there right now that wants to eat like Grandma, or Great Grandma, as the case may be.

It's funny when you think of the "generation" that is being held accountable for the dead American palate, are the very people driving the market for more new and interesting challenges to the palate.

Schizo, certainly. Constantly dissatisfied? Yep. Better, faster and cheaper. We want it cheap and easy, but we also want it great.

Edit to add: Now that I think about it, a hamburger with mustard, ketchup, pickle, a slice of tomato, some nice cheddar, fresh onion, toasted bun, and that smoky grilled beef patty, is a pretty complex combination on the palate. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Then all the combinations on a hot dog! Chili dog, relish dog, etc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I kind of had this argument with a roommate a while back about the convenience of food vs the taste and quality. He just argued back that it doesn't matter what we eat as long as it's edible and somewhat delicious. Good food was just obsolete in this modern world of money and study. I think that thought pattern represents a huge segment of college students in general, but I'm wondering if it represented American youth as a whole. Of course, I started cooking and stinking up my sleazy college apartment and my roommates deemed me crazy at first. Later it seemed that they caught on and soon enough all of us were in the kitchen chopping up vegetables. It was a surreal and humorous sight.

I guess that's why I wanted to explore e-gullet as well. I personally find it very difficult to meet anyone who has any passion for food anymore. Is this an American thing? Alton Brown had once stated in an interview that there are no such thing as "cooking shows" in Italy because it would be so redundant. Passion for food is such a default in Italian culture that the cooking shows would be akin to "how to watch TV" shows or "how to say please and thank you" shows. It's ingrained in their minds since early childhood. I guess the difficulty of finding someone to relate to or learn from has provided some obstacles for me in my process of learning how to cook for myself and for others (especially since I only really started last year). Some people have been cooking their whole lives and it just comes so naturally to them. What goes with what? What flavor turns into this flavor when this is done to it? Sometimes I feel the science of food is important, but when it all comes down to the end, it comes to the art and instinct, which I severely lack.

Edited by takadi (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is a great topic of discussion. The interesting thing is the assumption that "American" food is all mass produced loaded with sugar, salt and fat. When I think of "American" food, I think of more traditional fare that is not mass produced. Sounthern, New England, Cajun, Southwestern, etc and so on. Brats, beer and mustard never really left the Great Lakes area. Some very nice cheeses and butter. Apple pie made traditionally is a very complex sweet, sour, savory thing going on, with a hunk of cheddar on top an entirely different thing. Maple syrup. Bacon in all its various permutations. So were we evolved in our palates, then de-evolved due to our circumstances and lifestyles?

I agree wholeheartedly, and one of my constant pleasures is making American dishes for French friends. I've introduced people to okra (found in African markets and called "gombos"), gumbo, blackened shrimp, cornbread, peanut butter cookies, New England clam chowder, enchiladas, cheesecake, carrot cake, and many other regional dishes, as well as used associations or tactics that are often used in America (some types of fusion food, etc.).

But I still do think that despite a wide range of real American dishes, there isn't a "tradition" of food, so it's far too easy to get uprooted. My mother is a great cook, but she never taught me a thing, and my brother can't make anything more than a tuna fish sandwich. So I agree with your last comment, which is that our modern life has gotten the upper hand over something that just wasn't maybe a priority, or because of the melting-pot, wasn't the same for us all?

There must be a Puritan element to it, too; it's not seemly to be so invested in food. Often at dinners, French people laugh about the fact that while eating, they're often talking about other foods, meals, etc. But they don't have a sense of shame.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had a similar experience in college in that I because deeply interested in cooking despite my roomates' utter lack of similar values, tastes, or understanding. They never got into it along with me, but it was fairly obvious why. Both came from a background of boring, least common denominator food; a mixture of both mediocore home cooking, low end restaurants, and packaged food.

More than anything though, I think that my interest in cooking comes from growing up with a homecooked meal every single night. A meal that we sat down, as a family, to eat and talk over. I didn't recognize its value at the time, but that isn't the point. Now, years later, all of these things I make, and even just the act of cooking, links me to those times and those people. When we reunite we share our new recipes, and sit down to eat a meal. It's sort of a lifelong storyline. Even though I am cooking for myself most of the time it stems from that expectation that food should be something you cook yourself not out of duty but because that is what food is. If it's something new and wonderful, I can look forward to sharing it with friends and family.

I suppose my argument would then be, if you come from a background where food was just food or, even worse, something to be ashamed of, then it is harder to take an interest in cooking. If it was of poor quality it becomes even harder. Food's significance and importence is hard to describe and, like language, it's hard to pick up after you've gotten past a certain age. As soon as our culture chose convenience as its number 1 priority we started a self perpetuating cycle of kids not having the basic 'food education' and in turn not passing it on to their children.

I kind of had this argument with a roommate a while back about the convenience of food vs the taste and quality. He just argued back that it doesn't matter what we eat as long as it's edible and somewhat delicious. Good food was just obsolete in this modern world of money and study. I think that thought pattern represents a huge segment of college students in general, but I'm wondering if it represented American youth as a whole.  Of course, I started cooking and stinking up my sleazy college apartment and my roommates deemed me crazy at first. Later it seemed that they caught on and soon enough all of us were in the kitchen chopping up vegetables. It was a surreal and humorous sight.

I guess that's why I wanted to explore e-gullet as well. I personally find it very difficult to meet anyone who has any passion for food anymore. Is this an American thing? Alton Brown had once stated in an interview that there are no such thing as "cooking shows" in Italy because it would be so redundant. Passion for food is such a default in Italian culture that the cooking shows would be akin to "how to watch TV" shows or "how to say please and thank you" shows. It's ingrained in their minds since early childhood. I guess the difficulty of finding someone to relate to or learn from has provided some obstacles for me in my process of learning how to cook for myself and for others (especially since I only really started last year). Some people have been cooking their whole lives and it just comes so naturally to them. What goes with what? What flavor turns into this flavor when this is done to it? Sometimes I feel the science of food is important, but when it all comes down to the end, it comes to the art and instinct, which I severely lack.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is a great topic of discussion. The interesting thing is the assumption that "American" food is all mass produced loaded with sugar, salt and fat. When I think of "American" food, I think of more traditional fare that is not mass produced. Sounthern, New England, Cajun, Southwestern, etc and so on. Brats, beer and mustard never really left the Great Lakes area. Some very nice cheeses and butter. Apple pie made traditionally is a very complex sweet, sour, savory thing going on, with a hunk of cheddar on top an entirely different thing. Maple syrup. Bacon in all its various permutations. So were we evolved in our palates, then de-evolved due to our circumstances and lifestyles?

I agree wholeheartedly, and one of my constant pleasures is making American dishes for French friends. I've introduced people to okra (found in African markets and called "gombos"), gumbo, blackened shrimp, cornbread, peanut butter cookies, New England clam chowder, enchiladas, cheesecake, carrot cake, and many other regional dishes, as well as used associations or tactics that are often used in America (some types of fusion food, etc.).

But I still do think that despite a wide range of real American dishes, there isn't a "tradition" of food, so it's far too easy to get uprooted. My mother is a great cook, but she never taught me a thing, and my brother can't make anything more than a tuna fish sandwich. So I agree with your last comment, which is that our modern life has gotten the upper hand over something that just wasn't maybe a priority, or because of the melting-pot, wasn't the same for us all?

There must be a Puritan element to it, too; it's not seemly to be so invested in food. Often at dinners, French people laugh about the fact that while eating, they're often talking about other foods, meals, etc. But they don't have a sense of shame.

It is interesting that although we produce some great food, we feel guilty about enjoying it, and must minimalize what is a very diverse and interesting cuisine. It's ours, so it must not be good.

Funny. Sad funny, but funny nonetheless.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

.......but it was fairly obvious why. Both came from a background of boring, least common denominator food; a mixture of both mediocore home cooking, low end restaurants, and packaged food.......

I don't know that I necessarily agree with that. My Mom could be accused of cooking the same sort of meals. *SHE* tried, but was totally constrained by Daddy's pedestrian Wisconsin farm-boy tastes (sorry, Wisconsin farm-boys......). If it wasn't a slab 'o' gray meat and some sort of potatoes and overcooked peas or corn, Daddy wasn't interested in it. Going out for dinner usually meant the local and era-specific equivalent of Denny's. Saturday dinner, to give Mom a break, was McDonald's. *shiver*

And yet.........I've become a foodie. Actually, so did Mom after Daddy passed. She and I had some wonderful meals together. We actually had some wonderful meals together, the 3 of us, once Mom and I realized we could satisfy Daddy by charring a steak to hockey-puck consistency, and then making US a pan of lasagna or enchiladas or quiche or whatever.

I have a friend, my best friend, whose family served, and still serves, instant mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving. I've trained her up pretty good as well, she just asked me for a subscription to Cook's Illustrated for her birthday !

I think for both of us, yes, it was the act of sitting down and sharing the meal that laid the foundation for the future. Food was important. Cooking for someone is just about the most significant thing you can do for them. Sharing YOUR larder, what's more loving than that? And that was the message, not the quality of the end product, but the sharing of it, and the giving of it. That's what instills the respect of the ingredients and the process and the outcome that defines a *foodie*.

In a nutshell, YES absolutely palates can be trained, and do grow and mature. I eat things that my parents would never have considered. You can overcome the pedestrian offerings of your youth, but food and meals and the sharing of them have to have been made important enough for you to want to experience the entire spectrum that's available to you. If meals are seen as an inconvenience, nuked burritos will always be enough for your needs.

(Good Golly Miss Molly I hope I'm doin' this right..........first time out trying to quote.... :unsure: )

--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I personally find it very difficult to meet anyone who has any passion for food anymore. Is this an American thing? Alton Brown had once stated in an interview that there are no such thing as "cooking shows" in Italy because it would be so redundant. Passion for food is such a default in Italian culture that the cooking shows would be akin to "how to watch TV" shows or "how to say please and thank you" shows. It's ingrained in their minds since early childhood.

I think that at some time or another, I have posted here on eG about an advertisement that had me doubled over with laughter when I ran across it.

It was a bus shelter ad for a new housing development in a marginal neighborhood on the far northwest fringe of Center City Philadelphia. The houses in this development sell for anywhere from two to four times what existing nearby structures would probably have fetched before this development opened.

The ad depicts an African-American couple beaming in their spiffy new kitchen, with solid wood cabinets and stainless steel appliances. The legend above them reads, "We've started watching cooking shows!"

This is cooking as conspicuous consumption, a form of status display. I don't believe that Americans collectively are as divorced from good food as things like this imply -- no culinary culture that produced great indigenous barbecue can be that bad -- but I agree that it's certainly not instilled from birth in many Americans.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Birdseye" Refrigeration and freezing as a means of preserving shelf life of food product.

The TV Dinner & the microwave oven.

The automobile & McDonald's.

America's school lunch program.

HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP used as a preservative in snack food.

The BIG GULP, and SUPER SIZE VALUE PLAY!

Yes, we are free to make choices, but are we really? This has become the American food culture, one that most Americans are HAPPY with.

Media plays a big part in forming our opinions about what we eat. Who else is going to show us the way? Unfortunately, that influence is all about making $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ :angry:

After all that venting, I should feel alot better, but I don't.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A trend I have been observing in America has been that we've have started to revert back to our old roots again. I don't know, maybe we are just tired of big industry and far sweeping technological advances. Local produce from small farms, organics, new information about nutrition. I mean, look at Mcdonald's and their new "healthy" image. Yes McDonald's is still the heart attack inducing restaurant it still was, but perhaps this new image of eating good food is becoming mainstream again. I find that people who take the time to enjoy their meals take the time to enjoy life as well.

It's very very difficult to find good food still with all the big industries, artificial ingredients, and general lack of choices. Many people these days just care about cheap and available, but unfortunately that comes at a price as well (we can get into economics later) Hell, all cheap and available does is stuff you with extra calories that end up damaging you in the end anyways. I'm no food snob and I love my ramen and cheeseburger now and then, but I think if anyone takes the time out to find high quality food and pay the extra money, we'll start to eat in moderation naturally. Not only does cheap food encourage us to eat more of a bad thing, but its cheapness and availability gives us no guilt about throwing away and wasting food (we are probably the leading country in wasting precious food).

Edited by takadi (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Before making comparisons with European countries or anywhere else.

Before buying into ill conceived conventional wisdom.

Before disparaging comments about "industrial" foods.

Before stereotyping palates (American or others).

Consider this:

The US is a very large country geographically and population wise.

France would fit comfortably within the borders of Texas.

No European country has the diversity in population that America does (not even close).

The United States encompasses a wide range of climates and growing seasons.

A large portion of our country is under a few feet of snow much of the year.

We tend to overlook the really good things about our own country and play up the negatives. We also tend to look at only the best of the rest of the world.

The industrial cities and towns of italy and France are usually not one's list of sights to see and places to visit. neither are the slums and poor areas.

We overlook the tremendous variety of cuisines available around this country--great Vietnamese cooking in Minneapolis (of all places to Mex and Tex Mex and South Western cuisine and Pacific rim cooking to Southern cooking if Barbeque is not the first bastion of slow food I don't know what is. Creole and Cajun cooking and local cuisine of New Orleans. How about the Low Country cooking of the Carolinas or the latin cuisines of the Caribbean?

How about New England? How about the game and fresh water fish available in Idaho and Wyoming. Let's not even bother mentioning the diversity and excellence of local products in major cities. we now make wine and cheese in just about every state!

Tell me about this monolithic American palate?

and

Remember--a lot of areas here have a short or restricted growing season so thank God for Green Giant and trucks and trains. Now fed ex and others so a restaurant in California can serve blue crabs and on the east coast we can find a dungenous variety.

Wanna play up the negatives regarding ADM and Monsanto fine. But let's remember these corporations are doing more to help starving nations than any French butcher or Italian wine maker or small artisinal farmer in the US or anywhere.

American palate?

What exactly is that? Who are these monolithic "Americans"

we all possess a "sweet tooth"? Really!

Last time I looked most of the rest of the world has embraced Coke.

The British practically invented Port and ever had a sticky--toffee or desert wine?

Spaniards seem to love oaked wines (I thought it was just us New Worlders).

and french seem to enjoy their pastry.

How about the industrial foods of Europe? There's a documentary decrying just that:"Our Daily Bread."

We got pollution--the good news is that industry is helping clean it up--witness the many rivers and lakes slowly coming back!

They got pollution too! My European friends are decrying the state of the Mediterranean.

so

food here is evolving. things are better now than ever before and will continue to get better.

Local farms and fresh product is great--farmer's markets are growing in number.

But a local farmer's market doesn't seem to work November to June in most of America. Improved transportation and preservation techniques--freezing canning etc also play a role.

There is no paradise on Earth. Everyplace has good and bad. We owe a lot to the folks in Europe and they owe us a lot. food, wine and otherwise.

But these discussions need some perspective and reality.

stereotyping always has some grounding in truth but it always is doomed to result in oversimplification of complex subjects.

I would rather celebrate the best of every place--here, there, and everywhere and recognize the bad (and try where possible to fix and improve things).

again

as for that "American palate"--I am not sure it so easily defined.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...