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Cuisines You Just Don't Get


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No, I don't get desserts at all. But I mentioned peach cobbler because, well, it just sounds weird to me.

"Cobbler."

What is that? I don't get it.

The actual derivation of the word "cobbler" when referring to the dessert is vague, at best.

As you know, a fruit cobbler is a deep dish fruit pie with no bottom layer of dough or crust. A layer of biscuits or dumplings are placed on top of the fruit filling and then the dessert is baked.

Regarding the name, one thought is that fruit "cobblers" were so named because the biscuit/dumpling layer of dough on top resembled rounded cobble stones after baking.

Another thought was that since the dough on top is usually not a single sheet of dough but is, instead, pieces of dough (like dumplings) placed incrementally over the layer of fruit, that the name "cobbler" came from the phrase "to cobble", meaning "to piece together" (which is how the shoe-related term "cobbler" came into being).

Also "cob" (as in 'cob (spider) web) means a small rounded headlike thing, like a cobble stone. So you can by-pass the cobble street theory if you assume that 'cobbler' refers to the small bits of dough themselves.

And obviously, the original coblers were made out of, a now sadly extinct, fruity-tasting spider. Peaches are just trying to recreate the that once much loved spider-pudding.

Edited by Adam Balic (log)
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I don't get head cheese.

I'm not sure I would ever buy a commercial example of it. The idea of buying it from Hickory Farms makes my stomach turn.

However, when I was growing up, my father worked in a stock brokerage office with another broker who came from a farm family in the next county. We would head out once a year to help slaughter hogs, scald them, break them down, fabricate the prime cuts, and do low-brow country charcuterie with the rest. I can promise you that head cheese is damn good when it comes from a batch you helped make from a hog you helped kill. Take a slice, put it on a saltine cracker, top it with a little tobasco sauce. A wee bit of redneck ambrosia. Haven't had it in years. I'd kill for some now.

Jim

Jim Jones

London, England

Never teach a pig to sing. It only wastes your time and frustrates the pig.

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At the risk of being over pedantic again, "getting it" is not the same as "liking it". Take the recently mentioned head cheese, whether you like it or not you should be able to see why it came about, why it developed in the way it did and why those ingredients came together in the finished product. In other words you should get it. But you don't have to like it.

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Sometimes one's dislike of something is bound with an incomprehension as to how anyone could (as witness some people's reactions to head cheese).

Then there is complete incomprehension as to something's very structure and existence.

For example that jello is a salad.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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I'm probably in the minority on this one, but I don't get mayo on fries. I like mayo. I like fries. But together it's just incomprehensible. Belgians seem to love it, and they're the best fry makers in the world (or at least the most prolific), so it can't be bad. But to me it seems sick and twisted.

...
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I'm probably in the minority on this one, but I don't get mayo on fries. I like mayo. I like fries. But together it's just incomprehensible. Belgians seem to love it, and they're the best fry makers in the world (or at least the most prolific), so it can't be bad. But to me it seems sick and twisted.

Hm.

Perhaps its the mayonnaise you use?

Frites and mayo are a standard also in Canada and France. Though not the standard. Vinegar is common in Canada. When I have asked for either in the U.S. I was always looked askance.

I don't get gravy on frites. It's so counterproductive to put wet stuff on crispy stuff. Well, I "get" it. But it's a crying shame.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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I'm probably in the minority on this one, but I don't get mayo on fries. I like mayo. I like fries. But together it's just incomprehensible. Belgians seem to love it, and they're the best fry makers in the world (or at least the most prolific), so it can't be bad. But to me it seems sick and twisted.

Hm.

Perhaps its the mayonnaise you use?

Exactly. Frites and the mayo in Holland are the best.

Personally, I like em with Dijon. Yesterday, by coincidence, I had some blue cheese fries. First 3-4 mouthsful were great. After that, it was de trop. Some in LA favor chili cheese fries.

I'm hollywood and I approve this message.

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There was a time when I just did not understand "steak" as a cuisine..the whole "steakhouse" mentality. While I always enjoyed beef, and liked steak, I just couldn't understand why people would choose a steakhouse and make the steak the star and the rest of the meal the supporting cast. And, it can't be said that I didn't have a GOOD steak...The Palm to Peter Luger's to home grilled prime aged were all tasted. I just didn't "get it".

I also don't get Raw Food cuisine...it seems like faulty logic to me.

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Sometimes one's dislike of something is bound with an incomprehension as to how anyone could (as witness some people's reactions to head cheese).

Then there is complete incomprehension as to something's very structure and existence.

For example that jello is a salad.

Jello became a salad thanks soley to Madison Avenue. They started marketing it as a "Jello salad" and America blindly followed their lead. Being the sponsor for Jack Benny's radio show for 10 years also helped secure its niche in American kitchens.

You can visit the Jello Museum online here. Scroll down for the history of the product that built General Foods.

You can see some Jello ad images here in the "Gallery of Regrettable Foods".

Some Jello trivia: In the MGM classic film "The Wizard of Oz", when Dorothy and her pals reach the Emerald City and are driven around in an open carriage led by a "horse of a different color" (the horse kept changing color during the scene), the different colors were accomplished by using different Jello powders to "colorize" the horse.

They had to keep reapplying the Jello powder between takes because the horse kept licking it off.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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And yet I don't get much of American cuisine, especially Southern American.

A few things make sense. I get barbecue because it's basically just slow cooking meats. I get fried chicken. It's chicken and it's fried. Pretty obvious. I get gumbo (though I don't much like it). I get grits; it's polenta.

Every now and then someone will talk about "sammiches" and I can translate that into "sarnies" and know what they mean. So terminology isn't the issue.

I don't get that jello is a salad. In fact, I don't get jello. I don't get miracle whip or peach cobbler or "white gravies" as in chicken-fried steak or cooking ham with soda pop or...

And so I wind up asking silly questions, receiving kind (but amused) answers. But I still don't get it. It always seems bizarre and exotic. And think I never really will get it because some foods only make sense if you grow up with them.

For example, I like leberkasse, a fairly bland pork meatloaf that is served hot on a roll with mustard, because I had it many times as a child when my family was living in Germany. If that weren't the case I probably would not care for it at all.

Are there cuisines that you just don't get? Why do you think that is? Would further exposure change this? Or is it a matter of needing a lifelong exposure?

I apologize in advance for only reading the first post:

jin,

I think you're mistaking American "peasant" food for cuisine. i don't mean for that to sound as terribly offensive and judgmental as it does. But jello salad (something I love and grew up with) is not a cuisine. It's a cheap easy way to make a sweet generally enjoyed side dish. Miracle Whip? Same Same. I'm not sure why you don't like white gravies, but that's a question of taste. Is ham with soda pop much different from the worldwide pairing of pork with sweet fruits? (Apples, raisons, etc.) Although if I recall, you and I agree that sweets and meats should not go together.

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I also don't get Raw Food cuisine...it seems like faulty logic to me.

It is faulty logic. I could never understand how anyone could be convinced that fruits and veggies evolved to contain enzymes specific to enabling humans to digest them. Do humans contain enzymes that help bears digest us? I know, I know, only if we are not heated above 118 degrees... :rolleyes:

=Mark

Give a man a fish, he eats for a Day.

Teach a man to fish, he eats for Life.

Teach a man to sell fish, he eats Steak

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Marmite, man. What is up with that? Marmite is seriously bleah.

Mayonnaise. Since marrying a Dutch guy, I have tried to appreciate mayo. At least it doesn't turn my stomach at first sight anymore, but I still get queasy watching my husband slather it on his burgers and fries, big gobs of white pus dripping from his mouth and fingers, oozing out the sides of the sandwich. Yecch.

Some things I have heard about German cuisine, but haven't experienced: the giant dumpling, served plain or with gravy. Just one big lump of dough. My husband says it's good. I also hear they eat potatoes raw like apples, but I'm not sure that's true. Once, my little cousin was hungry, so his German nanny handed him a tub of cream cheese and a spoon. That I do not get.

And now my two cents: Jello in itself is not a salad. Jello with bits of fruit and veggies, and even some Miracle Whip, is a salad, but I don't know why. Even though I saw it at many church potlucks as a kid, I never got it.

Meat and soda pop: This, I think, is due to another marketing coup, this time from Coca Cola. However, there is a historical reason for cooking with Coke: back in WWII, baking soda was hard to come by, so folks used Coca Cola in their baking, because the soda helped to raise the cake or whatever. That is why you still find Coke Cake in Southern cuisine.

BTW, you can get CocaCola Cake at Duke's Southern Cooking in Manhattan, but having had a family member employed there, I can assure you there is not one drop of soda pop in the cake. It is pure Duncan Hines.

I recently came across a bizarre recipe for "Georgia Cracker salad," on foodnetwork.com, of all places. It was from Paula Deen. It was nothing but crushed saltines mixed with mayonnaise. Dude.

Jinmyo, have you ever seen one of those community cookbooks put together by a church congregation, or school PTA, or similar, usually as a fundraising item? Those are goldmines of strange food combinations, which are popular in the South and Midwest USA. My dad's contracting company put one out a couple of years ago; my mom's and my recipes looked pretty hoity-toity next to such delicacies as "Dump Cake" and many, many recipes for all manner of Jello salads. :hmmm:

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Stone, while I basically agree with you, why is it then that we seem to "get" -- and love and even respect -- the peasant food of so many other groups?  Just wondering.

I was thinking about that also. I wonder what the upper class of other countries (China, Japan, France, etc.) think about their own peasant food. Of course, it's also important to note that most other cuisine's peasant foods were developed by peasants using cheap but "real" food, well-spiced to preserve and cover off-tastes. American peasant food was often developed by companies using cheap, fake food, low on spices to appeal to teh masses.

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Yep. There is a difference between true American "peasant" cuisine and the manufactured crap that grew out of the Depression, World War II, and postwar modernization/ fascination with all things canned and boxed.

Cornbread, black-eye peas, BBQ, greens, grits, scrapple and the like, these things are part of an authentic "peasant" cuisine as worthy as any other.

Jello salad is not. Ritz crackers or, god forbid, potato chips, crumbled on top of casseroles is not. Marshmallows on top of sweet potatoes is not. And then there's the hallowed Thanksgiving treat of green-bean casserole - an authentic one must use Campbell's cream of mushroom soup and French's canned fried onion rings. Nothing else will do. :biggrin:

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Re: Jell-O

While many cuisines include sweet or sweet sour elements (Italian agrodulce, German sauerbraten, Chinese sweet and sour, e.g.) Americans have a sweet tooth to beat all.

Consider these “sweet” American salads: pickled beets, cole slaw, marinated cucumbers, applesauce, greens with hot bacon (or Russian or Thousand Island) dressing, pineapple and cottage cheese, cranberry sauce or a piece of melon or other fruit.

Making a box of Jell-O and dumping in some canned fruit or a grated carrot is an easy way to provide that sweet taste Americans love and crave. It’s easy to be a snob about Jell-O, since most of it is just plain bad, but I grew up eating it at least five times a week and there are a few recipes that I still love and occasionally make.

If you’ve never had a true fruit “jelly”, as it used to be called, make one with fresh or frozen juiced raspberries, and you’ll see why Jell-O was invented. In other words, you’ll “get it”, at least as a dessert.

Ruth Dondanville aka "ruthcooks"

“Are you making a statement, or are you making dinner?” Mario Batali

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Consider these “sweet” American salads:  pickled beets, cole slaw, marinated cucumbers, applesauce, greens with hot bacon ... dressing

Are all of those American? I would think that they came over from Europe, because I was served far more sweet pickled vegetables in Germany than anywhere else. One of my most treasured recipes is a handwritten recipe from my first generation great grandmother - potato salad with bacon and a hot sweet and sour dressing.

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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I don't get gravy on frites. It's so counterproductive to put wet stuff on crispy stuff. Well, I "get" it. But it's a crying shame.

I was thinking hard about something I didn't get but as usual you led us in the right direction, Jinmyo.

Poutine. Is there anyone who "gets" this? Gravy on frites with cottage cheese? Created by people who call themselves French?

I'm O.K. with the mayonnaise on fries thing in practice, though if I think about it conceptually - whipped vegetable oil on vegetable oil-infused vegetables - I wonder how this could be.

Sun-Ki Chai
http://www2.hawaii.edu/~sunki/

Former Hawaii Forum Host

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Poutine.  Is there anyone who "gets" this?  Gravy on frites with cottage cheese?  Created by people who call themselves French?

Damn, that sounds good! I've never heard of that.

Noise is music. All else is food.

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Americans have a sweet tooth to beat all. . .

Making a box of Jell-O and dumping in some canned fruit or a grated carrot is an easy way to provide that sweet taste Americans love and crave.

That makes me proud to be un-American! :biggrin::biggrin:

(lest anyone misunderstand, I am a native New Yorker, which as we all know is NOT considered part of America :laugh: )

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Poutine.  Is there anyone who "gets" this?  Gravy on frites with cottage cheese?  Created by people who call themselves French?

I'm O.K. with the mayonnaise on fries thing in practice, though if I think about it conceptually - whipped vegetable oil on vegetable oil-infused vegetables - I wonder how this could be.

Lest anyone think that the quintessential Quebecer junk-food Poutine (pronounced Poo-TEEN.......which says alot....), can be eaten with just any ordinary "cottage cheese", I'd like to set the record straight.

Poutine is made with a particular type of cheese curd called "fromage en grain" -- mild, stringy and white, but not mozzarella -- similar perhaps to Monterey Jack, but shaped in many small lumps. Then this cheese is dumped on top of the fries, and then the entire melting mass is covered with preferably a homemade and extremely hot brown beef gravy.

There are some purists who still want to eat Poutine, but who request the gravy on the side, so that the fries don't get soggy - leaving just crispy fries with melted cheese on them.

Just a gooey, hot, sometimes crispy, mess of fried potatoes and hearty gravy. There's really not much to "get" here. It just IS.

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I don't get Tex-Mex. I live in Texas, I love Texas, but I just cannot understand the thinking behind Tex-Mex food. Fajitas I understand. And I eat. And I like. But what's with all the goopy yellow cheese on EVERYTHING else? I love cheese, but I do believe there is such a thing as overkill. And Chili Con Queso? Why? It was good enough already.

Japenese; don't get it. Rice, good. Sticky rice, good. Raw fish, bad. Noodles, good. Tofu, bad.

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