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Cuisines You Just Don't Get


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I know this topic has swayed a bit from what we don't get to what we don't like.

It's interesting how so many of our food favorites have a lot to do with we're used to( our country of origin, conditioning, heritage etc.)

It's funny how so many of you hate stuff I like:

head cheese (last time I bought it ,I hid it from my husband!) good with horseradish!

marmite, on a piece of brown bread spread with butter add a very thin

layyer. It's salty and yeasty, and has to be used sparingly.

scrapple! The stuff I had in Wisconsin was more like breakfast sausage and grits shaped in a loaf, then cut into slices and pan fried, served with maple syrup.

Once I had lunch with some co-workers who still think tofu is "Ewww, wierd" and I said as I ate my salmon tartare:

"Imagine you had never seen or eaten an egg and I told you about a new food that is all squishy and gelatinous, and actually an unfertilized baby chick, but when you cracked the round hard shell it comes in and cooked it in some butter with salt and pepper it was pretty damn good! And oh yeah, it comes out of a chicken's butt!"

And tofu is made from soybeans.....scary!

:rolleyes: It does sound a bit strange, huh?

JANE

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chips (fries) in pitta bread

And isn't that redundant?

It reminds me of a Thanksgiving at a friend's house where the turkey had been eaten completely down to the bones. One of the guests was still hungry and made himself a sandwich with just stuffing in it.

"Would you care for some bread on your bread?" :blink:

 

“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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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.

"It's so counterproductive to put wet stuff on crispy stuff."

And what is mayo or vinegar?

They aren't very dry are they? Or are they?

The latter mentioned gravy and such are for dippin', not dousin'...don't exactly love it - but I definitely get it. There are very few 'frites' that are drowned in the US except for chili cheese fries or cheese fries.

Not slaggin' jus' thinking it's different strokes.

[edit: sp? meant 'latter' not 'latte']

Edited by sladeums (log)

...I thought I had an appetite for destruction but all I wanted was a club sandwich.

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And what is mayo or vinegar?

They aren't very dry are they? Or are they?

The latter mentioned gravy and such are for dippin', not dousin'...don't exactly love it - but I definitely get it. There are very few 'frites' that are drowned in the US except for chili cheese fries or cheese fries.

Not slaggin' jus' thinking it's different strokes.

Agreed, agreed.

Although vinegar is used here for dipping, it quickly sogs the frites.

Mayo is also only used for dipping, not spread on as a sauce.

However, gravy is usually poured over the poor frites, their low moans and cries of crispness lost under the wet and hot sludge lost long before they come before you silent and drooping under the weight of the atrocity cast upon them.

As a dip, fine. I guess. I get it. But I just want fleur de sel for the crunch and the occasional dip of a tip into freshly made mayo.

Re chip butties. Rarely (never ever seen or heard of it after more than 50 years) in pita. Usually in white squishy bread with much margarine and "brown sauce" (HP sauce). The horror. The horror.

"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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tryska,

loco moco is a Hawaiian dish consisting of sticky lumps of rice, topped with two hamburger patties, topped with a fried egg, topped with greasy brown gravy... and I'm not kidding! Usually served with aforementioned macaroni salad. Go figure.

Squeat

you know...that actually doesn't sound so bad to me....

a little high in fat, but lots of protein.

i think it needs some bacon tho...and no macaroni salad.

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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.

Wait, by "treasured" do you mean "one that I am unwilling to share?"

Because that sounds damn good.

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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.

Oooh, yes, care to share?

Mmmm...potato salad & bacon.

 

“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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why do British people love "beans on toast so much"? or chips (fries) in pitta bread?

Beans on toast I can understand, even if I don't like it much. What I really don't get is that Australian favourite spaghetti on toast. Some years back when the Australian cricket team was touring India one of their stars, Shane Warne, brought along a big supply of canned spaghetti rather than have to eat anything local (presumably other than the bread). As some small revenge, he later ballooned up hugely and had to go on crash weight loss programmes!

That being said I confess that I can get carb on carb combos sometimes. Never had a chip butty, but it sounds sort of good in an over the top way. And the number one street food snack here in Bombay is vada pau which is a ball of highly spiced mashed potatoes dipped in chickpea batter and deep fried, then stuffed into a spongy bun along with plenty of spicy sauce. I'm putting on weight just thinking of it, but its total bliss.

Back to Australians, I don't get their obsession with Tim Tams: chocolate biscuits, sandwiched with chocolate cream and covered with chocolate? And not very good chocolate at that? Isn't some measure of contrast needed? And then they do the Tim-Tam Slam: take a hot drink like coffee or milk (or even cocoa, if there really is no limit to your chocolate tolerance), and a Tim-Tam. Bite off and eat the ends of the Tim-Tam and insert one end of the remaining biscuit into the hot drink. Suck really hard. Slowly the liquid travels up the biscuit, saturating itself en route with dissolving Tim-Tam.

I know some things have value just because you did them as a kid, but I can't imagine sane adults doing this.

Vikram

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I've done a quick check to confirm that the South African forum is a little used one, so I'm going to risk saying this. I love SA, beautiful place, wonderful people and, get this, amazing ingredients - just check the sort of seafood you get around the Cape, and the quality of the fruits and veg (well, the fruit and veg that isn't being standardised into perfect looking and tasteless specimens for the benefit of supermarket chains in Europe), and great meat.

And what do they do with these ingredients. Well to use SAtalk, ag, shame man, you don't want to know.

OK, that's not fair. I did eat in some good places in Jo'burg, a city made up from such a variety of cultures that you can always find something to your taste. Some places like the Portuguese-Mozambican or Jewish ones and at least one modern fusion sort of place I went to were all good. Even other places you could say there was a sort of comforting solidness that was nice to eat once, though maybe not again.

Also one must consider mitigating circumstances. Look at where the main outside influences in SA have come from: Britain and the Netherlands. And with the more traditional African cultures I think poverty and decades of forcing people to live in townships at subsistence level (cut away from the country where they might have found traditional foods) has prevented the cooking evolving much.

I also think the insane levels of violence in the cities is preventing the growth of the sort of interesting cosmopolitan food choices a city like Jo'burg should have: most such food options usually start in small restaurants or on the street, since that's all that immigrants can afford to sell from, and nobody in their right minds is going to sell on the streets in Jo'burg. With a few exceptions, most restaurants can only come up in the huge, high security malls and the price of space there means that you're only going to get high end places or chains, not interesting independent outlets.

But the food is still too boring! Meats barely or badly seasoned (though I like biltong). Watery veg (my boyfriend, who tried studying there for a while, slowly found himself going out of his mind when he'd come down to the cafeteria everyday and find the same tasteless masses of butternut squash). And pastry, everything smothered in masses of tasteless pastry. Even the Indian food, which was sort of interesting (for me at least, in noting the way it differed from Indian food in India) was often stuffed into tasteless pies or wrapped into samoosas which were about as far as one can get from crisp tasty samosas in India.

Of course, in Jo'brug everyone told us, go to Cape Town, that's where you'll really eat. And perhaps they were right if we could have afforded the really expensive places, or had travelled to Franshoek, which is where the food is supposed to be really outstanding since that's where French Huguenot immigrants settled. The seafood, just served grilled, was great and Olympia in Kalk Bay will go down as a truly historic bakery-deli for me.

But otherwise ordinary day to day cooked food was strictly OK only and the widely lauded Cape Malay cuisine not impressive at all? Koeksisters? Greasy braided doughnuts. Bobotie (which some horny guy in these forums was asking for recipes for sometime back)? Bland meat curry under eggy glop.

I think we bottomed out not in CT, but Soweto. This wasn't the Soweto of popular imagination, a vast poor slum. Soweto's not like that, though there are a few really poor parts at the margin, but I'm from Bombay OK, where slums are real slums, and Soweto was nothing like that. It was a surprisingly orderly place, streets and streets of identifit houses, but there were a few really posh areas with really fancy houses behind high walls and it was to one of these areas, Diepkloof, that we were going.

It was at a big party at a guy's house that was billed as an African food night - a few dishes were cooked and you pay a small fee for that, and booze you bring yourself. And as to what was on offer, well, I'm going to be lazy and just paste in from a story I later wrote about the experience:

The food was in the kitchen in three big pots. The first and largest was a vat of mealie pap, the maize porridge that is a South African staple. Porridge is never going to be exciting but when well made, as this was, mealie pap can be quietly savoury and sustaining. Pot two was spicy salad of chopped tomatoes, onions and chillies. But the main attraction seemed to be pot three which was, very simply, stewed chicken feet, in all the glory of their scaly yellow skin and big curving claws. We took our servings, but my boyfriend, well, chickened out, and dumped his feet on my plate. His cowardice made me determined to be more brave and I duly tried nibbling the scraps of flesh around the ankles.

But the problem with feet, as I’d discovered with chicken feet in Hong Kong years back, is even if you don’t mind the way they look. there isn’t much to eat. Or so I thought. Seeing me put the feet back on my plate mostly untasted, our film maker friend was upset. “You can’t waste that!” he said, and scooped them off my plate and showed us how to eat them - chewing them thoroughly until its only lumps of bone and gristle. Chicken feet, we were told later, were a big nostalgic Zulu delight. “Its what you’re given to eat as children,” another black friend told us. “While the adults eat the chicken, the children are given the feet to chew on, or they get to eat it in schools.”

Not being a Zulu, she had the same reactions as us, which was a relief. Since racism is always an uneasy specter in South Africa, we had started wondering guiltily if we were wrong in our reactions. Finding other blacks who shared our queasiness made us feel less bad. My friend has been largely vegetarian since. And I haven’t felt that great about chicken either.

So let me just state it: I definitely don't get chicken feet, whether Zulu or Cantonese!

Vikram

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“While the adults eat the chicken, the children are given the feet to chew on, or they get to eat it in schools.”

this is rather odd don't you think? that children would be given the less nourishing bits of food? or perhaps it's just the way i was raised.

in any case, chicken feet freak me out. my friend's uncle owns a jamaican butcher shop and one day we somehow got talked into covering the cases while he ran an errand (we'd jsut swung by to eat). well there was a huge case of chicken feet there, and i just couldn't take it...i started clowning with a foot to keep myself entertained and i think to relieve the stress that staring at a huge pile of chicken feet caused in me. apoparently my friend was so amused that she told the rest of our friends, and i was gifted with a rubber chicken foot someone found at a store. i still have it to this day.

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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.

Well with respect Ruth, flavored Jello was really invented as a marketing mechanism to expand the business of a company which only had one product (see my post a few pages back, and Tolliver's similar one last page). You can turn your argument around the other way--the American sweet tooth may be a RESULT of the marketing which vaulted Jello and Hershey's and other products of that type into the limelight at one point in history.

That's not saying that Jello with fruit can't be good. It can be. But its defintely still a uniquely American thing--a "food" invented purely as a by-product of a marketing campaign (actually these days the Japanese do that kind of thing too, right?)

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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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.

Oooh, yes, care to share?

Mmmm...potato salad & bacon.

When I get a moment (after the kids go to bed, most likely), I will add it to the eG recipes. :smile:

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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Someone please explain the appeal of chitlin's.  I never had them but from what I hear the smell during cooking is quite foul.  How does one get past the smell and want to eat them?

one could say the same about especially stinky cheese tho.

not that i understand chitlins. to me they fall under the general heading of "Guts" which is stuff i don't eat.

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Someone please explain the appeal of chitlin's.  I never had them but from what I hear the smell during cooking is quite foul.  How does one get past the smell and want to eat them?

one could say the same about especially stinky cheese tho.

not that i understand chitlins. to me they fall under the general heading of "Guts" which is stuff i don't eat.

never had to cook 'em.

i've been around enough foods of all kinds though.

i do enjoy chitlins, should try them southern style sometime tho.

Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

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But then there's always another creature (hyena, vulture, Bourdain , whatever) that'll eat the parts that I won't

A couple of days late but this is the funniest comment I've read in a while.

As far as cuisines, I do not think there is anything I do not "get" that I've tried so far. Certain things I might not "like" but I get them.

Someone made a comment earlier about Brits eating Frites in Pita. I Lebanon one of the most popular sandwiches or "wraps" I guess in all sandwich shops are "Frites Sandwich". Basically Pita bread wrapped around a filling of french fries, cabbage and mayo slad, ketchup and sometimes tomatoes!!! Then the whole thing is toasted in a sandwich press :rolleyes: . You should try it soemtimes it's good. Then again almost EVERYTHING is eaten with Pita bread in Lebanon. My grandma insists on it wvwn with rice and beans.

and pasta is NOT bread :angry:

FM

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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"Re chip butties. Rarely (never ever seen or heard of it after more than 50 years) in pita. Usually in white squishy bread with much margarine and "brown sauce" (HP sauce). The horror. The horror. "

This sounds an awful lot like a local treat here in New Orleans:

French Fry PoBoys.

Fries on a French roll with gravy. You can get it dressed with lettuce, tomatoes and mayo. It's great when you're snockered at 3 in the morning and really need something heavy to soak up the booze. I believe Bourdain ordered one on his New Orleans episode.

I have seen fries on sandwiches elsewhere, as well: In Egypt, the tamayyeh (falafel) vendors offer a variety of toppings, including tomatoes, yummy oily eggplant, and greasy, salty little fries that they smush down on top of your tamayyeh, inside its little oblong bun. One of the best street foods ever!

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My grandmother used to make potato sandwiches for my grandfather. She said they didn't spoil when when he was out in the field working. Basically, it was homemade white bread and sliced fried potatoes left over from breakfast. She made us sandwiches when we were taking the train home from her house one time, and my sister and I were horrified! I think after we stopped laughing, we picked out the potatoes and headed on over to the dining car for some protein. I loved my grandmother's cooking, but I am not a big fan of the potato sandwich! :rolleyes:

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Something on another thread reminded me:

Tuna melts. Why would you take a cold sandwich filling that's just fine the way it it, top it with something that doesn't belong (quasi-cheese), and heat the whole thing just enough to make it neither cold nor hot? Please, what is the attraction?

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I don't get Norwiegen "cuisine". Flour, sugar, lard. Period. All the food is white usually served on a white plate. The pastries are all made with the aforementioned trinity. No chocolate, nuts nada. Grump.

Don't even get me started on lefse or lutefisk. :blink:

After taking a mouthful of boiling hot coffee, what ever you do next is wrong.

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Something on another thread reminded me:

Tuna melts.  Why would you take a cold sandwich filling that's just fine the way it it, top it with something that doesn't belong (quasi-cheese), and heat the whole thing just enough to make it neither cold nor hot?  Please, what is the attraction?

i disagree.

i like grinders, even tho i'm in the home of the hoagie.

(Locally, a grinder is a hoagie (sub or hero for you non Philly folks) stuck in the oven for 5 minutes or so before eating.

Come to think of it, haven't had it in a while.

CRAVING INITIATED. SLOW BURN UNTIL SATIATED.

Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

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