Field of Science

17 foods Americans like that furiners find disgusting and much needed commentary

This is one of those mostly stupid www click bait lists, but inquiring minds just had to know.  Here they are in no particular order.

 1. Grits – TPP finds them to be tasteless fodder. To be fair, other cultures have their versions of tasteless fodder too.  So don’t be too quick to point your spatzle/dumpling/yuca stained fingers at grits.  Actually TPP likes yucca better than grits.  

2-3. Velveeta cheese/Cheese Whiz – Both of these were counted separately, but they’re really the same thing, a plasticized facsimile of cheese.  As one comic put it, you can be thankful that Cheese Whiz doesn’t contain either.  Although TPP will admit complicity because Cheese Whiz when melted & combined with a hot tomato salsa makes an OK quick chip dip when you badly need some comfort food. 

4. Supermarket (“Wonder”) bread – Helps build bodies 8 (then 12) ways and comes in the white wrapper with the red, yellow, and blue balloons.  Hmm, a bread that must have been heavily promoted during Saturday morning cartoon shows (along with breakfast cereals ).  Soft, sweetish, spongy, a crust in color only, and you can squeeze it into a dough ball without it crumbling. Some people out grow it, but things are getting better of late and even supermarkets are beginning to have some decent bread.

 5-6. Red licorice (Twizzlers, red rope) – Both of these were counted separately too, but they’re both really the same red, vaguely fruity, chewy, sweet plastic confection.

 7. Pop Tarts – Nothing good can be said about these cardboard confections except they’re fast.  They even make grocery store donuts look good.

 8. Casseroles containing cream of anything soup – The casseroles in question probably contain canned green beans, also disgusting, and are topped with crumbled potato chips.  But really people? You think this disgusting? What about Jello, which did not make the list? Or marshmallows!

9. Breakfast cereal – Most of these are actually Breakfast Sugar if labeling were honest.  Sugar may not be the most common ingredient because fructose, corn syrup, and dextrose weigh in separately.  It’s hard to find a breakfast cereal that isn’t sweetened any more. What ever happened to just plain shredded wheat?  Long live Weet-Bix. This is to make nice with the people who won't like what TPP has to say about their bacon.

 10. Hershey chocolate – Too sweet, too milky, too soft.  Nothing but kid stuff; grow up. Our local purveyor of chocolate puts finely ground dark roast coffee beans in a dark chocolate, a confection that will give you a real buzz. Keep away from children who wouldn't like it anyways.

 11. Snow Cones – Shaved ice and sweet syrup.  OK, but you have probably never had freshly made maple syrup drizzled on snow. Snow & shaved ice with sweetening was the original sorbet. So this confection has a bit of heritage, a bit of legitimacy, especially on a hot day.  But why can’t they have a mango syrup?

12. Root Beer Float – Root beer, birch beer, sarsaparilla are a North American thing, but a good sharp root beer combined with vanilla ice cream, sorry, this isn’t disgusting. Up to this point TPP had no arguments with the list.
13. Beef jerky – TPP has had some good Caribou jerky, but good jerky isn’t what is sold in wrappers in quickie marts.  Pemmican apparently was an invention of native Americans, so people should have some respect.

 14. Corn dogs – Let’s start with the obvious. The basic hot dog in the USA is disgusting, and then you coat it with greasy corn meal, which is not considered edible in most places outside the USA.  Lesson: two wrongs don't make a right.  The Phactors were given about 25 kilos of avocados by  Queensland friends, but holy guacamole, try to find a corn chip.  Here's an iconic bit of Americana to provide some color. It's a hot dog riding a banana?

15. Meat Loaf – These concoctions run a tremendous gamut of edibility and best can be pretty good, but in general meat loaves are sort of like a hamburger roast, something to do with cheap ground meat. But one wonders what kind of restaurant people were in where meat loaf was on the menu?
16.  American bacon – Described as thin, crispy, tough, but it’s also smoky, so it has to be someone from the British Empire who is thinks their uncooked slabs of greasy fat are better.  However TPP has dumped on turkey bacon.

 17. Biscuits and Gravy – The author of the original piece (sorry lost the link) doesn’t even know enough to know that biscuit is singular!  Biscuit and gravy, period.  Now there is nothing disgusting about good, hand-made, fresh biscuit. Foreign guests to our home have always loved the Phactors' buttermilk biscuit. So the gravy is the thing, and it can be bad or good, it depends upon the sausage and how much is used.  Hint for foreign travelers: the quality of biscuit and gravy falls off quickly as you travel north of the Mason-Dixon Line.  Anybody who puts baked beans on toast for breakfast has their own burden to bear.  Urp.
Mostly then TPP agrees, but these foods do sell, so someone likes them as appalling as that may be.

Feel free to augment this  list, readers. Or argue if you like. TPP would have put light/lite beer on the list.


Christopher Taylor said...

In the case of Hershey's chocolate: many of the sweet shops here in Australia carry a range of American confections. A while back, my partner decided that he would like to sample a range of them, if only so that he could finally find out what a 'Babe Ruth' was.

The verdict from both of us: we couldn't quite put our finger on it, but there is something... not quite right... with American chocolate. The taste is lacking, the texture is waxy. We couldn't work out what is behind this: whether it's the use of corn syrup rather than sugar as the main sweetener, or whether there's something else going on.

I will note, though, that American M & Ms seem to be consistently better than the ones we usually get here.

The Phytophactor said...

Yes, waxy. Babe Ruth was the famous baseball player; Baby Ruth was the candy bar ca. 1921, but now it's owned by Nestle, a Swiss company.

Anonymous said...

Ouch. Grits? Cornmeal? Nectar of the Gods? A nice pile of grits, a plate of cornbread, a breakfast of cornmeal mush with maple syrup? How could anyone fail to find the luscious golden stuff unappealing? My daughter and I camped across the country on grits and refried beans and bacon or chorizos. Happiy went off to a hike full of rattlesnakes or catbriar or manzanita thickets. Power up with grits and you're good to go!