Not a question today, but just a reminder for my American audience.
Regularly on this blog, the question of food arises, and I say that American food is terrible, one of the worst in the world, and some people say that:
-American cuisine can be good.
-One can find good products in the US.
Can American cuisine be good?
Yes it can. But it’s more the exception than the rule. All in all, American cuisine is not good, and won’t be good for another few centuries, if it ever does. There are very simple reasons for that:
-Cuisine doesn’t appear magically, it evolves like everything else. All the countries that have good cuisine do so for a few reasons: they have very old cultures and traditions and often they also are in regions where a wide variety of foods can grow (that’s for the varied ones, but pretty much every old culture has good food, even if not too varied).
-There’s a certain eating tradition for those countries. Food is important. Not just for a few individuals or “foodies” or whatever you want to call them, but for most or all of the population. Spend some time with a French, an Italian, a Vietnamese or a Japanese, and you’ll see that they think about food as much as some Americans think about sex or money. For many cultures, eating is not just feeding oneself, it’s an activity in itself, a social experience, an important part of the day.
The way that most Americans eat is simply unthinkable for people from many other countries. And I’m not talking only about junk food, but things like at night, the family not eating together around a table and things like that.
Also, having a food culture is having an education about foods and tastes, it’s knowing different tastes and flavors, it’s being curious about new ones and these things. It’s not thinking that “it tastes like chicken” when one eats a new meat, simply because one knows only two meat flavors “beef” and “chicken” and as American chicken is quite tasteless. For me this expression is complete nonsense, as I know different tastes for chicken depending on many factors (different parts of the chicken, different types of chicken, different dishes including chicken, etc.)
It’s not asking “what’s in it?” and freak out and refuse to try it if it contains something unknown, strange, unusual, weird.
See what I mean?
Yes, one can find good products in the US… In some parts of the country, in some special stores, if one knows where to look. And that’s an argument I get over and over again when the issue is discussed. Except that it’s totally missing the point.
In a country that cares about food, not only “one can find good products” but one will find good products by default. Except for a few exceptions, one just needs to go to any random grocery store and they will find good products. Not only fresh products, but also good quality dried/canned/prepared foods.
I’ll end by two things (because I could go on and on, but it’s lunchtime and I’m hungry):
Why is food so crappy in the US? It’s not only because of the lack of “cuisine history” but also because of the usual greed that rules the country to the point that profit is everything and above common sense or even health (or even the future of the planet and humankind, but that’s for another topic).
A few reminders about poultry, beef, and even vegetables for you vegetarians (and I’m not even mentioning GMOs).
Finally, not everything is perfect in France, greed is taking over more and more, big corporations and their lobbyists are attacking food regulations more and more, and crappy food is more and more common in France, especially in Paris which doesn’t have local food, and usual the poorer populations are the ones affected first (because the crappier the cheaper, the better the more expensive)