Posted by: edibleplanet | March 4, 2010

The joys of food in the United States

It is easy to make jokes about the food of the USA. We love visiting the supermarkets to marvel at the rows of sweet breakfast cereals, the enormous muffins caked in frosting and the butter flavoured sprinkles. I’ve read “The Omnivores Dilemma” and been glad I live in New Zealand. I’ve watched “Supersize Me” and I’ve marveled at just what you can put high fructose corn syrup into. We’ve bought back peanut butter chocolate easter eggs and have made it a challenge among our friends to eat a whole one.
But there is so much more to food in this enormous place. I spent three weeks in a small town in South Carolina having delicious dishes like shrimp and grits. I’ve been reading some great books from the library on American food and there are some fantastic traditions and recipes. Now I just want to learn more.
From “Two for the road, Our Love Affair with American Food” by Jane and Michael Stern, I have added Mama Lo’s broccoli casserole recipe to my otherwise small repertoire of cooking up broccoli and have made their Cornell Chicken (which is another great way to cook pieces of chicken).
I love this pork rib recipe – slow cooked in the oven. The best macaroni cheese recipe I have is from an African American recipe book and I’ve also made the spoon bread and a sweet potato dish from this book too. Karl made a fantastic Jambalaya for Sunday night dinner. And we are merely scratching the surface of great recipes to try.
When I am making these recipes, I do adjust the sugar content to my taste which usually means adding much less but then I might add less chilli in an Indian dish to suit my palate too.
The only other problem I encounter is that sometimes the recipes have ingredients just listed as poultry seasoning or amounts given as one stick of butter or a sachet of yeast rather than the amount in grams. Then I have to look up how much that is or a recipe for the poultry seasoning, but the internet always comes to my rescue.
I haven’t yet even told you about the great book I am reading at the moment edited by Mark Kurlansky. During the Great Depression, to keep writers employed they were taken on by the Federal Writers Project and one of the things they did was to record what Americans were eating. It is a fascinating read and also has some recipes I am tempted to try!



  1. I almost died at the “food” on the supermarket shelves in USA, when there last year .. had never seen so much sugar in everything, as you say. Even home made cornbread has sugar in it, it’s as tho they’ve just gotten used to it and now throw it in without thinking .. I can tell you this: Marmite on sweet toast really was quite nast, I was delighted when we got to WFM in Austin and were able to buy some real bread / food!

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