“That’s not stupid, YOU’RE stupid.”
~AFFotD Food Critic, John Goodman
We are willing to cede that America isn’t responsible for all of the delicious food available to us, but since we’re stubborn (because, you know, America) we will add the caveat that every delicious food made by other countries has invariably been improved by American tinkering. Yes, Italy gave us pasta, but we gave them fried ravioli. China gave us Chinese food, but we removed the dog from it. French food can go to hell. You hear us, France? YOUR FOOD CAN GO TO HELL!
Yet, despite the ability of many countries to make food that is deemed acceptable for American consumption (except for England. Good God, you Limeys, try inventing a food dish not centered around animal intestines) there are foods out there that are thoroughly terrifying and disgusting. We’re talking food like ant eggs, boiled sheep head, and tofurkey. Gross.
That’s when we noticed an article by the Houston Press, which tried to posit that since some people don’t run away shrieking when you offer them a plate full of boiled silkworm pupae, then clearly American foods must be strange to other people. We’ll say that again. They are saying that American food is weird.
You know what this means, America. Set your phasers to rage, we’re going through this list one by one.
15 Foods That Are NOT Weird
The background for this Houston Press article, as far as we can tell, was that a different blogger on their site had written an article of five foods you should avoid, which included Korean silkworms, and “things you can die from” like fugu. In what is easily the flimsiest excuse for a blog war, Katharine Shilcutt decided to write a post that makes the bold statement of, “So you say that two foreign foods, one of which is potentially fatal, are weird? Well, I’m going to ask my foreign friends what American foods they think are weird.” Because who has time for actual research when you can just post a single sentence about a food that someone with terrible taste doesn’t like?
Below are the foods that are apparently “as weird to foreigners as poisonous blowfish is to us.” We’d make fun of how unnecessarily long their article’s title is, but…well, you know. *points to the title of this post*
Biscuits and Gravy
What the article says: “I do think biscuits and gravy are gross and strange.” — Hala, Canada via Lebanon
What we say: The fuck kind of name is “Hala”? It sounds like a 20 year old in 2006 trying to sound excited at a club, or someone asking for bread at a Seder. If that comes off culturally insensitive (and honestly, it’s probably offensive to at least three racial and ethnic groups. At least), we’d like to point out that A- America, and B- that’s what you deserve for calling biscuits and gravy gross. Biscuits and gravy is an essential American breakfast cuisine. It’s a symbiotic creation. Biscuits are plain and boring on their own. People tend to raise an eyebrow if you succumb to your natural urges and begin chugging gravy by itself. But if you combine the two and put it on a plate, suddenly you have a meal meant for everyone but Celiac sufferers.
And even if you consider this delicious, salty goodness in a vacuum, it’s not even that strange. Everyone likes to put something flavorful on their bread. And every culture has some sort of bread food that they put flavored items on. Really, Hala, you’re from Lebanon. Contextually, how is “putting gravy on a biscuit” that much different than, say, dipping pita bread in hummus? In both cases, you have a flour based item being flavored with a tasty, prepared semi-vicious food. Game, set and match, Hala. Face.
What the article says: “Peanut butter, it’s still weird to me.” –Natacha, Chile
What we say: Really, Natacha from Chile? We’re going to go on a limb and say this is just someone who doesn’t like the taste of peanut butter (which, unless you’re allergic, is borderline blasphemy) and not really a cultural divide, since precursor to peanut butter came from the fucking Aztecs, so we’re not buying the whole “Oh, peanut butter is so foreign to us all the way down here in South America” line. They sell peanut butter in your damn country, dammit! American children thrive on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and we don’t want to go all potentially libelous here, but Natacha from Chile, if you think peanut butter is weird, then you think children are weird, which means you abduct children. That’s right, Natacha, you abduct children!
Bacon and Eggs
What the article says: “Bacon and eggs in the morning seemed weird to me. And then I realized that I could wake up really, really early to find myself a nice baguette or croissants for my breakfast!!!!!!!” – Genevieve, France
What we say: NO! NO! You are expecting us to take the word from an over-excited French woman? The only thing we’d trust an over-excited French woman for would be to properly take care of our military boys during WWII. Seriously, you’re giving us seven exclamation points for the prospect of waking up early and eating some bread? The fuck are you, a pigeon? And we can’t even understand the point Genevieve is trying to make here. She says that bacon and eggs seemed, as in, used to seem, weird to her, until she had the realization that she could wake up and eat croissants. In what world are those two things related? That would be like us saying, “Well, we used to think French children eating lead paint chips was weird, but then we realized that all babies are born with a soft spot in the back of their head.”
Even if this statement came from someone who wasn’t French (ugh), we’d still assume it was pure gibberish. Bacon and eggs are delicious. We don’t know what else we can say about it. Genevieve might as well have said, “My pants are made out of ham,” it would have made just as much sense to us as what she actually wrote down. Goddamn frogs.
Pasta and Broccoli
What the article says: “So when I just came to America when I was eight, we were invited to this nice host family’s house for dinner. I didn’t understand why the only served noodles (pasta) & green cauliflower (broccoli) for dinner. I thought they didn’t like us since they only served two items for the entire dinner! Why was there not five or six dishes, like a Chinese meal? I was such an uninformed kid!” –Miya, China
What we say: Right of the bat, we’ll credit Miya for at least admitting that she was an uninformed kid. But honestly, adding this to a list of “American foods that people think is strange “is a bit of a stretch. It’s not like “pasta and broccoli” is a meal that screams, “American cuisine.” It strikes us as more Italian than anything else. If you google that phrase, the fourth item is “Pasta e broccoli,” the following one is “Pasta con Broccoli,” and there’s a post for “Authentic Sicilian Pasta With Broccoli.” This is not an American food. And yeah, if you take any 8 year old child and put them in front of a plate of pasta and broccoli, they’d assume that the cook had something against them, because broccoli tastes horrible. We’re with George H. W. Bush on this one, true Americans hate broccoli. Ms. Shilcutt, your article is already three stops past bullshit.
What the article says: “I was born here but I always thought it was an ‘American’ thing to have black pepper at every table – my mother (Cuban/Spanish meals at home) never used any type of pepper. I had to get used to spicy foods and explain to people that not all Hispanics liked Spicy foods.” — Elaine, Cuban/Spanish
What we say: You can’t even find a real foreigner to make this point? You know why that is? Because this is a stupid fucking item to have on this list. Pepper isn’t even native to America! The largest exporter of it is Vietnam, for Christ’s sake. How is black pepper an “American thing”? We mean, yeah, Columbus reached these parts because he was trying to get pepper from the Orient, but honestly? That’s the best you got?
And for some unfathomable reason, Elaine obviously has no idea what pepper tastes like, since she thinks it’s spicy. Let’s break down this argument for eugenics, shall we? So this American-born Latina thinks that it was “American” to have black pepper on tables, since her mom, who cooked Spanish and Cuban meals, didn’t use any type of pepper. This is important to realize, because she used to never eat spicy foods. Wait what? What? We’re only 1/3 through and already this article is starting to read like a regional theater’s production of I Am Sam.
What the article says: “Also, the general squishy bread.” – Iris, Germany
What we say: Bread? You’re going to have an issue with our bread being soft? Oh Germany, you poor bastards, why must everything be so strict for you? So hard? Even your bread, Germany? We pity you. Someday, maybe, you will learn to feel. Or, you know, enjoy bread that doesn’t crumble every-fucking-where when you try to tear a piece of it off.
Red Velvet Cake
What the article says: “Red velvet cake with all that dye.” – Dragana, Serbia via South Africa
What we say: Okay, first of all, fuck you, Red velvet cake is delicious. Delicious. Second of all, we’re not sure someone from South Africa should be going around complaining about something because of its color. Didn’t Mandela teach you anything, Dragana? Listen, we’re not going to be petty and launch into a tirade about how your name makes it sound like you’re a combination of a scantily clad female mystic on the cover of a Dungeons & Dragons game and a Russian female boxer, but what we’re inherently dealing with here is cake. How is cake “weird” to you? You realize that there are cakes that are other colors than black and white, don’t you Dragana? You need to stop being a cake racist. We’re done with you, Dragana, why don’t you go back to being a failed World of Warcraft character.
What the article says: “Mayonnaise! People put that on everything, some even dip their French fries on it!! Yuck!!” – Pat, Mexico
What we say: Pat needs to fucking chill with the exclamation points!! And besides, when was the last time you’ve ever heard someone say “yuck”!!? “Yuck” is a word that children stop using as soon as they accidentally utter their first swear word!! Plus, the whole “dipping French fries in mayo” thing is actually not done in America that much!! You’re thinking about England there, Pat!! But as for that whole “we put mayonnaise on everything” point!!? You bet your ass we do!! Yum!! Fuck you Pat!!
What the article says: “One word: grits.” – Arthur, The Netherlands
What we say: One word: FuckYouGritsAreDelicious.
Huge Portion Sizes
What the article says: “I thought the portion sizes were obscene. Still do.” – Doug, England
What we say: Well sure, if your tourist ass makes sure to only hit up The Cheesecake Factory before going off to the Olive Garden for your unlimited pasta, salad, and soup, then yeah, you can call our portion sizes obscene. And really, there’s nothing wrong with eating a lot of food. Many third world countries view obesity as a sign of status and wealth. We just view it as a way to spot Walmart shoppers. But that doesn’t even touch on the most important point here…
You’re not talking about any kind of food! Seriously, in an article listing off “15 weird American foods” and writer Katharine “every word in my name is slightly misspelled” Shilcutt can’t even find list a full 15 items!? This article should be called “14 American foods that aren’t really that strange, and also a way food is served in America that a British guy named ‘Doug’ doesn’t like, oh and also this article is the absolute fucking worst.” Because it is. It is the worst. Goddamn it.
What the article says: “For me, it was salad dressing, any kind.” – Joselyne, Mexico
What we say: Hold on a second, Joselyne, just so we can get this clear before we go to task on you, you’re saying that the American food you find weird is the one thing that can be added to vegetables to make them seem somewhat passable? We’re sensing a pattern here, it’s starting to look like people from Mexico have no idea where foods come from. Because, yes, the most delicious dressing (ranch) is from America, but everyone uses Salad dressing. Asians put dressing on their salads, Europeans do it, hell you can even find recipes for African salad dressings. So far, our Mexican respondents to this article have felt that Salad Dressing and Mayonnaise are unique only to America. At least Joselyne doesn’t overdo it with the punctuation marks, we guess.
What the article says: “I still can’t stomach the sight, taste, or thought of Frito pie.” – Dragana, Serbia via South Africa
What we say: Okay, this is delving into hyper regional food. Okay, we get it, this article is written in Texas, but still, if you’re choosing your American foods, you can’t really call a chili cheese Frito casserole that’s mainly prevalent in three states a dish that’s representative of American cuisine. That’d be like saying Jello cake is a universally Amer…wait, wait a minute. Dragana? You again!? You’re really going to make two submissions to this article? Get out of here, Dragana. Don’t think we’ve not discovered your true identity, you can’t hide from google, Dragana Mirkovic, Serbian pop-folk singer.
What the article says: “I always (and still think) cheese is weird.” – Miya, China
What we say: Dammit Miya, stop it! Your two entries to this article haven’t even been American food! Listen, we’d love nothing more than to take credit for cheese. There is clearly something wrong with you if you think that cheese is weird. We mean, clearly. Cheese is delicious, it’s good enough to make you agree to pay extra to get it on your hamburger, it makes scrambled eggs palatable, hell it’s so integral to the American cracker industry that it’s probably the only reason why Kirk Van Houten had a steady job for a time. But the fact of the matter is, pretty much the only countries where you never see cheese in their dishes are East Asian, and that’s because lactose intolerance is more common there. And no, that’s not an ethnically charged joke. So while America is (by far) the top cheese producer in the world, accounting for 30% of all cheese that is produced, but we rank 15th in the world in cheese consumption per capita. Turkey eats more cheese than we do. Goddamn it, this article sucks so hard. Well at least they only had one entry here that wasn’t actually a food item.
What the article says: “Iris was also really surprised the first time she saw one of those giant Iced teas in the red cups (like at Pizza Hut or something). She thought it was the biggest thing she ever saw. When we drank them, and they refilled it for free, her head exploded.” — Ryan, husband of Iris, Germany
What we say: ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS!? Another non-food entry? This is bullshit. Hey Ryan, sorry to hear about your wife’s messy and untimely passing, but anyone who lets themselves get so worked up over a free refill was clearly operating on borrowed time anyway. You know what, we take that back. We’re glad your German wife is dead. You hear that, Ryan? We’re fucking glad.