This is another post from the “Stories from the West” project which I am doing with Dixie. We will be writing 1 post each month with the same topic, to give you a glimpse of our lives as new immigrants in our respective countries. This month’s topic is “food” and I am sharing some stories about American food. Read Dixie’s here and hope you’ll enjoy our stories! 🙂
To be honest, American food did not appeal to me at first. Although I have visited the country a couple of times as a tourist, I barely ate American food except burgers. I mean I love burger and fries, but they seemed so…. ordinary compared to Asian food! 😛 It took me a while after I moved here to be familiar with more types of American food, and here are some of which I’ve grown to love.
Biscuit and Gravy
A biscuit to me used to be what Americans call a cookie. You know, the crunchy sweet flour-based snack that sometimes comes with a variety of fillings, strawberry jam or vanilla icing. In America, a biscuit is a flour-based dish with a softer texture, similar to bread, mostly unsweetened and normally eaten for breakfast, or as a side dish for your meal. Confused? I was too!
I had my first bite of a biscuit when I was eating breakfast with the family in a classic American diner. I ordered American breakfast – described as eggs (your style), pancakes, hashbrown and sausage/bacon. What I didn’t realize is that the meal came with a side dish – biscuits or English muffin. Here’s what it looks like.
The gravy here is actually different than the brown gravy that I knew. The gravy is made of milk and has a more creamy texture than the brown gravy. Besides being served at breakfast, biscuit and gravy is also a perfect companion for a Southern-style fried chicken meal. Anyway, I’ve grown to love them so much that I can eat them anytime. 😛
Fried Chicken Meal
Speaking of fried chicken…. the first thing that I can think of is KFC. Yes, it is an American fast-food chain, but in Indonesia, I was so used to eating KFC with rice – it’s just the best. Here, fried chicken is commonly eaten with fries, biscuits (yes!), macaroni and cheese, corn, mashed potatoes, and coleslaw. I mean, you can choose one, two or all side dishes mentioned… it’s your call :))
Barbeque is used to describe a kind of meat cooking technique, which is over a fire. This is surely my favorite American food, well I’m a meat eater so it’s only predictable 😛 There are several barbeque styles, which vary by state. I am yet to try all kinds of barbeque style, but so far I love Texas bbq, especially the beef brisket. (In LA you need to try SLAB and if you were to visit San Diego, Phil’s BBQ is your go-to place).
Since I spent a year in England, when I think of Pies I think of savoury pie – chicken pie, beef pie, or shepherd’s pie. But here in America, when you hear people talk about pies, it’s usually the sweet one.
Think of apple pie, blueberry pie, key lime pie… and the list is endless because you can actually put any fruits/jam that you can think of! Pies are commonly eaten as a dessert, especially during a celebration, like Thanksgiving or Christmas. If you asked me, I still prefer savoury pie over sweet pie, but of course, I can’t say no to a warm apple pie! 😀
By now I have listed a couple of American foods that I like. Now if you ask me, so what do Americans eat on a daily basis? Actually, since I am living in California which is a melting pot of cultures, people here eat a lot of food from different countries – primarily Mexican and Asian food. However, if I were to answer that question only with American food, I think this should give you a good picture.
Like I mentioned above, a typical American breakfast that you can order in restaurants consists of eggs, sausage/bacon, hashbrown, pancakes, and a side dish of biscuit/toast/English muffin. Sounds a lot? Well, they said breakfast is the most important meal of the day! But actually, breakfast at home is not that fancy – We usually eat cereal, toast, or pancakes/waffles.
Based on my observation so far, Americans don’t usually eat a lot during lunch. Sandwich is a common meal – I guess it’s quick and simple because most of us are busy during lunchtime. A typical sandwich that you make at home would have deli meat, cheese, and lettuce, eaten (mostly) cold or hot. I also see that most restaurants here offer lunch specials during lunchtime. It is basically a smaller portion of their main course menu, which comes at a lower price.
Dinner is the time where families gather and eat together. This is where each household would serve a full meal. It is common to eat meat like steak or meatloaf, with salad and potatoes. Come to think of it again, a lot of American food that I see are influenced by other cultures. For example, mac and cheese is a dish that is influenced by Italian pasta, while Fajitas (also a common dinner menu) is influenced by Mexican food.
So… turns out that American food is more than just burgers and fries! 😀 Food here comes with a lot of influence from other cultures especially in a diverse state like California. But still, there are noticeable features that make American food unique. There is a lot of other American food that I am yet to try, especially local delicacies that vary by state. Now tell me, which of the food I mentioned above that you would like to try the most? 🙂