Americans and Food

I was watching Anthony Bourdain’s show tonight on the travel channel and he was walking the streets of NYC lamenting “what happened to my city?”  He’s in TImes Square and all he can see is Applebee’s, McDonald’s, Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Company and on and on.  He commented that he can imagine all of the clueless people in there joylessly stuffing their faces.  He is dead-on with this.  I have for years been dumbfounded at how incredibly bad the food is in the USA.  I never knew this until I wasn’t in the USA for the first time 20 years ago then i realized that food here for the most part something we consume mostly for sustenance and rarely do we Americans seek out food that actually requires some degree of cooking or skill.  For the most part, flavor is non-existent in most US restaurants.  Americans seem to want to be spoon fed theme food that is marketed to them instead of prepared for them.  I love the USA but this is a big beef of mine.  I just came back from a week in South America, Medellin, Colombia to be specific.  Meat!  Meat in Colombia is simple and packed with natural flavor.  Perfectly grilled beef with lime and salt – done.  No fancy pomp and a dufus waiter that “will be your server this evening”.  Just good food, well prepared and full of flavor.  I wish Americans would get a clue in this department.  I see families sitting in Burger King or Arby’s and less than 100 yards away is a local Caribbean buffet with curried lamb, plantains, rice, perfectly simmered chicken etc… for literally a few bucks more than the crap at the fast food joints.  Just amazing.  Ask anyone you know if they have every eaten in Italy or Brasil, or Japan, or Spain, or Hong Kong if they remember the flavors, the experience, or the realization that almost everyone but us Americans gets it.  I once heard only something like 30% of Americans even have a passport.  So I guess that might explain it – Americans simply do not know what they are missing.

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