Wednesday, October 16, 2013

What do other countries think is American food?

My wife and I spent the past week on vacation in Europe, splitting our time between Paris and Rome. One of the most fascinating parts about the trip came on our third day in Paris, and I had to share.

The French are, of course, known for their delectable food: freshly-baked croissants and bread, cheese, and meats. So, we thought it would be interesting to check out a well-known grocery store in Paris. We strolled past the bakery with all the deliscious breads, macaroons, and pastries on display. We checked out the meat counter, the wine, and the cheese.

But, we also took a quick look at some of the international sections of the store, including one shelf of "USA" food. In this case, this picture says a 1,000 words.

It's almost embarrassing to think that this is the kind of food that other countries really think of when they think of American food -- processed junk! Shelves filled with mac 'n' cheese, salad dressings (in Italy they serve extra virgin olive oil and vinegar - that's it!), canned soups, beef jerky, roasted nuts, and all sorts of condiments, many with sugar as the first or second ingredient.

Is this the food culture we want to be perceived as having in the United States? I sure don't!

Then again, the items weren't too far off from what fills the shelves of many convenience stores across the country.

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