Baseball, bacon and 10 other things I still don’t get about America
I moved to New York eight months ago and am having a splendid time. There are many things I love about this town (brunch, roof tops) and many wonderful, mostly food-related things I have discovered about the US of A (white cheddar popcorn, Chipotle to name but two). However, there still remain a few aspects of Stateside life that are beyond me. And so, America, here are 12 things which need explaining to me:
Your approach to flavouring sausages. Chicken and sage, jalapeno and cheddar, turkey stuffing sausage – really?
Scallions. As far as I’m aware these are spring onions. I just don’t understand where this name came from. I like it, it sounds fishy. However calling an onion an onion would just make ordering a bagel a lot simpler.
Thick-cut bacon. Where is it?
Bread. Why is it so sweet? I have yet to find a loaf of bread (which isn’t rye or sourdough) without added molasses and or corn syrup. Bread also never ever goes moldy. If there was an Apocalypse the bread aisle would be stacked with perfectly fresh looking loaves. I have three-month old bread in my cupboard which I continue to eat as there are no signs or tastes of decay. However I know that this is probably not ok.
Corn syrup in ‘candy’ such as Hersheys or Kit-Kats, which in Britain we call chocolate. No-one could argue that English chocolate isn’t far tastier than American ‘candy’. The only reason being is the added corn syrup. This is now found in our beloved cream eggs – thanks Kraft. Just remove corn syrup and you have chocolate. It’s that simple.
Public toilet cubicle doors that are never big enough to fill their door frames. I have now seen every woman in my office peeing. This makes me uncomfortable.
“Reaching out” when emailing someone or when texting someone. This corporate jargon is used everywhere and even when talking to someone socially. Why can’t you just say they emailed you? They didn’t reach out and touch you did they?
The small print on advertisements for medication. “Side effects may include blindness/death/not actually helping your diabetes/giving you diabetes…” Surely these warnings defeat the purpose of the ads?
Continuing to call baseball a sporting event. Everyone goes to eat and drink, no?
Broiling used as a term for grilling. ‘Broiled Salmon’ makes me think you have chucked it in boiling water – gross. When actually you have grilled it nicely and it comes with a wedge of lemon – yummy. While we’re talking about grilling, a grilled cheese (a cheese toastie in the UK) is not grilled, it’s actually fried in a pan with lots of butter, thick white bread and oozing, gooey cheddar (I’m dribbling). I agree however that grilled cheese does sound more appetising than fried cheese and even toastie, although it doesn’t make it better for you.
Deep-fried turkey, which is apparently how many Americans now cook their Thanksgiving dinners. While I’ve heard this is actually pretty tasty, surely roasting a bird at any time in the winter months is an important part of the day? It’s slow, traditional and delicious. Just like it should be. And while we’re discussing Thanksgiving recipes – candied yams is honestly the worst. Smothering yams (I think these are a sort of squash?) in a layer of marshmallows, roasting them and serving with gravy next to your lovely roast potatoes is just no good. Marshmallows, like ketchup, do not belong on a roast dinner.
Extremely complicated restaurants. There is someone to seat you, someone who takes your order (your ‘server’) and someone to collect your plates or refill the water (these are ‘bus boys’ I believe). There is no grey area with this division of specific tasks. The bus boy will never take your order, the server will never clear your plate. It also means that there are probably three-times as many staff as you would see in any restaurant in Europe. Is this not inefficient? I see no logic.