As a nation, us Brits appear increasingly obsessed with American culture. Whether this is due to the constant bombardment of American TV and movies on our screens; celebrity culture splashed across our magazines or American products slowly sneaking onto our shelves – who knows? Maybe I only speak for my generation (I’m 22) when I say that we have gone mad for America! We somehow manage to get wrapped up in the glamour of Hollywood and emerge with a dreamlike version of what
America is really like.
One of the things I got really excited about when planning my trip was the food! Especially the candy. After growing up watching American movies I wanted to try it all: Twizzlers, Hershey’s kisses, Reese’s peanut butter cups, Twinkies, I could go on forever. So of course over the the course of my trip I gorged myself (which subsequently led to me gaining 2 stone in weight, but that’s another story), making sure I sampled all the junk food – purely for scientific purposes of course. Now I don’t know if you’ve ever tasted a Twizzler? It’s not amazing. Imagine an extremely thick strawberry lace that tastes of nothing, I mean it’s not even sweet. The food appears to be backwards across the pond, items that we view to be sweet they have made almost bitter and the savoury items we love have been made sweet. It’s like when the food enters your mouth it slips through a parallel universe where the tastes are reversed. I’m in no way saying this is a bad thing, on the contrary I actually prefer my bread sweet and bacon certainly does go well with maple syrup. It’s just odd, particularly when it comes to candy. I had just built it up in my head to be the best confectionary I would ever taste, and it wasn’t, and that was sad. I guess it was partially my fault, I allowed myself to get drawn in by the romanticisation of American candy created by the media. However, the media also creates this imagine that American food is all junk which is completely untrue. I was lucky enough to spend the majority of my stay in rural Vermont, which is actually famous for maple syrup and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. However we were also surrounded by farms rich with organic fresh produce that made it to my plate almost daily. Vegetables like you’ve never tasted! I also discovered a love for corn dogs – I’m not proud of that one, and mac n cheese is a staple diet. The cheesecake in NYC really is amazing, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches can be eaten on any occasion. Now if only they would just introduce some Cadbury, then I could see myself living there!
Don’t believe everything you see on TV about American food. It’s both better and worse than you expect. Always try things for yourself before forming an opinion.
More posts to come on the incredible and surprising lessons I learnt whilst living and working at a summer camp in Vermont USA.