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Despite the fact that many American food trends are now global, there are still a few dishes that Brits here don’t do.
Sweet and savory combo
Unless it’s a Chinese meal or pineapple and ham on pizza (yuck), most Brits don’t really go for sweet and savory on the same plate. Although there are some converts who don’t mind breakfast sausages drenched in maple syrup, for the most part it’s something we shy away from. Dishes such as jello salads, candied yams and anything topped with marshmallows leave most of us staring in disbelief.
Sugar in everything
Most of my British guests over the years have commented on how sweet everything is; from baked beans to bread, cereal to lunch meat, there’s either sweetness cooked in, or a sweeter alternative available, such as honey baked ham, or bacon injected with maple syrup. If it’s not added sugar (often listed as high fructose corn syrup), it’s added flavor such as cinnamon or pumpkin. At this time of year you can barely find a non-pumpkin infused drink or snack, as any Starbucks will attest.
State Fair food
American food oddities come into their own when it’s state fair season. It seems like a national competition to take the most bizarre combination of ingredients and then do something extreme, like deep-frying them. Examples from the Minnesota State fair include fried pickles ‘n chocolate, and wine-glazed, deep fried meatloaf. From the 2013 North Carolina state fair we have deep fried red velvet Oreos, and deep-fried Pecan pie. California gave us the Krispie Kreme Donut Burger this year, and Texas delivered a deep-fried Thanksgiving Dinner. (Don’t ask.) While some of the ingredients sound OK, the deep-frying twist is just baffling.
Entire meals in a sandwich
We all know that Americans sandwiches are sometimes so huge you can’t even get your mouth around them, but some sandwiches contain what we’d normally class as dinner. I’m talking about Sloppy Joes and meatball sandwiches in particular. Not surprisingly, Americans literally take the prize for being able to compress a huge sandwich and make it fit in the human mouth. (Commenters – Please bear in mind that the above is a link to The Onion and therefore NOT serious news.)
Rocky Mountain “oysters”
A euphemism indeed! While we Brits are known for our love of offal, we might not quite stretch to these oysters, which are in fact, bull testicles. Deep-fried, of course. When you’re next perusing a menu in buffalo country, be aware that they’re also listed as prairie oysters, calf fries, cowboy caviar, swinging beef, and huevos del toros. Fair warning!
Probably the most common jaw-dropper for visiting Brits is the size of the portions here. I can’t remember the last time I ate out and actually ordered an entrée (main course). In many restaurants, the appetizers (starters) are almost the size of a meal, so for me, two small appetizers is more than enough. Fortunately, American restaurants don’t force you to have a main course, and supply containers for taking leftovers home.
What are some U.S. food habits that mystify you, Brits in America? Tell us below:
7 British Food Habits Americans Will Never Understand
10 American Substitutes for British Grocery Staples
Why the U.S. Should Adopt British-Style Supermarkets
Food and Drink: 10 Things That Taste Different in the U.S.