26 September 2007

American Food, Seen from a Distance

Contrary to national stereotypes, good British food is very good indeed. But most British fast food is loathsome. Especially British fast-food breakfasts, which often feature fried eggs swimming in clear grease, cold toast, a charred unripe tomato [pronounced "toe-MAH-toe," of course], and baked beans. But if that's what our allies across the Atlantic want to subject themselves to first thing in the morning, so be it.

British fast food gets positively insulting, however, when it starts labeling its offerings as "American." The "American breakfast" usually means "no beans or tomato, and double everything else." The toast has still been set in an English bedroom for an hour so as not to scald anyone's mouth, even a snowman's. And the bacon is a salty strip of porkbelly that actual Americans wouldn't recognize. (The term for American-style bacon in the UK, I learned that from the invaluable Separated by a Common Language blog, is "streaky bacon." Little Chef has started to provide it in its "American-style" breakfasts.)

Now Separated by a Common Language has alerted me to a new affront: what American Fried Pizza & Chicken in Poole is calling an "American Chicken" pizza:

  • Cheese
  • Tomato ["toe-MAY-toe" since it's on an "American" meal?]
  • Chicken
  • Sweetcorn
  • Mushrooms
  • Pineapple
That's not American cuisine; that's cause for a diplomatic protest. And I bet the portions are extra large.


pussreboots said...

Sounds revolting (the "American" foods). If I were visiting Britain there's no way I'd want to eat "American" food since I get that at home. LOL.

Sarah Stevenson said...

Okay, so here's something nasty: the last time I was in the UK, I noticed that Burger King was selling a breakfast food that looked (on the posters, from a distance) somewhat like its French Toast Sticks. Upon approaching the poster, however, I found that what they were actually selling were Baked Bean Sticks. Yup, little fried rectangles with baked beans inside. Like a baked bean hush puppy, I guess, but I wasn't going to try it.

But even weirder than British versions of American food are Japanese versions of American food. My husband and I ate at one of the homegrown Japanese burger joints, Mos Burger, and he ordered something from the picture menu that looked like a chili dog. When he bit into it, it was more like a "marinara dog"--Rob theorized that whoever originated the recipe had seen pictures of, but never actually eaten, a chili dog. And of course, don't even get started on Japanese pizza...

J. L. Bell said...

Makes you wonder how other peoples respond to our American versions of their cuisines, no?