04 October 2011

I Have a Bone to Pick with Scotland

I'm tired of defending American cuisine.  It's true that my country has exported a number of rubbish fast food chains to the rest of the world and it's true that America is the most obese country in the world (although Scotland is number 2 and Scottish children are fatter than American children, so they're set to take over the number 1 spot in 20 years or so).  I've been to Dollywood and seen the giant men in the tiny shorts.  I have a special place in my heart for Twinkies and I agree that American chocolate is a sad, sad thing.

BUT there's a lot of excellent food all across the US and the food culture in America appears to be much more alive and well than it is in Scotland, something that can be easily evidenced simply through differences in the availability of cooking supplies in each country.  Just try to find yourself a mason jar or a 25 lb bag of flour in this country.

Here are a couple of examples of what I run up against when talking to people in Scotland:

1. (Okay, this one was actually Steve.)  Steve bought some cornmeal at a little shop downtown and he was telling the guy in the store about cornbread and how popular it is in the southern US.  The man he was speaking to refused to believe him and kept insisting, "No, not in America.  They wouldn't eat such a thing there.  They eat hamburgers."

2. On Saturday we discovered marshmallow fluff in the grocery store and snapped it up because I like to use it in frosting.  The clerk stopped checking us out to question us about this strange new product.  Steve told her what it was and that it's popular in America and she responded, "Oh yes, everything bad for you comes from the States."  Well . . .  Have I ever mentioned that two different towns in Scotland claim to have invented the fried Mars bar?  The overwhelming presence of the chip shop?

I could go on about how everyone mentions McDonald's to me as an example of my native cuisine.  It's not.  Think delicious pulled pork sandwiches from Buddy's BBQ for US fast food.  I wouldn't take it so hard if I felt like Scotland had amazing food itself, but it doesn't.  Italy could defensibly criticize American food, but Scotland should just zip it.


Sean said...

I am continually amazed by haggis. Also repulsed! But still: amazed.

MBC said...

I really like vegetarian haggis. Real haggis is okay but freaks me out a little, especially the little anthropomorphic haggis signs outside the butcher shops.

ldsjaneite said...


janerowena said...

You are right - I am constantly astonished by what my scottish friends eat. We english blame it on their colder climate. They feel they need the fat to get them through the harsh winters, but forget that now they have central heating. The alcohol doesn't help, either. Empty calories.

Healthier food will come eventually, it's just taking its time to get up there. You just have to google recipes to see that there are some very good american foods, but they don't come with franchises and world domination in mind.

Melina said...

I found Ireland a difficult place to eat as well. Sausages and stuff. And...fried stuff? And some other stuff.

Regardless, I love those two countries...


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