The Monday Mess – When I moan about U.S. food, I moan – 4 Dec 2012

Once upon a time I lived in a quaint old place, old enough to have history. Oh hang on, I opened with this line a few posts ago. Anyhoo, said place wasn’t the greatest place for food until loads of europeans, and people from Bangladesh moved in, bringing good food with them. Spoiled with this, and the Brits ability to make decent snack chocolate, moving to the US provided some, we shall call them “annoyances”.  Your average American who is more tuned into simple, easy to understand food and beverages, like Hamburger, Cola, Burrito and Hamburger just doesn’t see what they are missing. Um I used a variation of that line a few weeks ago also. But joking aside, where I live in Southern California is good for a lot of foods, and most of it good. There is choice and plenty of it. But I am a Brit, and I do need to find something to moan about, because I sure cannot moan about the weather here. Furthermore, my grievance is more to do with snack foods than meal foods, but I kind of liked that intro so I kept it. On the snack front, and using an inappropriate metaphor in line with the introduction, here is a few “choice cuts”:

Avoid this thing or use it as a frisbee.(image courtesy of microsoft clipart)

Avoid this thing or use it as a frisbee.
(image courtesy of microsoft clipart)

  • Pretzels – In one of my sons books, Sesame Street’s Cookie monster is out of cookies and goes on the hunt for some. Big Bird offers him some Pretzels, and rightly so, Cookie monster complains about them being too salty. I always have to add the line “Uurgh, Pretzels are the worlds most overrated snack”. What? Best teach them early eh? Unless they are the tiny pretzels they serve on the Virgin Atlantic flights from Heathrow to LAX, those are the exception to the rule. But otherwise, what a piece of crud. I cannot think of a single redeeming quality on those large ones, having neither good flavour, or texture, and erm, taste. Cover them in chocolate? I say why? I now also say, Big Bird is not to be trusted.
  • Cheese – This is where I know I’ve been out of the UK too long when the cheese is starting to grow on me. We complain the US cheese is tasteless, which it mainly is, but that is because they prefer their cheese to be creamy with a vague hint of cheese. The Brits prefer cheese to taste of something. Sharp cheese in the US. About as sharp as a rubber door stop.
  • Salted Caramel – Me I love caramel and toffee. I f**kin love it. (Thats two “O”s there). Here, what is the obsession with adding salt to it? If I wanted salt I would add it. Caramel is supposed to be sweet. And while we are on the subject, why does toffee always have to arrive with nuts on it? I don’t mind nuts, I would just like some toffee without it from time to time.
  • Fudge – Something else I love but slightly ruined in the US by it adding chocolate to the mix. Now chocolate with many things, except Pretzels obviously, is a good thing. Fudge, it just doesn’t mix like it should. The fudge has its own taste, it can live without chocolate. But then it is also somewhat ruined as described in my next point.
  • Chocolate – Generally speaking, US chocolate is pretty ropey. Hershey chocolate has a slight waxy texture, a slight soapy taste. Licensed Cadbury’s chocolate isn’t bad but not quite the same, I cannot put my finger on why. But it isn’t called chocolate here because of some rule I don’t recall, or have no wish to look up on google, about what ingredients are considered to be chocolate. Still I am addicted to Cadburys Creme eggs, and partial to a bit of the old “fruit and nut”. Oh, Trader Joe’s caramel chocolate bars aren’t bad either.

And this being monday, annoyance in Nonet:

If I were religious, I would ask

for a cheese with a mature taste

or chocolate that does not

taste like washing dishes

or caramel not

been seaside dipped

I’m not. Still



And that concludes my tongue in cheek wishes for this week.

Have a nice week, and tune in at a later date, for the next brainsplats blog post.

Lexicon word of the day: rollick.


19 comments on “The Monday Mess – When I moan about U.S. food, I moan – 4 Dec 2012

  1. Smaktakula says:

    I’m with you on your food choices except the pretzel, which you have backward–the big, soft pretzels are the good ones.

  2. Taking one look around, I’m sure it’s easy to spot how great our snack habits are in the U.S. And yeah, for the most part I agree with you, except for the cheese???? Come on, sharp cheddar has no flavor? Is that what you’re saying? I happen to love most cheeses, except American sliced cheese – hate that stuff! yuck….

    • Elliot says:

      Sorry Sheila, the sharp cheese has some flavor, so for American cheese, I prefer it, but sharp it aint. The Sharp cheese e.g. cheddar is the same as a mild or maybe regular cheddar in the UK. A UK mature cheddar has a much deeper and rich taste, and you will notice that difference straight away. Thankfully I can get some imported stuff 🙂

      • I love a good sharp cheddar – obviously, I don’t know what that really is and I’ve been missing out 🙂 The next shipment you get, just pop some in the mail to TN okay? lol

  3. This Brit has to agree with everything you say especially the cheese part. Lately, I have found extra sharp white cheddar and it is OK, just OK. I think it’s made in Canada! Can’t wait to go “home” and have some real cheese!

    • Elliot says:

      In Southern California there are stores which get the imported stuff so I am thankfully not completely isolated. But I know what you mean. It is surprising how much those little things are missed once you do not have them.

      I don’t know why but it just made me think that not selling pickled onion monster munch is also a crime here!

  4. jmmcdowell says:

    Once I tasted real chocolate from Switzerland and Belgium, American chocolate could never really compete again. I’ll eat it, of course. But Belgian is best. And while good chocolate can hide a multitude of sins (like pretzels), why lessen its divinity by such pairings in the first place?

    • Elliot says:

      I agree completely. I think Belgium probably makes the best chocolate. I would say the UK snack bar type chocolate isn’t that good, but is a little better than the US equivalent, and much better than Hershey which always tastes like someone got the recipe wrong.

  5. DyingNote says:

    With you on pretzels. I’ve tried, rather patiently, but I just don’t like them. And I do prefer European chocolate to American, if at all. Not the first time I’ve heard similar comments about American cheese.

    But my, my, you were rather grumpy this Monday past, huh? Just the weather alone in sunny California should make you Brits glow 🙂

    • Elliot says:

      Coincidentally, the weather has been wet from the end of last week and over the weekend. This rant didn’t come from that though, more from a daft discussion my wife and I were having one night, where we listed these things I like to moan about. I figured I could throw them in a monday post!

      And Pretzels are definitely the most overrated snack around.

  6. Margarita says:

    I like Trader Joe’s truffle bars…yum! xoM

  7. Meh, I’m still not getting your post notifications from WP so I had to unfollow and then follow you again. Anyway, I know what you mean about a lot of our foods. I happen to love pretzels, but you’re right about the cheese here. I miss the cheddars in the UK–the cheddars, the double gloucesters, etc. Much sharper and nicer in flavor. And I admit that Hershey bars, when compared to Cadbury, taste like what I imagine Soviet chocolate tasted like. But I’ll always love it anyway. And I do love fudge and salted caramel (oooh, salted caramel fudge!! Now there’s an idea), but I also see the merits of plain old-fashioned toffee and such.

    • Elliot says:

      Maybe they occur too early in the day!

      I’m afraid salted caramel should be banned. I don’t understand salt and caramel together. But yeah, you folks should get with the cheese, by which I mean the edible kind with flavour.

  8. Anne says:

    You must have had a bad experience with a pretzel in your past. They are yummy and low in calories. A win win. And I’ve seen and tasted English food- its not all good. examples of not so tasty: hot sticky toffee pudding, pickled onions, salad cream . . .there is a lot more.

  9. paulaacton says:

    I feel guilty now I just had wensleydale with cranberries in it

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