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Food Culture

September 15, 2009

Reading what you wrote about how the culture you grew up with has influenced your food choices has made me reflect a little on American food culture and other food cultures I’ve been in contact with.

I think it’s pretty obvious what American food culture is all about (thank you, globalization): fast and cheap. Have you read the book ‘Fast-Food Nation’? It’s kind of like Upton Sinclair’s ‘The Jungle’ but for the 21st century- very depressing. We’re all about Hot Pockets, terrible ice cream, drive-thrus even at Panera, meals disguised as Starbucks coffee drinks (which used to be a particular weakness of mine), and of course, pizza and McDonalds. I used to love all that crap. But I’ve seen the light!

It’s funny you mention yogurt. I really wanted to tell you how my second favorite food was yogurt, but I thought you would think I was crazy. Clearly, though, we are on the same wavelength. I am obsessed with REAL yogurt, the thick creamy kind, not the thin sugary Activia crap! It’s kind of a new thing in America still (we call it Greek yogurt), and I used to have to drive across town to stock up on it for a week but now they have it at my grocery store. A little tiny shelf of it, and sometimes it’s past its sell-by date, but it’s progress! That’s just one example of how processed foods have taken over America and how natural foods are starting to make a comeback.

I absolutely love Russian and Central Asian cuisine. I am so hoping you’ll share some family recipes! I lived in a dorm at MGU with a lot of students from the CIS, and we were always drinking tea together or going to Moo-Moo, which is like a buffet with Russian home cooking. And, of course, plov is the perfect meal for a poor college student to cook! The one thing I don’t like about Russian food are the salads; but you know how that’s not a small part of Russian cuisine!

German food has been a big part of my life since I started studying German and began traveling there. Cincinnati, my hometown, has a huge German population and almost everybody here is of Germany ancestry. So I love my bratwurst, mettwurst, beer, mustard, breze’n, and pastries! In fact, last week my mom cooked Sauerbraten mit Spaetzle. She has a spaetzle maker for cryin’ out loud! And when Advent comes ’round, this blog is going collapse under the weight of the recipes I post for German Christmas foods. To me there is no greater pleasure in life than sitting outside on a warm summer evening stuffing my face with leberkäs, brötchen, and a Radler.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Maz permalink*
    September 15, 2009 19:27

    My eldest aunty who lives in Holland gave my mum a massive jar of yogurt to take home to make our own yogurt. I’m so happy cos she makes the thickest, creamiest tasting yogurt in the world. The thick crusty top is the best part for me [drool]

    The one pit fall of Russian cuisine is the salad! My cousin’s wife who is from the CIS puts crabsticks in her salad, so that combined with mayo is just so wrong in my opinion! I like my salads, fresh and vibrant.

    I will indeed share family recipes! I’ve never tried my hand at my own cuisine so I think it’s rather fitting that this modern chick should learn the old traditional food of her homeland by blogging about it!

    Ooo German food? Please share a recipe of the sweet stuff! I’m sure you know me by now that I care only for the sweet stuff and the Germans certainly know how to make them 😉

    • Kristen permalink*
      September 16, 2009 21:49

      You asked for German recipes… you got it! My first recipe is going to be about plum dumplings! I am waiting til Thursday to make them, but its sooooo hard to wait.

  2. September 16, 2009 19:25

    @PersephoneDisco tweeted this and here I am.. I am a curious (and hungry) mofo.

    I LOVE Radler. FLOVE it. I miss it with a passion my (future) boyfriend will never experience. Unless you mean the crap Radler that is really shandy. I like the Radler mit Almdudler best. ❤

    I'll stop being that weird person who obsesses over alcohol on the internet then.

    It's an interesting point about food culture though- being Indian, growing up in the Middle East with an almost bipolar market of fast food and really authentic awesomeness, being a poor student in and around Europe and now living in South East Asia (Philippines), my food culture has evolved greatly and devolved just as quickly. The one constant? I always ask for tabasco, 'sehr scharf, bitte', chilli sauce or 'hot sauce' as they call it in some places.

    • Kristen permalink*
      September 16, 2009 19:39

      Almdudler!! I bought a can the other day… ahhh the memories. In August 2007 I had just arrived in Salzburg at my dorm, it was a Saturday, and I headed down to the market for a wee snack. I saw Almdudler there and thought it was just their regional brand of Apfelschorle, so I bought like 3 bottles. Then when I was back at my dorm I tried it and about spit it out! It’s nothing like Apfelschorle. But in time I came to love it.

      I totally love Radler. I bought a Stiegl Radler today at the store. But even more than Radler I love Russ’n. Do you know what that is? It’s weissbier & limo… like Radler but Radler uses helles. I am really a beer freak!!

      • September 16, 2009 20:07

        I am incredibly jealous. I have given up on my dreams of having some kind Austrian friend sending me a surprise package filled with bottles of Almdudler.

        I ridiculed the Austrians on my first few Almdudler tastes- flat ginger ale was the nicest thing I could say. And before I knew it, every durum roll was accompanied by an Almdudler. Instead of a ‘cola light’ it was Almdudler. ‘You’re almost Austrian’, they told me (forgetting the part where I was brown and lived in some tiny, hick village in the Austrian countryside).

        I know Russ’n! And Stiegl! I never took to weissbier, but just hearing those brandnames makes my heart constrict. It’d be interesting to read what you had to say about beers from around the world- or alcohol in general. It does form such an important and essential accompaniment to food- and even as a bonding factor in several cultures.

  3. September 16, 2009 19:42

    To me there is no greater pleasure in life than sitting outside on a warm summer evening stuffing my face with leberkäs, brötchen, and a Radler.

    Loving this, guys.

    Also, my kid sister actually has a food blog. She was in NYC and she just moved to Tokyo a month or so ago. I think y’all would get along quite nicely.

    • Maz permalink*
      September 16, 2009 19:56

      She’s on the blogroll! Thanks C Note! It’s a foodie’s dream to eat in Japan let alone Tokyo.

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