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.