One of the questions I’ve heard over and over again as an American abroad is:
Do Americans only eat hamburgers?
At first, I tried to give a nice response explaining all the other types of popular foods in my region (the south of the US). Catfish, gumbo, chicken noodle soup… there are tons of extremely popular dishes that have nothing to do with either beef or bread! Every region has its own unique delicacies.
Although we often tend towards a quick snack for lunch, dinner is the biggest meal in most American households, and we love to cook out and go to nice restaurants!
But still, don’t Americans eat mostly hamburgers?
Some people seem intent on wanting me to confirm their suspicions that we are a nation of burger eaters. And, well, yes.
Hamburgers are definitely part of our national cuisine.
So, over time, my response has morphed into something that others want to hear. Just a little. YES, we like hamburgers. YES we eat quite a lot of them. But NO, they aren’t all McDonald’s thin-patty, thin-bread hormone-filled yuck burgers that makes everyone think that eating hamburgers everyday is what drives my people to be obese.
Honestly, if everyone in the US ate McDonald’s everyday we’d all be even bigger than we are now and live only half as long. Did the world not watch Supersize Me?
No, in the US we also eat a lot of hamburgers cooked on the grill. Hamburgers from quality joints that serve them with avocado, mango, thick slices of organic tomatoes and french bread. We make patties from soy beans, turkey and lamb.
We throw out the traditional bread and make bun-less burgers or buns with sweet potatoes, portobello mushrooms, or plantains.
The hamburger is a design for food presentation, not a pre-designed food. We call them all burgers, but in reality they can be quite varied.
But even that doesn’t stop the questions:
But come on, you guys still eat a lot of McDonald’s-style burgers, don’t you?
At some point I realized that I might as well give the crowd what it wants.
Here’s the thing: if there’s one thing I can say about Americans as a generality, it’s that we tend to have a pretty good sense of humor.
So, here it goes:
French people eat only cheese and wine. Germans eat only sausages. And Americans eat only hamburgers.
Unless they are cops, in which case they also eat doughnuts. 🙂