by Mary Foran
Europeans have always been considered the Kings and Queens of cuisine, while Americans have been reviled as partakers of only fast-food hamburgers and french fries and the ubiquitous pizza.
When I was in Spain, I lived off fresh sardines which I simply sauteed, Pascual milk and lentil soup which I ordered at the corner restaurante. Since I’ve been back in the States, I’ve expanded my culinary skills considerably, not in a small part due to the many and interesting cooking programs they have now on television. Here is a summary of the American gastronomy scene for your enjoyment:
Europeans have always been considered the Kings and Queens of cuisine, while Americans have been reviled as partakers of only fast-food hamburgers and french fries and the ubiquitous pizza. But in America, there is a growing phenonmenon of cooking shows on television which is raising the bar for the public when it comes to daily fare. Food and its preparation and enjoyment, and the sheer diversity of ingredients available, has become of the utmost importance in modern American lifestyles.
Once it was only the famous Julia Child who showed average housewives how to put together a meal with a little French flair. Then there was the British “Galloping Gourmet”. Then the field exploded with the Food Network and the Cooking Channel, boasting all kinds of entertaining cooking shows with talents such as chefs Emeril Lagasse, Wolfgang Puck, Rachel Ray, Bobby Flay, Alton Brown, Giada Dilaurentis, Paula Dean, Mario Batali and so many others it’s impossible to keep track of them.
A show about failing restaurants is called “Restaurant Impossible” with the Britisher Robert Osborne, who oversees the two-day transformation of family-run restaurants into booming businesses. Nigella Lawson, “The Barefoot Contessa”,”The Two Fat Ladies”, Jamie Oliver and “Hell’s Kitchen”, are all British productions in America. “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” stars Guy Fieri who won one of the many contest cooking shows and became a star in his own right.
Cooking contest shows are extremely popular, with “Iron Chef America”, “Chopped”, and “The Worst Cooks in America” topping the list. All these programs have helped stimulate American’s interest in cuisine and the art of cooking. Grocery stores have actually had to revamp their layouts and appeal to keep up with the new trend. Stores struggle to keep up with the demand for finer and finer ingredients, upscaling their look in everything from produce departments to yuppie wine racks.
Organic products are in demand everywhere, and specialty diets are catered to by every store in town. That includes diabetic, low-salt, low-sugar, gluten-free, lactose-free, vegetarian and vegan.
Dieting and diets are the topics of conversation on day-time television programs, where they remind listeners that most Americans are overweight and childhood obesity is rampant.
So even though hamburgers and french fries are still very popular on the go, home-cooked meals are getting more and more healthful and elaborate with this new-found emphasis on natural foods and good, wholesome cuisine.
As for dining out, you can find almost any national cuisine you can imagine, from African to Korean, in the many restaurants open for business in the States, even tapas bars which lend a touch of Spain to the international mix. One thing is for sure, there is cuisine for every taste, and taste in every cuisine.
Featured image/HanziKisik from Pixabay
Iron Chef America cover, Fair use per n.wikipedia
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