Friday, March 6, 2009

You eat what?

I often hear Americans (and a lot of Brits, to be fair) express horror at the thought of black pudding - a particular favourite of mine. Yes, it's made from disgusting things, but so are sausages, pork pies and hot dogs. Black pudding just comes clean about its contents.
Anyway, I was doing a little research the other day into American foods. Next time an American makes a disparaging comment about black pudding, tripe or any other questionable British treat, just mention one or all of the following:

Scrapple - typically a breakfast dish, this is a mush of pork trimmings, mixed with cornmeal and flour, formed into a loaf. The loaf is then cut into slices and fried. The pork trimmings, by the way are usually offal; that is, all the bits you typically wouldn't want to eat, mainly because they are inedible. In some areas, this delicacy is eaten in a sandwich.

Or there's:

Pretzel salad - which as you can see, could be described as an American version of our trifle, only not very nice. Its base is crushed pretzels, the middle is a cream cheese and cream (but you can use cottage cheese) mixture, and the top is Jello (jelly) with fruit in it. It's meant to be delicious, but my tastebuds would be thoroughly confused by the combinations therein.

Or even:
Catfish. I mean could you eat something that started off looking like that?


And lastly:


The Green Bean Salad. This is dragged out at Thanksgiving and Christmas and is possibly the worst dish I have eaten in the States. Bar none. Even if you like green beans. You take your green beans, a can of condensed mushroom soup, another can of french fried onions, mix it all together and bake. Yuck. I must admit, a friend made a "gourmet" version not so long ago and it was good, but the one that is held in high esteem across the land is bloody awful. Who makes Thanksgiving and Christmas dishes with cans of soup for gawd's sake?

So there. A little revenge against British cuisine bashers.

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28 comments:

  1. I feasted on black pudding tonight, fried in a little olive oil with cooked potatoes and tart apple pieces then served with a poached egg on top.

    A good black pudding has pretty pure ingredients and is a wonderful treat.

    Yay to the Black Pudding!

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  2. I agree on every count. Honestly, I never heard of scrapple until my late twenties. It was if people everywhere were consuming it in secret. Apparently quite a few in my area partake in it but no one discusses it. Any wonder?

    The other think about green bean casserole is that a lot of Americans (at least the ones I know) seem to like overcooking the beans which makes it even more disgusting.

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  3. Sorry for the typos. It's fat finger Friday apparently.

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  4. That bean dish sounds revolting! and I can't say I'm a fan of black pudding.

    Haggis on the other hand does have its merits!

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  5. As an American, I have to admit I've only eaten the green bean casserole and it's okay but abit salty. I used to think that I'd die before eating black pudding but recently I've tried and liked chicken livers. I had heard the black pudding had an iron taste and I was put off by tha but now I'm not so much. I'd try it if I could find it. You can't find anything in WV. The scrapple and pretzel stuff look horrible. Where are you at that they eat that?

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  6. This was interesting, especially since I just posted a blog a few days ago defending British food! http://britfancy.blogspot.com/2009/03/fancy-this-british-and-irish-epicurean.html

    I think one of the reasons why Americans look down on British food sometimes is because things like Blood Pudding come across as a staple of English cuisine, representative of the quintessential English/British taste (is it?). Whereas I don't think scrapple and pretzel salad (I've never even heard of these two dishes) are heralded by most Americans as a traditional part of their culinary history - we try to claim things like southern fried chicken and apple pie instead!

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  7. I think the worst food I have eaten in the states are grits. Urrgh.
    Pretzel salad? Which is sweet? Eh?

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  8. Please add grits, baked beans in brown sugar and of course cold tea. Foul!

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  9. Mickle - with olive oil eh? Very gourmet.
    Melissa - double yuck then.
    Mud - yes, I've only had it once but I was pleasantly surprised.
    Cathy - the preztel thing is more in the south, and I've seen scrapple on a brunch menu before but can't remember where.
    BF - I can guarantee that black pudding isn't a staple in most parts of the UK. In fact I would go so far as saying that most Brits don't eat it. Now that southern fried chicken - doesn't actually have chicken in it does it?
    Jo and Pam - cheese grits, when done properly, are actually quite nice, but the plain stuff is just bland.
    Thanks Limey.
    Potty - yes, but we know you're on the edge at the moment!

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  10. I agree, green been casserole is pretty gross. My husband periodically asks for it, but refuse to keep the recipe on hand b/c then I'd actually have to make it!

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  11. All sound scrumptious, except that very weird pretzel salad. I think you totally made that up! Blech.

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  12. Oh, and I LOVE black pudding. Wish I could figure out where to get it in the Pacific NW...

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  13. No need to make anything up! It's also sometimes referred to a Jello salad, and doesn't always have the pretzels. Then it really is a trifle in my opinion.

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  14. I've never heard of the first two, catfish is delicious and green bean casserole is sacred (although not a salad...) but you do have to do it right. Fresh beans, not canned. The onions don't get mixed in, they get put on top and tossed back in the oven to crisp. There are other variations on this that are quite good too, including one with cauliflower-broccoli-carrot mixture and swiss cheese in the mix, plus the crunchy onions (which I thought were a distinctly American thing until it turned out they are native to the Tyrolean region of Austria and come on spaetzle...) I must assume you've not had a green bean casserole in the hands of the experts.

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  15. his is the second time I have tried to comment & blogger wouldn't let me before.
    I can't stand the thought of red meat, so the black pudding etc sounds awful, making the green beans sound delicious in comparison.

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  16. Oh I am so with you on the Green Bean Salad and Catfish - YUK!

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  17. black puddin with heinz beans...first thing on the menu when I get home in a couple of weeks.

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  18. I'm with you on the bean salad; I always gave that a miss on T-day. And as Lakeland Jo points out, grits are awful; they taste sort of like wallpaper paste with a bit of sand thrown in. However, most of the other dishes I really like. Catfish - nothing beats a bottom-feeding fish pulled straight out of the creek (that's pronouced Crik).

    Other dishes you missed (but must try): Snapping Turtle soup, Squirrel, Racoon stew, Grilled Possum . . . (I feel a post coming on)

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  19. I am in the UK, and feeling very, very ill at the thought of a savoury pretzel trifle, scrapple, and that green bean salad - Yikes! None of it even looks appetizing.

    Don't some Americans have a thing about our Steak and Kidney Pies or Puddings - I seem to remember a joke on an old ep of Frasier devoted to it, oh and Marmite?! (I like neither, bytheway!)

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  20. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. Sorry had to pick myself up and dust my knees off.

    I really wish I could have you over for dinner, I know exactly what I would make you...

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  21. I just found your blog via Family Affairs, and I love it. Those American delicacies sound barf-worthy. Pretzel trifle? What were they thinking? Yuck!

    I love black pudding, but then I am a good Northern girl.

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  22. As a vegetarian, I think I've avoided the worst of both American and British food. I've never had haggis, black pudding or scrapple.

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  23. Excellent, and what about grits - ugh! Grot!

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  24. Hey just found your blog..nice!
    As an American I have to say I have never heard of scrapple or pretzel salad. Although I make something similar to the pretzel salad but without the pretzel.
    Oh and Catfish is the best breaded and fried and I simply CANNOT stand greebean casserole.

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  25. Hey just found your blog..nice!
    As an American I have to say I have never heard of scrapple or pretzel salad. Although I make something similar to the pretzel salad but without the pretzel.
    Oh and Catfish is the best breaded and fried and I simply CANNOT stand greebean casserole.

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  26. aaah yes, we have aversions to the same American dishes...in some parts the scrapple thing is called 'shit on a shingle' which is probably a better name for it.

    Green bean cassarole is the most abhorent dish on the planet, unless of course it is sitting next to the chopped up green jelly(jello) and cool whip(fake cream) salad...which means I would gag down a mouthful of the bean crap to be polite.

    These are reasons we stay at home at Thanksgiving and make our own 'Ameri-kiwi' food with a twist. No pumpkin pie for us, we make pumpkin creme brulee instead.

    as for dogging British food...I hear it from people all the time, but to be honest, the almost 5 years I lived in the UK I only had one horrid meal at a job interview in the country, boiled cabbage, greasy mutton and a baked spud...something out of the dark ages, but in all honesty I'd eat it hands down over some of the 'fake' food they sell here!

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