And the most American food is...
January 4, 2017 9:06 PM   Subscribe

 
One of my favourite things to do when visiting foreign countries is to go their grocery stores and see what's different and what's the same, so I found this look at what different countries / stores consider to be "American food" to be really interesting, even if it is a one-shot Buzzfeed listicle.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:07 PM on January 4, 2017 [8 favorites]


My choice, if I'm trying to think of a food that's "American," is the peanut butter & jelly sandwich.

(Rectangle cut represent!)
posted by KChasm at 9:11 PM on January 4, 2017 [4 favorites]


Marshmallow fluff is the most disgusting thing on earth.
posted by Literaryhero at 9:13 PM on January 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


I haven't even SEE fluff in decades. That, some peanut butter and some chocolate syrup, some bread... There's good eating on one of those.
posted by Samizdata at 9:16 PM on January 4, 2017 [6 favorites]


Why, yes, I was both a latchkey AND a "husky" child. Why do you ask?
posted by Samizdata at 9:17 PM on January 4, 2017 [23 favorites]


Fluff AND chocolate syrup? Why bother pretending to be healthy and go straight to frosting and graham cracker sandwiches? (My mother showed that to me and my brother when we were younger, when we had frosting left over from decorating a cake, and it is wonderful. Then she felt bad for feeding us suffer and sweet cracker sandwiches.)
posted by filthy light thief at 9:20 PM on January 4, 2017 [4 favorites]


peanut butter & jelly sandwich

Yes, but peanut butter and jam can be procured in other countries. Fluff needs to be imported directly from the albino Slurm Queen trapped under Union Square.
posted by zamboni at 9:24 PM on January 4, 2017 [44 favorites]


filthy light thief: "Fluff AND chocolate syrup? Why bother pretending to be healthy and go straight to frosting and graham cracker sandwiches? (My mother showed that to me and my brother when we were younger, when we had frosting left over from decorating a cake, and it is wonderful. Then she felt bad for feeding us suffer and sweet cracker sandwiches.)"

Because I like the variety in flavors and textures?
posted by Samizdata at 9:25 PM on January 4, 2017 [1 favorite]




Fluff is still an everyday thing here in Somerville, MA - where Archibald Query (that name!) first started making Fluff. My neighborhood bar does some really tasty and inventive things with it like cinnamon pita chips and fluff dipping sauce for dessert, though their new whiskey sour made with fluff is yummy but very...sticky.
posted by danapiper at 9:27 PM on January 4, 2017 [16 favorites]


Finland has a ton of hot sauce.

Though I know a Finnish friend of mine actually gets through bottles of Dave's Insanity sauce in a surprisingly low amount of time and says "it's like a sauna for your mouth" so maybe spicy is catching on there?
posted by Zalzidrax at 9:31 PM on January 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


Taylor Ham, egg, and cheese on a bagel.

Might be a NE regional thing, but I **absolutely** missed breakfast comfort foods the most when I lived outside of the US.
posted by schmod at 9:31 PM on January 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


Fluffernutter : Ambrosia :: Chocolate Milk : Nectar
posted by not_on_display at 9:32 PM on January 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


So I guess that makes us all fluffers?
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:33 PM on January 4, 2017 [5 favorites]


Halloween Jack: "So I guess that makes us all fluffers?"

Always wanted a career change.
posted by Samizdata at 9:35 PM on January 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


I have never eaten marshmallow fluff; I'm not sure I've ever even seen it in the wild. But I do love it when people visit the US for the first time and see Red Solo cups in action for real and freak out and you're like, "That's just ... the cup you buy for barbecues? I mean, sure, for keggers too, but it's just a cup ..."

"Might be a NE regional thing, but I **absolutely** missed breakfast comfort foods the most when I lived outside of the US."

My theory is that stomachs can be adventurous at lunch or dinner, but at breakfast your stomach wants something familiar and comfortable because you've just woken up and your stomach wants its regular stuff, nothing else. (Like, I kind-of prefer to pre-breakfast before going OUT for a big breakfast, just so my stomach is ready for fancy omelets by the time I get there.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:37 PM on January 4, 2017 [2 favorites]


Until about a minute ago, I thought fluff was a kind of whipped peanut butter, so now the concept of a peanut butter and fluff sandwich makes more sense to me, except it doesn't because it seems like it would be unbearably sweet and sticky.
posted by betweenthebars at 9:38 PM on January 4, 2017


Whoever makes "Marshmallow Fluff" has one hell of an international marketing and distribution system, since here in California, I don't see that brand at all, just Kraft Marshmallow Creme (next to the Kraft Jet-Puffed Marshmallows).

I got a kick out of seeing the Ranch Dressing in Spain... Ken's Steak House brand, NOT Hidden Valley... Ken's is my favorite supermarket shelf dressing brand in general (I recommend their Honey Mustard and especially the Sweet Vidalia Onion if you can find it), but I didn't think they were nationally distributed, let alone internationally, since Ken's is not part of a company that makes other stuff (I'm just waiting for Smuckers to acquire them as they've acquired a million other brands lately).
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:45 PM on January 4, 2017 [3 favorites]


It really bothers me that in New Zealand, Canada Dry is considered American food. I would think New Zealanders, of all people, would get it.

Also, what's with all the Pepsi?
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 9:53 PM on January 4, 2017 [8 favorites]


No chips and salsa? Maybe they ate them all on the plane over.
posted by Brian B. at 9:55 PM on January 4, 2017


If only I had a penguin... Also, what's with all the Pepsi?

Pepsi is American. The rest of the world drinks Coke.
posted by yeolcoatl at 10:27 PM on January 4, 2017 [9 favorites]


I don't understand. The article doesn't say what's crazy about these selections or what they think the stores should be stocking instead. Are these items not "American food"? If not, then what is "American food"?

If an American supermarket had a Dutch section, they'd probably sell liquorice and chocolate sprinkles there. Probably cheese. Maybe even vanillevla.
Those are clichees, but that's because they're true. They're not all we eat, and there are plenty of people here who don't eat them at all, but it's certainly not crazy to regard them as Dutch foods.
posted by Too-Ticky at 10:57 PM on January 4, 2017 [5 favorites]


I'm amused that the Finish supermarket has Sriracha in the American section. Of course, it's pretty accurate, considering the abundance of Sriracha'd foods in the US now.
posted by ckape at 10:59 PM on January 4, 2017 [3 favorites]


I always assumed these aisles largely existed for expats and the offerings were based on what they wanted (plus what is easily and affordably available for a supermarket to get via importers)?

I sometimes shop at the "British" sections in US grocery stores (I'm Australian but it's as close as you can get) and I can't imagine any Americans are buying Marmite or Golden Syrup. That's all on us.
posted by retrograde at 11:03 PM on January 4, 2017 [6 favorites]


Related: This Is What American-Themed Parties Look Like Around The World

?? what even

the only remotely accurately stereotyped one is the drunk guy with a gun in front of a flag
posted by poffin boffin at 11:04 PM on January 4, 2017 [2 favorites]


I'm amused that the Finish supermarket has Sriracha in the American section. Of course, it's pretty accurate, considering the abundance of Sriracha'd foods in the US now.

The Huy Fong brand is made in California, and mostly is sold in america.
posted by St. Sorryass at 11:08 PM on January 4, 2017 [11 favorites]


I lived in Somerville, MA for a few years. There was a little playground near my place that was built on the former location of the original Marshmallow Fluff plant. I knew this because there were a few signs about this at the edge of the playground.

I had never heard of the stuff before living near this place. I just figured it was a Northeast thing. Never tried it, either...
posted by egypturnash at 11:19 PM on January 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


Every year at the Fluff Festival, there is a booth set up solely to hand out fluff on things which are terrible ideas to eat with fluff. I mean actively terrible ideas. Pickled herring. Kalamata olives. Vegemite. That sort of thing. You walk up and they hand you a little spoon with a bad idea and some fluff on it.

They're very accommodating, polite people. You need a vegetarian bad idea? Gluten-free? Both? You have food allergies? As long as you can eat the fluff itself, they got you covered, bro. They will have something you did not want to put in your mouth at the same time as marshmallow fluff, and that something will be, technically, food.

And they have trash cans right there for when you lurch over, spitting and trying to keep your stomach in your body. They really have thought of everything.

For reasons I do not understand, and probably never will, not only do we stop by this booth religiously every Fluff Festival, but so do just about all of the other festival-goers. Some of them go back multiple times. You can see them coughing and lurching and wincing and then, shakily, going over to the table again.

This at a festival which has approximately one jillion real food vendors, including annual exclusive flavors from Union Square Donuts (the good stuff), four or five gourmet ice cream stands, and the place with the amazing samosas. There is frequently an actual line for having horrible pairings of food and fluff.

I just thought I'd mention this, as, if we take this article at its word, it may be the most American activity I've ever seen.
posted by Rush-That-Speaks at 11:26 PM on January 4, 2017 [72 favorites]


Born and raised in MA. Even though I live in Cali now, I seek out the one store (hey-o Cost Plus!) that carries Fluff. Because it's delicious.
posted by greermahoney at 11:30 PM on January 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


My mother always referred to jello fluff (jello, cool whip, canned fruit - zero amount of marshmallows) as "fluff" - even though I'm 43 and know that is NOT what most people outside of my family are talking about - every single time I hear or see the word fluff used about food my brain flashes on the jello version. You can see how confusing it might be for me to think people are having peanut butter sandwiches containing a lime jello/cool whip/crushed pineapplemixture...cut in rectangles, no less.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 12:05 AM on January 5, 2017


Fluff, Fluff, Fluffernutter
Oh you need Fluff Fluff Fluff to make a Fluffernutter
Marshmallow Fluff and lots of peanut butter
First you spread spread spread, your bread with peanut butter
and marshmallow Fluff
and have a Fluffernutter
If you enjoy enjoy enjoy your Fluff and peanut butter
You're glad you have enough for another Fuffernutter

posted by fairmettle at 12:09 AM on January 5, 2017 [2 favorites]


Seen in Madrid, an e tire American goods storethus
posted by The Whelk at 12:12 AM on January 5, 2017


Didn't even know what marshmallow fluff was until I moved to England.
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 1:48 AM on January 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


There used to be an American store in central Copenhagen, but it closed after foodfromhome.dk began distributing American products all over Denmark. It can't all be for expats, I blame the internet: people read food blogs or follow Americans on twitter and they want to taste sticky American stuff and bake American-style cakes. And obviously, have America-themed parties.
One of Denmark's most popular food blogs was newyorkerbyheart.com. I'm not linking directly because the front-page is a heart-breaking message (in Danish) about the bloggers decease. She also published a very popular book on American food.
posted by mumimor at 1:53 AM on January 5, 2017


American pizza from a British chain in Paris!

TRUE AMERICAN marshmallows

Meanwhile, Canada consists of maple trees in France

But there is poutine en Bretagne

Back to America! Make America macaroni n cheese again! Mississippi Belle Wisconsin mac n cheese! (because that makes sense...?! yes I know Wisconsin has cheese-heads)

Marshmallow Fluff - fraise (yep it's in French)

American burger buns made in Italy

Root beer! Dr. Pepper! and also... SNAPPLE!!
posted by fraula at 2:36 AM on January 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


The Auchan that I go to in Budapest has a totally unreliable American section. Peanut butter, campfire marshmallows and BBQ sauce one week and English marmalade, Nick the Easy Rider yellow curry and French mustard the next... The heck?

For the holidays, I found Ocean Spray cranberry sauce, but it's in these tiny little glass jars. :( Come on Ocean Spray Europe division, cranberry sauce is a side and not a condiment.

To be sure, Nick the Easy Rider brand is pretty much the most American thing ever. "The American WANTED Way of Life" (http://www.nick-the-easy-rider.de/)

In Bosnia, apparently lime cola is the most American flavor of cola that they could think of... https://goo.gl/images/UGcpV3
posted by Skwirl at 2:41 AM on January 5, 2017 [3 favorites]


I had a fluffernutter yesterday, which is not uncommon. Haters don't know what they're missing.
posted by tocts at 3:23 AM on January 5, 2017 [2 favorites]


I got a kick out of seeing the Ranch Dressing in Spain... Ken's Steak House brand, NOT Hidden Valley

{eponysterical quip goes here}
posted by clorox at 3:31 AM on January 5, 2017


I'd also point out to those who say they've never had a PB&F and think it would be too sweet: you are aware, I presume, that the usual accompaniment to peanut butter is sugar-laden fruit jelly?

I'm not saying fluff is a health food, but let's have some perspective here. I wouldn't classify a PB&F as any more of a sugar bomb than a PB&J.
posted by tocts at 3:44 AM on January 5, 2017 [6 favorites]


Never eaten marshmallow fluff in my life. Actually I don't think I've even heard of it till now? What I take from this is not that Americans eat a lot of marshmallow fluff but that apparently everyone else around the world eats it from time to time, and it must have spawned from somewhere specific in America (MA, apparently).

What is it most commonly used for anyway? Just peanut butter and fluff sandwiches?

(I'm sure someone will tell me the best way to eat it is with a spoon straight out of the bottle.)
posted by picklenickle at 3:55 AM on January 5, 2017 [3 favorites]


Oh goddamn it now I have to buy a jar of Fluff again. I do this every few years, and eat a bunch of fluffernutters for a few months, and then my wife won't eat the stuff so we wind up throwing it out because I'm a sucker and can't resist buying the largest possible tub.

Although now we have a toddler who will either love it (sticky!) or hate it (why it not chocolate?) so maybe I'll give it another shot.
posted by uncleozzy at 4:53 AM on January 5, 2017


At least one UK supermarket in the 90s stocked hotdogs in a can bedecked with old glory. It might have even been labelled "American hot dogs". Hot dogs in a can, I never. I think they were brined as well.

The Brit shelf of the "Ethnic Food" section at the local Publix mostly consists of choccies (yum) and Branston pickle (ugh). Now I can't remember if all the jars of Patak's curry sauce are on the Brit shelf or the Indian shelf.

I concur that the guy with the gun in the American parties link looked the most authentic. I honestly didn't know that red plastic cups were a thing here or anywhere else.
posted by Hal Mumkin at 4:58 AM on January 5, 2017


pickenickle, I definitely remember eating Marshmallow Fluff as a kid, but we lived in Maine at the time so I don't know if it's food just for kids (...and stoners?) or if it's a regional thing. We ate it spread on bread (white of course) as sandwiches either open or closed.
posted by Hal Mumkin at 5:00 AM on January 5, 2017


What is it most commonly used for anyway? Just peanut butter and fluff sandwiches?

Pretty much. Also for "never fail" fudge.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:03 AM on January 5, 2017 [5 favorites]


Yeah, fluffernutters and fudge (recipe is on the jar) are the only sane uses for fluff, though I keep intending to swirl some into brownie batter and see if it comes out well. I see a bunch of the American Food aisles pictures have strawberry fluff, which I don't know that I've ever actually seen in the US. Strawberry fluff doesn't sound like it would taste good on either of those, so I wonder what it gets used for.

Lately I've been having a fluffernutter for breakfast most mornings. It has almost exactly the same amount of sugar as a serving of jam but it makes me smile bigger when I eat it, and it's an easy way to get some protein in me without dirtying a pan.
posted by tchemgrrl at 5:12 AM on January 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


I haven't had a fluffernutter since I was a kid but fluff floating on the top of a mug of hot chocolate is pretty tasty.
posted by octothorpe at 5:19 AM on January 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


I made the vegan meringues from chick pea juice and sugar and before they're cooked you end up with something like extra soft fluff. It tasted pretty much like the real deal as well. It is therefore possible to make a vegan equivalent of fluff if you should so desire. Something to think about for the inedible fluff pairings booth. I oddly used to enjoy taking a pretzel and dipping one half in ranch dip and the other half with some fluff and eating it. I think I would like the disgusting fluff pairings booth unless it was paired with something that I consider to be nonfood (which seeing as I'm oddly picky about things includes a lot of things that most people consider as food.).
posted by koolkat at 5:24 AM on January 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


fluff floating on the top of a mug of hot chocolate is pretty tasty

Oh my, yes. Take your dry, stale little mini-marshmallows and insert them straight up your bum. A dollop of Fluff melting lazily on top of a mug of steaming hot chocolate is the BEST way to enjoy Fluff. Or hot chocolate, for that matter.

I know I have mentioned this here in previous Fluff threads, but a good friend of mine grew up in the house in Marblehead, MA where the inventor of Fluff lived.
posted by briank at 5:32 AM on January 5, 2017 [7 favorites]


Loved that the French pic had a bunch of candy that in any US store would be stuck in the "British section". Shelving a Flake bar under an American flag is such a DGAF move.
posted by potrzebie at 5:38 AM on January 5, 2017


The Brit shelf of the "Ethnic Food" section at the local Publix mostly consists of choccies (yum) and Branston pickle (ugh). Now I can't remember if all the jars of Patak's curry sauce are on the Brit shelf or the Indian shelf.

The Brit shelf in most grocery stores I've been to in MA is like 50% biscuits (cookies), 25% marmite, and 25% inexplicable imported curry (inexplicable because we both have a lot of local varieties of British-Indian prepared foods available, and also a sizable Indian population such that we have actual Indian stuff in stores and a number of standalone Indian groceries).
posted by tocts at 5:46 AM on January 5, 2017


I grew up outside of Chicago, and Fluff was a thing there many years ago. In case you don't already know this, it's possible to "roast" Fluff over an open flame a la regular marshmallows, just takes a bit of dexterity.

And from the Google translate version of the Fluff page at foodfromhome.com (emphasis added):

If you have not tried Marshmallow Fluff marshmallow spread from the United States, which is currently taking Europe by storm, then you have something good. Yes - it tastes like marshmallow. Americans often use it on their toast. A famous combination is a Fluffernuffer.

Take two slices of toast. One lubricated with fluff, the second toast with peanut butter. Folded and ready for serving. This toast know all Americans. Fluff is also ideal for baking and desserts. Can be used in many different ways. Was it something with a marshmallow ice cream - or tuck on ice?

posted by SteveInMaine at 5:49 AM on January 5, 2017 [5 favorites]


Pretty much. Also for "never fail" fudge.

I think fudge recipes are a big part of the reason for the prevalence of fluff, for sure.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:52 AM on January 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


I can't stand the sight of Fluff. Just looking at it makes my teeth ache. I don't know how my siblings managed to scarf down jar after jar after jar (yes I do: drugs). Maybe that's why my brothers were all bald by their mid twenty-s and toothless by 30.
posted by james33 at 5:53 AM on January 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


The Irish make it clear that Lucky Charms is an American import.
posted by Obscure Reference at 5:58 AM on January 5, 2017 [4 favorites]


What is it most commonly used for anyway? Just peanut butter and fluff sandwiches?

jesus christ you people have never had a whoopie pie? it's chocolate cake with marshmallow buttercream in the middle. it is the platonic ideal of dessert food.

now i have to go make a batch of them. the fluff in my cabinet is five years old, but i am confident that once i skim the disturbingly yellow liquid from the top of it, it will not have deteriorated in any meaningful way.
posted by Mayor West at 5:59 AM on January 5, 2017 [6 favorites]


Marshmallow fluff always reminds me of the fantastic terrible 1985 movie The Stuff. The opening scene is phenomenal. Dark night in an industrial frontier, an old man walks out in the snow to see some white.. stuff bubbling out of the ground. So he leans down to taste it, as anyone would. And it is delicious!

Pretty soon The Stuff is being marketed nationwide, a delicious and healthy new food alternative. Like Soylent only you don't even have to make it, it just bubbles out of the ground. Only it turns out The Stuff is actually evil. IIRC the climactic scene involves people turned into Stuff-zombies, their bodies rotten from the inside by marshmallow fluff, The Stuff bursting out of eye sockets and other bodily orifices.

I'm sure the film is a metaphor, but I'm not sure exactly for what. However I will never eat marshmallow fluff again without thinking of The Stuff.
posted by Nelson at 6:04 AM on January 5, 2017 [9 favorites]


I recently discovered that, given Pocky and a pair of tongs, it is possible to make inverse s'mores.
posted by zamboni at 6:16 AM on January 5, 2017 [2 favorites]


I was visiting Boston from my native Canada earlier this year and was introduced to a home-delivery gourmet sundae service, a concept which I embrace with the fervor of the Abominable Snowman to Daffy Duck.

But the thing that particularly struck me was that something like fifteen of the twenty or so sundae combinations on offer had marshmallow fluff in them. I mean, I knew the stuff existed, but I don't know that I'd ever seen it in the wild before, let alone in such concentration., It was like some kind of high-caloric Monty Python's "Spam" sketch. "Well, it's not got *much* fluff in it...."
posted by Quindar Beep at 6:21 AM on January 5, 2017 [2 favorites]


For some reason this is all reminding me of how I had never eaten Nutella or Laughing Cow ("La vache qui rit"!!!!) in either its spreadable or Babybel incarnations until I was working in Shanghai. I am picturing, say, someone from India working in France and discovering the wonders of Pepperidge Farm.

(It is interesting that the French shelf has much less junk-ish junk food - it's not that mint milanos, goldfish crackers and peanut butter are the healthiest things in the world, but they're much closer to actual food than marshmallow fluff and guacamole mix. I wonder if this is Frenchness in action or just that the shop is a posher one.)
posted by Frowner at 6:23 AM on January 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


I was visiting Boston from my native Canada earlier this year and was introduced to a home-delivery gourmet sundae service

Holy. Shit. I would pay such a premium for like ... maybe three or five sundaes a year. Since the local Friendly's closed I never get sundaes anymore, and it's such a drag.

Plus, with legal cannabis in MA and proximity to Tufts, this is like a license to print money.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:27 AM on January 5, 2017 [5 favorites]


But the thing that particularly struck me was that something like fifteen of the twenty or so sundae combinations on offer had marshmallow fluff in them.

It's a great sundae topping. If you're in/west of Boston, stop by Cabot's Ice Cream in Newton. PB & Banana Sundae, swap the vanilla ice cream for banana for even more goodness. (Ice cream, peanut butter sauce, marshmallow sauce, banana slices).
posted by tocts at 6:33 AM on January 5, 2017 [2 favorites]


I've never had the Fluff brand Marshmallow fluff and I had never had any of it until I was in my 40's when a recipe for s'mores bars called for the Kraft marshmallow fluffy stuff, whatever it's called.

I'd love to see more of these. I don't know why, but it's fascinating to see what people in other countries think of us. Also, I think Pop Tarts is giving marshmallow fluff a run for its money.
posted by Sophie1 at 6:43 AM on January 5, 2017


Oh yea. We American's looooove fluff. You can make it too!
posted by pizzakats708 at 6:44 AM on January 5, 2017


I'm an American and I've never heard of (much less eaten) Fluff until just now. Proof that others can know you better than you know yourself, I assume.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:46 AM on January 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


Never ate it, even though I have lived in New England now for almost 30 years.

Similarly, I moved out of the Southwest having never eaten grits. I consider myself to have escaped the most wretched excesses of the extremes.
posted by yhbc at 6:54 AM on January 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


1. The drop down menu is driving me buggy this morning. I meant to give a 'Fantastic Comment'
The stupid menu snapped before I could correct it. Grrr!

American food in Bosnia was Austrian made corn chips, Mexican flavored Hunt's Ketchup, fairly decent hamburgers which sometimes had cabbage instead of lettuce. Pickles came from Hungary and were really superior. I never saw marshmallow fluff.

Mexican food was available and pretty good. They do have pretty good pizza.

Ireland had loads of American food. There's a McDonalds on O'Connell Treet and a Johnny Rockets. I never got to try the oneMexican restaurant I saw in Dublin. It was only open at night. I was usually in by dark, or ate at a pub near my hostel.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 6:57 AM on January 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


Mayor West: jesus christ you people have never had a whoopie pie? it's chocolate cake with marshmallow buttercream in the middle. it is the platonic ideal of dessert food.

That recipe makes my teeth hurt, but yessuh chummy. It's been a few years since I've had a whoopie pie, so I just might try making them.
posted by SteveInMaine at 6:58 AM on January 5, 2017


American pizza from a British chain in Paris!

In the UK, "American" is a type* of pizza (lots of pepperoni). There's also the "American Hot" (pepperoni and jalapneos).

*type? flavour? style? what do you call a specific selection of pizza toppings?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:58 AM on January 5, 2017 [2 favorites]


France seems to think we're all about the Pepperidge Farms cookies, but really it's just the Milanos, especially the dark-chocolate double-center ones.
posted by Cookiebastard at 6:58 AM on January 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


Oh, grits are a common Balkan food.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 6:58 AM on January 5, 2017


Marshmallow is my favorite ice cream topping, but the pourable marshmallow (more like the Kraft brand) is better than Fluff. You want it to ooze down the sides like your chocolate does.

I love how in the "My American kid is about to study abroad in Sydney, what should she bring" and I mentioned marshmallows if she wants to intro her new Aussie friends to s'mores, all the Australians were super scornful about how you can find marshmallows in all their stores so there's no need to bring any - dude. There are "marshmallows", and then there are American marshmallow products. They are different.

Also, to someone above, yes they sell both peanut butter and jam outside the US, but I have never seen any of my non-US family or friends chow down on PB&J sandwiches like Americans do. "Selling these items" and "consuming them in the same fashion as another culture" are, again, different.

Most of the American food stores I saw while living abroad trafficked mainly in Twinkies and sugary breakfast cereals. I don't think I've voluntarily eaten a Twinkie since I was about 6. They are uniquely horrifying, so I get their presence in the store as a novelty, but I hate to think what it's doing to non-Americans' opinions about my diet.
posted by olinerd at 7:00 AM on January 5, 2017


My choice, if I'm trying to think of a food that's "American," is the peanut butter & jelly sandwich.

(Rectangle cut represent!)


What? No! Diagonal cut lets you minimize the crusted-edge to uncrusted-edge ratio.
posted by sourwookie at 7:04 AM on January 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


I've lived in MA my whole life, just a few miles from where Fluff is from (Lynn, I think, according to that Don White song) but I don't think I've ever actually eaten it. It's one of those foods I just know is disgusting without even needing to try it.

Maybe I'll post a "Bondcliff eats Fluff for the first time" video on YouTube.
posted by bondcliff at 7:10 AM on January 5, 2017 [2 favorites]


I brought a peanut butter and fluff sandwich to school for lunch nearly every day from 2nd grade (when we moved to New Hampshire) until 8th grade (when I became vegetarian and realized what was in fluff).
posted by ChuraChura at 7:15 AM on January 5, 2017


Screw fluff. Do you really mean to tell me no other country has canned pumpkin?
posted by steady-state strawberry at 7:19 AM on January 5, 2017


Bondcliff, we should get together and have grits at the same time.
posted by yhbc at 7:27 AM on January 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


fraula: Meanwhile, Canada consists of maple trees in France

The Clamato that appears in the photo is arguably Canadian even though it was invented in the U.S. I mean, how else are you gonna make a Caesar?

But I came here to say "needs more Easy Cheese." Growing up in a border town, aerosol cheese was one of the things I consistently noted was available in U.S. supermarkets but not in Canadian ones.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:28 AM on January 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


I have a friend who immigrated to the US and then had a son born in the US. He came home from school requesting "Fluff" sandwiches, which she says completely boggled her. I'm not sure what kind of investigation she made, but reports that her best guess was that it was cream cheese. So he ended up with peanut butter and cream cheese sandwiches for a bit, until she somehow figured out the actual product. I think she is a little sheepish about this but based on my dislike of fluff, I reassured her that I would choose cream cheese and peanut butter over a fluffernutter any day....
posted by Tandem Affinity at 7:31 AM on January 5, 2017


all the Australians were super scornful about how you can find marshmallows in all their stores so there's no need to bring any - dude. There are "marshmallows", and then there are American marshmallow products. They are different.

Not appreciably different after you stick them in a campfire, particularly if you put that Hershey's rubbish on it.

Also, to someone above, yes they sell both peanut butter and jam outside the US, but I have never seen any of my non-US family or friends chow down on PB&J sandwiches like Americans do. "Selling these items" and "consuming them in the same fashion as another culture" are, again, different.

Is the someone me, and did you read the whole comment? Have you truly been to the Lair of the White Worm?

Screw fluff. Do you really mean to tell me no other country has canned pumpkin?

If you're not making pumpkin pie, why would you want it?
posted by zamboni at 7:36 AM on January 5, 2017


Yeah, anywhere else where they use pumpkin they use an actual pumpkin (although why bother, butternut squash is way tastier).
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:37 AM on January 5, 2017


Screw fluff.

Does human sexual preference know no end?
posted by fairmettle at 7:40 AM on January 5, 2017


Does human sexual preference know no end?

Take two slices of toast. One lubricated with fluff
posted by uncleozzy at 7:43 AM on January 5, 2017 [5 favorites]


Many years ago, during a particularly severe bout of burnout, I spent several weeks coming home from work and eating Ritz crackers covered in peanut butter, Nutella, and Fluff. It was great, but my tolerance for super-sugary foods has definitely dropped since then and I don't think I'd be able to repeat that performance.
posted by backseatpilot at 7:47 AM on January 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


One of my favourite things to do when visiting foreign countries is to go their grocery stores and see what's different and what's the same, so I found this look at what different countries / stores consider to be "American food" to be really interesting, even if it is a one-shot Buzzfeed listicle.

The German budget supermarket Lidl (which operates across Europe) has a number of pseudo-brands for in-house products supposedly in the tradition of various countries' cuisines (or, more precisely, in a stereotypical approximation thereof). So they have Indian curry sauces named Kanpur Gardens, Italian pickles named Dulano, a brand of oat cakes with a Scottish name I can't remember, and so on.

Their brand of American-style products (hot dogs and such) is “McEnnedy”. I don't even.
posted by acb at 8:04 AM on January 5, 2017 [2 favorites]


Bondcliff, we should get together and have grits at the same time.

Grits are delicious when cooked with enough bacon grease and shrimp.
posted by bondcliff at 8:11 AM on January 5, 2017


Not appreciably different after you stick them in a campfire, particularly if you put that Hershey's rubbish on it.

That came across a little crankier than I intended- sorry! What I'm trying to say about that thread was that Australians wouldn't really appreciate the size and textural differences in marshmallows, and ex-pats should save the the Jet Puffeds and Hershey for themselves.

The International aisle isn't a carefully considered selection intended to exemplify foreign cuisines, but an intersection of what expatriates want and what supermarkets can get, modified by the existence or absence of a local analogues.
posted by zamboni at 8:11 AM on January 5, 2017


Grits are delicious when cooked with enough bacon grease and shrimp.

But this is largely true of anything.
posted by Quindar Beep at 8:11 AM on January 5, 2017 [2 favorites]


No matter how I look at it, I cannot help but think a fluffernutter is a particularly niche kind of porn act.
posted by MartinWisse at 8:24 AM on January 5, 2017 [3 favorites]


I expect that folks in other countries look at US-ian markets the same way. As in, the "Ethnic" aisle in every American chain market seems to be primarily pasta, tomato sauce, taco seasoning, and ramen noodles. If you're lucky, you might find a can of wasabi peas. How these almost entirely-Americanized products can be counted as "ethnic" is beyond me.
posted by caution live frogs at 8:39 AM on January 5, 2017


Based on those photos, pancakes must be #2. There is so much Bisquik, which makes sense to me. I always miss breakfast when I am abroad, not because I can't handle other things but because American breakfast is one of the finest American creations, after rock & roll. But Fluff is gross, and so are poptarts. Rootbeer & pancakes for me please.
posted by dame at 8:42 AM on January 5, 2017


Metafilter: You want it to ooze down the sides like your chocolate does.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:45 AM on January 5, 2017


The presence of marshmallow fluff, aerosolised cooking oil, aerosolised cheese, cake mix suggests that in many country, stereotypically “American” food is technological/industrial food products.
posted by acb at 8:46 AM on January 5, 2017


But Fluff is gross, and so are poptarts

Now paired with yet another New England delicacy.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:48 AM on January 5, 2017


Rootbeer & pancakes for me please.

I knew I was starting to acclimatise when root beer tasted like something other than muscle liniment.
posted by zamboni at 8:50 AM on January 5, 2017


No matter how I look at it, I cannot help but think a fluffernutter is a particularly niche kind of porn act.

I ate so many Fluffernutters growing up it wasn't even funny. Plus, when your an adult, it can be fun in....other situations.

American breakfast is one of the finest American creations, after rock & roll.

Preach, sister.
posted by jonmc at 8:51 AM on January 5, 2017


A couple of year ago Tesco (the UK supermarket behemoth) introduced US food sections in all their shops near me. This is weird for a couple of reasons: first, only the bigger shops tend to have dedicated 'world food' sections but this even happened in the Tesco Express (mini-market size). Second, the section is entirely devoted to junk food – think big-brand breakfast cereals and chocolate bars, with some delightful stickers censoring parts of the packaging where US and UK food labelling standards, er, differ.

I imagine it's already been discussed to death, but Hershey's chocolate just tastes wrong to anyone not brought up on it; how there's a market for it here in the deepest suburbs (beyond a one-off curiosity purchase) is beyond me.
posted by mushhushshu at 8:53 AM on January 5, 2017


After reading this thread, I feel even less American and even more isolated and alone than I usually do - and that's really saying something.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:53 AM on January 5, 2017


Also, as a kid, I remember being baffled that Bisquik, had different directions for 'higher altitudes.' So now, whenever some I know moves to somewhere mountainous, I tell them 'you can't go you'll have to change all your pancake recipies!!"
posted by jonmc at 8:53 AM on January 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


I knew I was starting to acclimatise when root beer tasted like something other than muscle liniment.

It is a true tragedy that other places ruin root beer by adding wintergreen to so much medicine. I have heard Dr. Pepper suffers the same problem?
posted by dame at 8:54 AM on January 5, 2017


I cannot help but think a fluffernutter is a particularly niche kind of porn act

Now that I think about it, it sort of sounds like the train leaving the station ahead of schedule.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:54 AM on January 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


One thing I've noticed about the "international section" at large US grocery stores: it varies tremendously based on whether or not people from a particular place are likely to be in the Cub and need something from home in a hurry. So my local Cub has a relatively large array of East African products ("relatively large" in the sense that it's a shelf and you could put together a meal using those things); a multiple shelf selection of the kinds of Mexican brands that you'd find in an actual grocery story with a mostly Mexican clientele (but more expensive than the nearby one)....and a shelf with some Hobnobs, custard powder, HP sauce and canned beans in tomato sauce. We don't even get Branston pickle. Not a lot of people from the UK around here.

(Funnily, the one time I met someone from the UK in the wild here, he was an election observer from some lefty organization. For some reason I meet Australians and New Zealanders fairly regularly in the midwest, though.)
posted by Frowner at 8:59 AM on January 5, 2017


I took a really great pic in Crawford Market in Bombay this summer of a random vegetable stall which also had several jars of "American Garden" (tm) brand mayonnaise. So American it had to be labeled as such.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 9:01 AM on January 5, 2017


Many years ago, the proprietors of an Italian pensione, in affection for a teacher of mine who was staying with them for some time, contrived to prepare some fresh corn because they had heard that Americans like to eat the stuff.

Italy does not produce sweet corn as Americans know it. They produce a harder strain more suitable for feeding pigs, or at best, for making polenta.

He ate it, albeit with some difficulty, because he was polite, and they just watched in skeptical bemusement. Sono pazzi, questi Americani.

Moral of the story - foreigners who get their ideas of American food from these shelves and incomplete rumor are in for some very happy surprises should they ever come to visit.
posted by BWA at 9:02 AM on January 5, 2017


Oh, and Frowner, when this native Californian fist moved to MN and found tomato sauce (like for spaghetti) in the "international aisle" at my local Cub Foods I almost ran screaming for the first plane out.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 9:02 AM on January 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


I've lived in MA my whole life, just a few miles from where Fluff is from (Lynn, I think, according to that Don White song)

Actually, the reason there is an annual Marshmallow Fluff Festival (technically called What the Fluff?) in Somerville is because it was invented in here by Archibald Query in 1917. We don't have a factory anymore though. It has been in Lynn since 1929. Lucky you, Lynn!
posted by pangolin party at 9:07 AM on January 5, 2017


The most American food is whatever I'm having for lunch.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:07 AM on January 5, 2017


(Probably döner kebap)
posted by Burhanistan at 9:08 AM on January 5, 2017


Pepsi is American.

While that's true, in Quebec Pepsi is used as an insult. Generally it is directed at Francophone Quebecers in general by Anglophones but, speaking from personal experience, I've heard it used for unsophisticated rural Francophones especially.

I love going to the grocery stores in foreign lands. When I was in Iceland last summer I was very impressed by their grocery store candy aisles... weird licorice as far as the eye can see. And also the amount of stuff they had to smear on bread. Also Cool Ranch Doritos were called "American" or something like that.
posted by Ashwagandha at 9:08 AM on January 5, 2017


I have never seen tomato sauce in the international aisle. Not that I doubt you, but at least in in every MPLS-area grocery store I've visited it's next to the canned tomatoes and the spaghetti.

Does any other region use canned tomato sauce a l'americaine anyway? I know that beans and herring sometimes come in tomato sauce in the UK and central Europe, but I can't think of any recipes besides American-style pizza and tomato sauces that actually call for it. (Rather than tomato paste or canned tomatoes, that is.)
posted by Frowner at 9:09 AM on January 5, 2017


We have many types and brands of tomato sauce — I don't remember how American style sauces are, but probably similar. When I was at college, during exams, we'd open a can of beans and a can of tomato sauce, pour them together and then eat them cold. Better than Heinz baked beans.

Once, the proprietor at our local COOP was Asian, and when the Ramadan was on, you could always buy everything you needed there, including interesting pastries and whole lamb. Now its different in a different way. I think the board there is very activist.
posted by mumimor at 9:18 AM on January 5, 2017


I always take my time in the 'international food' aisle of my local Coles supermarket, looking for something that I've read about but have never tried before (Irn Bru (Scottish soft drink ) is great!) I still remember the sheer disappointment when I got to try a Twinkie and a Hostess Cupcake for the first time after seeing how amazing they were in the ads in my Donald Duck comics.

There's nothing equivalent to graham crackers here in Australia and they don't stock it in my supermarket but I'm always on the lookout because I do want to try a smore at least once (well, I want to try a bit of one - my niece really, really wants a proper one so if I ever find the right ingredients she can make it and I'll just sample).

I don't really want to try 'Fluff'.
posted by h00py at 9:20 AM on January 5, 2017


I was definitely at a grocery store in small town Iowa that put pasta and pasta sauce next to the tacos and cans of salsa.
posted by steady-state strawberry at 9:20 AM on January 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


I love going to the grocery stores in foreign lands.

Hell, I loving going into them in other American cities and seeing that regional products still exist. Plus, one great thing about living in the outer boroughs of NYC, is going into corner stores in different neighborhoods (as opposed to the 'international section' or fucking Whole Foods) and finding cool snacks to share with my friends at work.
posted by jonmc at 9:21 AM on January 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


When I was a teenager, some friends of mine had a Swiss exchange student living with them for a year, and that guy was a complete fiend for marshmallows. He would always have one of the large bags of full sized marshmallows in his backpack.

I don't know if he ever discovered Fluff while he was here, but I like to imagine he did, and that he is responsible for all this.
posted by ernielundquist at 9:28 AM on January 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


Screw fluff. Do you really mean to tell me no other country has canned pumpkin?

dude, no other country cans shit like we do. Or so I've heard. Has to do with the frontier traditions.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 9:31 AM on January 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


Nelson: Marshmallow fluff always reminds me of the fantastic terrible 1985 movie The Stuff . The opening scene is phenomenal. Dark night in an industrial frontier, an old man walks out in the snow to see some white.. stuff bubbling out of the ground. So he leans down to taste it, as anyone would. And it is delicious!

Oh, wow. I haven't thought of this movie in years and years. If you haven't seen it, it's pretty amazing for the reasons Nelson describes. Must rewatch.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:38 AM on January 5, 2017



We have many types and brands of tomato sauce — I don't remember how American style sauces are, but probably similar. When I was at college, during exams, we'd open a can of beans and a can of tomato sauce, pour them together and then eat them cold. Better than Heinz baked beans.


Okay, we must resolve this.

"Tomato sauce" as I grew up with it in the American midwest is basically diluted tomato paste, possibly with a very small amount of garlic powder or something. It's not a sauce like spaghetti sauce, where there's supposed to be a tomato flavor plus other definite flavors. In fact, I've read various articles and cookbooks saying never to bother with it because tomato paste and canned tomatoes have better flavor and you should add your own herbs, garlic, etc - that tomato sauce is a feeble, tasteless thing.

Is this what tomato sauce is in the UK, or is it more of its own thing? A cursory google for "UK tomato sauce" gives me something that looks like it has a lot more flavor and that is sometimes labeled catsup - a vinegar tomato sauce that looks really tasty. But is there another canned sauce that is mostly just plain pulped tomato?
posted by Frowner at 9:41 AM on January 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


I can't imagine any Americans are buying Marmite or Golden Syrup.

Lyle's Golden Syrup makes the best pecan pie you will ever eat. Corn syrup just can't compete.

But yeah, Marmite is gross.
posted by bgrebs at 9:47 AM on January 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


For a second I was hoping the article was referring to pistachio fluff… *sigh*
posted by pmdboi at 9:48 AM on January 5, 2017


I have never seen tomato sauce in the international aisle. Not that I doubt you, but at least in in every MPLS-area grocery store I've visited it's next to the canned tomatoes and the spaghetti.

I've spent way too much time trying to figure out grocery store taxonomies, and from what I've seen at my local stores, the 'ethnic' sections are largely brand-based.

My primary grocery store is pretty big and fancy, and it has multiple different sections for ethnic foods, but I don't think I've seen much of anything in those sections that was unique as far as what it was. So, there's an Italian section that has specific brands of anchovies and capers and pasta that I assume are imported from Italy, but they have other brands of anchovies, capers, and pasta in their respective sections as well.

Of course, that's not universal by any means, but that's one of the ways it's done.
posted by ernielundquist at 10:14 AM on January 5, 2017 [2 favorites]


But yeah, Marmite is gross.

By itself it is definitely gross, but it is packed with umami enhancing properties that amp up the savoriness of dishes without changing the flavor profile of the dish. If you cook along with the recipes that J. Kenji Lopez-Alt produces (and you really should) you have to have a jar of marmite by your side.
posted by mmascolino at 10:25 AM on January 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


The mass-market grocery stores I've frequented in the American rust belt have mostly had pasta, spaghetti sauces, etc. all shelved together in the "Spaghetti and sauce" section, and then a separate "Ethnic Foods" section where they'll have yet more canned tomatoes, sauce and pasta -- mostly mass-market Italian brands plus maybe some organic U.S. stuff, jars of pesto, capers, premade pizza bread, etc. And they do something similar for the "Mexican" and Mexican foods; Old El Paso and Taco Bell fixings here in the "stuff the white people buy" section, Goya and Herdez there in "Ethnic". The "Asian" and Asian products, by contrast, all gets lumped together in the Ethnic foods section, and they're all of American manufacture.
posted by at by at 10:32 AM on January 5, 2017


I've spent way too much time trying to figure out grocery store taxonomies

Probably not. When I was in grad school the categorization of groceries came up often. Particularly how the placement of canned tomatoes correlated with the target audience of the store. Student-dominated stores tended to have the canned tomatoes shelved away from the pasta and stores in areas that were more family-with-kids oriented tended to shelve the canned tomatoes with the pasta. This likely indicates which demographic is more likely to make their own tomato sauce versus those who go for the pre-made.

If you really want to geek out, go to Scarecrow Video. Their categorization is brilliant if you're browsing but shit for known item searches.

Yes, I did go to librarian college. Why do you ask?
posted by stet at 10:46 AM on January 5, 2017 [2 favorites]


Yes, but peanut butter and jam can be procured in other countries.

Peanut butter is way more uniquely American than you might think. Here in Switzerland, many supermarkets don't stock it, and when you do find it, it's got a big American flag and Statue of Liberty on the packaging. Many residents I've spoken with have never had it.

Reese's peanut butter cups are easy to find though.
posted by painquale at 11:07 AM on January 5, 2017


fluff is repulsive but i'm mostly okay with moon pies. the only place i have ever eaten moon pies was in kunming though.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:16 AM on January 5, 2017


i'm mostly okay with moon pies

Good news: MeFi's own Brad Sucks scored us some sweet lil' Moon Pies.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:22 AM on January 5, 2017


I had some Marmite flavored potato chips from England once. They were OK.
posted by jonmc at 11:32 AM on January 5, 2017


Peanut butter is way more uniquely American than you might think.

Some countries have peanut paste and preserves, but only America has Her
Alabaster Eminence, the Secret Winter Queen of Somerville. Come, join us. Suckle on her syrupy exudates and know peace.
posted by zamboni at 11:35 AM on January 5, 2017 [2 favorites]


Some countries have peanut paste and preserves, but only America has Her Alabaster Eminence

If your peanut butter is pale white, you're doing it wrong.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:27 PM on January 5, 2017


Peanut butter is way more uniquely American than you might think. Here in Switzerland, many supermarkets don't stock it, and when you do find it, it's got a big American flag and Statue of Liberty on the packaging

Here in the Netherlands, on the other hand, it's one of the most commonly eaten spreads. Many Dutch children basically grow up on 'boterhammen met pindakaas' (slices of bread with peanut butter. Why does the English language not have a word for boterham?)
So no, it's no more uniquely American than apple pie.
posted by Too-Ticky at 12:42 PM on January 5, 2017


But yeah, Marmite is gross.

By itself it is definitely gross


fight me both of you
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:43 PM on January 5, 2017 [2 favorites]


So no, it's no more uniquely American than apple pie.

Good thing hot dogs are uniquely American. ...oh, right. Baseball, then?
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:48 PM on January 5, 2017


As far as I'm concerned... y'all can keep that, sure.
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:00 PM on January 5, 2017


If your peanut butter is pale white, you're doing it wrong.

SHHH! SHE'LL HEAR YOU
posted by zamboni at 1:03 PM on January 5, 2017


Okay, we must resolve this.

"Tomato sauce" as I grew up with it in the American midwest is basically diluted tomato paste, possibly with a very small amount of garlic powder or something. It's not a sauce like spaghetti sauce, where there's supposed to be a tomato flavor plus other definite flavors. In fact, I've read various articles and cookbooks saying never to bother with it because tomato paste and canned tomatoes have better flavor and you should add your own herbs, garlic, etc - that tomato sauce is a feeble, tasteless thing.


The "tomato" sauce I put on my beans when I was a student was an indefinable mass of tomato paste, onion powder, garlic powder, msg, lumps of something not tomato (maybe overcooked carrot?), sometimes vinegar, sometimes sugar and maybe also gelatin for "consistency". Not really delicious, just better than the stuff in baked beans. I haven't eaten it since. When I'm looking for regular canned tomatoes in the "ethnic" section, several different cans of "tomato" sauce form a transition between "Italian" and "Mexican". Since I'm not going to eat any of them, I haven't studied their ingredients further.. However, the regular canned tomatoes in the ethnic section are usually better quality than those in the canned vegetables section. I don't know why.
posted by mumimor at 1:22 PM on January 5, 2017


Ooooh, pick me! Pick me! Tomato sauce in the US can be two different things! It can be a canned tomato concentrate (uncooked) that does not meet the legal FDA definition for tomato paste (thicker), tomato puree (thinner), or tomato juice, and this can generally only contain salt. That's in your traditional aluminium can in the canned goods aisle.

OR it can be cooked, prepared tomato sauce, usually in a glass (or plastic) jar that you'd put on top of spaghetti or whatever, which runs the gamut from simple to complex, cheap to expensive, and rot-gut to fancy.

When people are like "I put American tomato sauce on my pasta and it was horrifying" they probably got it in the canned goods aisle rather than the pasta sauce aisle and did not know it was uncooked tomato concentrate.

(Also "the" foreign foods aisle in American supermarkets has everything to do with marketing/sales and virtually nothing to do with origin of products/actual foreignness/native cuisine, and most supermarkets change the foreign foods aisle up more often than anything else but produce or organics, to lure people into trying new-to-them premium products. My supermarket used to have a "pasta" section with pasta and sauce, and olive oil was in the cooking aisle, but now all the pasta is in an "Italian" section with high-end olive oils and ridiculously overpriced sauce and fancy capers. On the one hand it's one-stop shopping for your pasta-related needs; otoh the generic pastas have been shrunk and stuck at the bottom. Tacos used to be in a "Mexican" section but now they're in a "food kits" section (I forget what it's called for real, but it's like taco kits and hamburger helper and rice and beans flavors and stuff) and the beans are with the beans and the rice is with the rice. The "Japanese" section has become pan-Asian and shrunk and we gained an "Indian" section. It's all very random and like all right-thinking people I loathe change at the supermarket so it infuriates me.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 1:52 PM on January 5, 2017 [6 favorites]


I'm completely poleaxed that anyone could think that the food of the Gods known as Fluff is disgusting. What the fuck, people. Are you all a bunch of goddamned philistines?
posted by holborne at 2:02 PM on January 5, 2017 [3 favorites]


OR it can be cooked, prepared tomato sauce, usually in a glass (or plastic) jar that you'd put on top of spaghetti or whatever, which runs the gamut from simple to complex, cheap to expensive, and rot-gut to fancy.

The grocery stores here in Boston apparently resolve this conundrum by referring to the cooked sauce as "gravy".
posted by tobascodagama at 2:07 PM on January 5, 2017


'Gravy' or 'Sauce'?
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:17 PM on January 5, 2017


Also, I think in classic French cuisine 'gravy' is considered to be a subset of 'sauce'. So it's all semantics - or, more appropriately for this topic, tomayto-tomahto.
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:21 PM on January 5, 2017





My SO, trying to be nice and knowing I have a strange obsession with moonpies, brought home a whoopie pie assuming it was the same thing. I gave him about a half-hour explanation of how they are NOT the same thing, historically or materially. I think I frightened him.

posted by acrasis at 5:33 PM on January 5, 2017


Going further with Eyebrows McGee's excellent distinction of American tomato sauces, I think of the jarred (say, Ragu/Prego brands) as "spaghetti sauce" or "pasta sauce" at least in the Birmingham, Alabama vernacular.
posted by ndfine at 6:36 PM on January 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


The grocery stores here in Boston apparently resolve this conundrum by referring to the cooked sauce as "gravy".

What the actual fuck? Tomato sauce is so not gravy that is hurting my brain.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 6:49 PM on January 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


Calling tomato sauce "gravy" is a hallmark of Italian immigrant communities.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 7:19 PM on January 5, 2017 [6 favorites]


Pennsylvania reporting in for "Spaghetti Sauce"
posted by pan at 8:22 PM on January 5, 2017


Since this fluff crap seems to be regional, it can't be the MOST American food. Which is obviously biscuits with cream or sausage gravy. They're available in in all fiddy states (with varying degrees of tastiness, unfortunately).
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 9:00 PM on January 5, 2017


... the MOST American food. Which is obviously biscuits with cream or sausage gravy. They're available in in all fiddy states (with varying degrees of tastiness, unfortunately).

The same could be said even more so of hamburgers, even disregarding the major fast-food players.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:15 PM on January 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


I'm still cursing because the reliable italian-made pasta sauce at my grocer's just switched to a new version with sugar in it for the North American palate.
posted by sebastienbailard at 12:16 AM on January 6, 2017 [2 favorites]


briank: Take your dry, stale little mini-marshmallows and insert them straight up your bum.

What's the next step? This recipe seems incomplete and on second thoughts, I will not subscribe to your newsletter.
posted by Too-Ticky at 2:30 AM on January 6, 2017 [3 favorites]


This thread is relevant to my interests as I have a can my wife got for something and abandoned in the dark of the cabinet and a burning desire to see food not wasted.

This thread managed to stir this indigestion-induced insomniac (medicinal levels of chili ramen) to remember all the parts of a favorite dessert of his childhood which he had not had for some decades now. From the bottom it goes chocolate cake, fluff, chopped peanuts, tub chocolate frosting. My mom used to make it for the group cookouts we had with the Lost Sierra RV regulars we rolled with.

Had not thought about that in years, so thanks for knocking that loose and - urp - giving me something to look forward to culinarily.

Those aisle shots of American food were interesting to take as reverse cultural filters. If you have taken from our panoply of things pancakes you are good people who understand breakfast and are my friends.

Good to see Goldfish represented: the world is invested with local variants of Pringles but not our second most important junk food carbo contribution.

My few friends who have expatriated themselves to Europe complain of the difficulties in finding chocolate chips.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 3:59 AM on January 6, 2017


Yes, but peanut butter and jam can be procured in other countries.

No. It's peanut butter and jelly, not jam, jelly. Grape jelly. Peanut butter and grape jelly. You can use your artisinal strawberry jam/compote/preserves and that's...ok. But it's not a peanut butter and (grape) jelly sandwich. I've tried it other ways and grape jelly is really key, and also hard to find in some countries. So I would say PB & J is a much, much better choice than marshmallow fluff, something I have seen before but never actually eaten. But what American can say they've never eaten a PB & J?
posted by zardoz at 4:24 AM on January 6, 2017 [1 favorite]


pindakaas

peanut cheese
posted by poffin boffin at 1:03 PM on January 6, 2017


What? No! Diagonal cut lets you minimize the crusted-edge to uncrusted-edge ratio.

Crust and uncrust is meaningless if you can't fit it in your backpack pocket properly. The rectangle cut renders the product easily crammable. You've got to solve the big problems before you can solve the small problems.
posted by KChasm at 1:19 AM on January 7, 2017


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