Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Food! Glorious Food!!

As you may have guessed from the title of this blog, today I want to talk about a topic which is near and dear to the hearts of many people. No, not pathetic little Cockney thieves in some reason to think they deserve two bowls of slop, but rather the topic of the famous song - food.

The food in America is a strange and curious thing, and it's funny because you simply cannot guarantee what is going to be good and what is going to be slop based on what it is and where you find it.

For example, in the UK if you decide that you need some ham or chicken slices to go in your sandwich you effectively have two options; you can go the Asda route which entails purchasing 300 slices crammed into a plastic package and which you know beyond all reasonable doubt consists of 80% water, 19% dog and 1% ham or chicken. But of course, it costs 99p (that's Asda price) and you are under no illusions that it will taste of anything but water and dog. Alternatively, you can go to Marks & Spencer's and remortgage your house, take out a bank loan and Max all your credit cards just to be able to afford two slices of premium ham/chicken. Of course, this colossal sum is justified by the fact that although it tastes nice, they smother enough herbs and spices over the chicken/ham that for all you know you could still be eating dog.

Contrast this to my experience in America whereby I raided the local supermarket for essentials on my first weekend and purchased a pack of ham and chicken which looked very much like the Asda variety. It was certainly priced like the Asda variety. Imagine my surprise when the following day I made a sandwich and was treated to a taste and texture of meat unlike anything you would find in the UK outside of Antony Worrall Thompson's fridge. If we had food like this readily available in the UK I don't think Jamie Oliver would need to strap children into electric chairs just to get them to eat a sandwich instead of a burger.

Which brings me on to my second point. As you are all no doubt aware, the United States of America is highly famous for being the burger capital of the world. Unless you have spent the last 10 years living as a nomad in Nepal you are probably at least passingly familiar with the documentary Super Size Me which details explicitly the problems arising from the fast food mentality of the US.

So given that I am in the home of the Big Mac, The Whopper and Wendy's you'd think it would be relatively simple to get a decent burger. My first attempt was at a place called Best Burger. Sorry lead me rephrase that, my first attempt was at a place laughingly called Best Burger. They could have called it "By God Shoot Yourself Now Rather Than Eat This Burger Burger" and it still would not do justice to quite how bad this disgrace for an organic compound was.

My second attempt at a burger was along more traditional lines with a quick lunch at Burger King. This Burger was in fact passable however I should emphasise that phrase passable, and given that this came from one of the biggest names in the burger industry it was still a disappointment. The only saving grace is that unlike the UK, Burger King in the US do not have the audacity to charge you a months wages (and they get your order correct).

Fresh from the failed burger quest we move on to a pleasant surprise - the pizza. To be honest, I had not expected much from the pizzas here on the grounds that there was no reason to expect any different from the UK. I had of course underestimated the Italian presence in New York. Quite simply, the pizzas here are delicious and surprisingly healthier than in the UK as they are made according to Italian tradition. Please note, I said healthier, not healthy.

Last but not least, we come to the lunchtime menus which can only be categorised by the sandwich known as the “Chicken Parm Hero” for which I wholeheartedly and unashamedly blame Juan Martinez. To call this a sandwich is like calling the Statue of Liberty a "model". This leviathan is so large that when I had a foot long Subway the following day it looked positively miniscule. The Hero had quite literally changed my perceptions, or perhaps it is so vast that it simply warped space-time on my desk to such a degree that anything placed there now looks smaller. Of course if that's true, why does the amount of work on my desk not appear to have shrunk?

One final note before I sign off, with all of this talk of burgers, pizzas and epic sized sandwiches it probably sounds as though I'm eating as much crap is when I was a student. Never fear ladies and gents, the majority of my meals have so far been at a nice little Italian restaurant over the road where the lasagna is quite simply to die for. Of course, having said that it is the size of a small third world country. I am in America after all.


  1. Have you had Taco Bell yet? Or that one with the square burgers!

  2. Wendy's has square burgers but no Taco Bell yet, i haven't actually seen one!