Originally Posted by Nantucket Red
This reminds me of a joke a friend told me years ago.
Q: What has six legs and three teeth?
A: The line for funnel cakes at the county fair.
Americans can't do any food well (I'll contradict myself in the next paragraph). French fries have to be passed off as French even to be palatable, and hamburgers make a pretence of being from Hamburg (Germany). The only thing I can think of that outrightly admits to being American is american cheese, which is not cheese at all but some vile, artificially-flavored hydrogenated oil passed off as something edible. It scarcely bears mentioning.
The only thing Americans do well is seafood, and then only on the coast. (I suppose steak-eaters will argue this point.)
The best pizza I ever had was in Switzerland, but then again it was a totally different animal from American pizza, which I can take or leave (I usually leave).
Sushi is where I really stand on ceremony. In NYC, you'll find a lot of Chinese and Korean sushi chefs, who are probably learning under the guidance of a Japanese master. A disproportionate number of sushi bars are run by Mexicans, and when I see one I invariably run away as fast as I can without daring even to look over my shoulder.
The Japanese, however, tend to tailor ethnic cuisines to their bland tastes. The absolute worst is Japanese "curry." Good Indian food can be had in Japan, but their own concept of it is a sugar-laden abomination that, added to the glutinous white rice that invariably accompanies it and every other meal, makes for a cloying, unpalatable, indigestible mass of starchy sludge.
Sorry, NR, I think that there are things that American food does very well -
comfort food - heavy items that are long cooked and are not so much dependent on quality of ingredients - chilli, bar-b-que, stews, food from rural communities such as the amish, southern soul food, biskets and gravy, fried chicken, chicken fried steak, etc.
simple baked goods - pies, cookies and cakes, I think, are much better in the US than other parts of the world. fancy, creamy stuff can be done better in Europe.
wide range of ethinc food - here is borderline. I think that some cities in america - nyc, DC, minneapolis, Chicago, have a great and wide range of pretty good ethnic foods in a 90 minute radious that is hard to find anywhere else in the world. That said, I am dissappointed with a lot of the ethnic food in NYC, so I would have to say that what you have is a wide range of mediocre to good ethnic foods, not great ones. but, it is still pretty hard to find that anywhere.
I am dissapointed with the quality of ingredients in the US - I find that the fruit and vegetables are dissapointing, although the flip side to that is having everything available 12 months out of the year. The meat is very good and cheap.