To anyone who has tasted real cheese, it's just bizarre.
The other oddity is chocolate. In the US it seems to come universally without any milk or sugar added. Hersheys is bitter. Even the "Cadburys" (made under license) is quite hard to eat, and not anything like real chocolate.
And agreed. HFCS tastes pretty gross compared to the same drink with real sugar.
Some people choose to eat artificially-produced cheese substitute, but despite the ads you see on TV, not everyone does.
The same goes for coffee and beer, mentioned in comments below. I always buy coffee within a day or two of roasting, and even if I buy it at the grocery store, it's still within two weeks. Sure, you can buy old coffee and save money, but you don't have to. (As for pre-ground coffee, many people value the convenience of not having to buy a $200 coffee grinder and grind their own coffee over having the best coffee possible. In America, you get to decide!)
Finally, we have a lot of good beer over here. In Chicago we have Two Brothers and Goose Island (who sometimes produce a good beer; Green Line Pale Ale -- tasty), and New Belgium and Dogfish Head are good American beers that are widely distributed throughout the country.
I think you Europeans need to watch a little less TV before you judge.
I do think that things are changing for the better, however. On my most recent trip back home, I went to a supermarket that had large areas dedicated to speciality/high quality/non-cheezit-whiz stuff, something that you wouldn't have seen 20 years ago.
I never said that all American whatever was industrial artificial crap. However, there is a lot of it here, with less of the good stuff (and cultural awareness of it) as a counteracting force. Good beer is a revival, as are lots of other foodie things in the US.
And the coffee grinder I started with only cost $11.
It's the same in restaurants, burger joints, etc etc.
I've only been over to the bay area, but I know what I taste :) OTOH, Things that are better there include Pizza, Burgers, Shakes, Smoothies, etc
It does seem absolutely impossible to find good chocolate, bacon, etc.
The entire time I've spent in Italy -- not one espresso with any trace of bitterness. Every cup of coffee was excellent to my taste.
The entire time I've spent in Italy -- not one espresso with any
trace of bitterness. Every cup of coffee was excellent to my taste."
The industrial grinders they use to pre grind all of that espresso you were drinking give extremely consistent grinds, and the packaging lets it sit on shelves for months at a time. It's not even particularly high-quality coffee.
Don't take my word for it though:
In Italy, espresso is a mass consumption item, mostly made from
coffees of the same low quality as is found in supermarkets
everywhere. Since the aromas of such coffees are not all that
great, staling is of little consequence, while keeping doses
precise and yields high is of great consequence, since one
needs to extract every iota of caramel to make the shots
palatable. So the ground coffee sits in dosers going stale,
but is precisely dosed, 6.5 grams into single baskets, 13
What this also means is that I should be able to buy the same packets and have access to Italian espresso.
This also makes bad American office coffee even more exasperating. Why is it that US office coffee is so often sour and trashy tasting? Why is it that Italians can do it, but Americans fail? I suspect it's because the former population doesn't care so much.
But Americanos from Starbucks in Canada taste like a cup of mud, without a flavour shot or something else to mask the real taste.
And even in Europe, "real" cheese isn't real anymore. Back in the day, cheese usually had those big holes in it, - they were caused by pro biotic bacteria, while the cheese was aging. However, due to these holes, the transportation of cheese became less efficient, the sizes became unpredictable and therefore the cheeses became harder to stack. So, nowadays, most big producers of cheese perform a heating process to kill all bacteria, getting rid of one of the few things that were actually healthy of cheese.
Most of the local cheeses you can get here (Austria) have holes in them.
Uh that depends on the cheese, a camembert or a maroilles with "big holes" in it is not normal.
(a top selling cheese in norway)
My sister moved to Illinois, and has been (extremely successfully) converting her neighbors away from whatever those orange blocks are they sell there. She brings back 20+ lbs of cheese whenever she visits. She's also managed to educate a couple in cheese curds: squeaky, not fried.
In today's world, the process to ship mass amount of goods across the Atlantic only takes a few days--a week max. That is not nearly enough time for the taste of the beer to degrade. I think that the European beermakers purposely make exported beer taste more watered-down to play to American tastes--which happen to be the likes of Bud Light. I don't understand America's obsession with light beer.
True, certain things like raw milk cheese are unavailable but it's certainly not true that US cheeses universally taste like plastic.
Yes, perhaps if you go to a niche speciality cheese corner shop, you can find good cheese in the US. But that's not much use.
I think it was my first trip to Europe (Paris) that revolutionized my attitude toward food. It wasn't so much going there that was the issue as much as it was coming back and re-tasting the standard American diet. I was already starting to buy higher-end products, but it was a revelation to taste it after being away for two weeks.
There's lots of good cheese easily available. Say what you will about my neighboring state of Wisconsin, but you can find plenty of the non-industrial variety there.
And chocolate? Hershey's is your standard??? No wonder. Hershey's is crap!!! I thought everyone knew that but just ate it cause it's cheap.
Basically, if you limit your eating to mass produced, industrialized foods, crap's what you get, with few exceptions. It's like judging all American beer by pointing to Miller Lite!
All the times I have visited the US, I have not been able to find any chocolate sold in convenience stores, supermarkets etc that doesn't taste like crap. The best I've found is a muskateer bar which is vaguely bearable. It's similar to the cheapest chocolate you can buy in the UK.
Perhaps if you go to a specific boutique chocolatier you can find some nice chocolate. But in the UK, you can just pop into any newsagent corner shop and get some good chocolate.
Come to Wisconsin, we have real cheese (if buy the local stuff). :)