My few thoughts on the subject(s):
My impression is that in the US sugar is added to much more stuff than here, partly due to the 0 fat fad that squeezed the flavor out of everything. And this caused the even worst trend of sweeteners, which spilled everywhere. (this pains me personally, because I like sweets, but I can’t stand sugar in things that should be plain. For example, the cappuccino sachets that are supposed to have no sugar, have sugar ).
The Cyclops in Odyssey were making yogurt, so we win this battle with the Turks, I guess. (I should search for the word in the original, tho.)
I’ve tasted the same product in the Greek version and the “for export” version before, mainly dairy products (Dodoni is near my hometown and my maternal grandparents used to provide sheep milk to them, officially and all, years ago), and they taste a lot different. I think the exported ones are sometimes adjusted in flavor for the local market. I tried feta in Germany and it tasted like dried paint, but it was supposed to be the original. Marketing can be very deceiving.
In my understanding, watching cooking videos mostly, in many countries olive oil is considered a luxury cuisine staple. Here we bathe every single potato in it, and chefs internationales sprinkle exactly six drops religiously.
The Varangian Guard is one of my favorite historical elements ever.
The one I like a lot is that salmon sushi wasn’t eaten in Japan, because the Asian variety of salmon contained too many parasites to eat safely. It only got popular after Norwegian salmon was imported, from Norway, a couple of decades ago. It’s now probably the most popular sushi topping in Japan.
Many conveyor belt sushi places also serve California rolls, which are of course an American invention, although they’re hard to find in the more traditional sushi shops.
We get our ‘feta’ from the Turkish shop, although it’s Turkish feta. But it’s infinitely better than the rubber they sell at the grocery shop.
The comments regarding breakfast cereal got me thinking about an old tv ad for Grape Nuts Flakes, created by the Post company. The ad ran for about ten seconds, and as I recall it featured a young guy sitting on a pier eating Grape Nuts Flakes while in the background somebody is strumming a guitar. The song goes like this:
There ain’t no grapes, there ain’t no nuts
in Post Grape Nuts Flakes.
It has an almost koan-like sensibility don’t you think?
Grape Nuts Flakes is my favorite cereal. Unfortunately, they have had very unreliable distribution over the past 20 years. Although I am in a major suburban area, they were unobtainable for about 4 years in the early 2000s. More recently I couldn’t get them anywhere within 30 miles for about 2 years. Now I can get them easily again, and I am contented.
Yes, sugar is added to practically everything in the U.S. today, and I find it appalling. And it is much worse today than when I was a youth. The market has responded with “no sugar added” products, which are usually more expensive. That seems like an oxymoron, paying more to stop them from adding something, but I guess it is because they must alter the production process to something less efficient due to the lower volume produced. Fortunately I don’t drink sodas; stopped about 40 years ago. For my coffee and tea, I use stevia, a natural sweetener that works quite well I think. Of course, it is about 3 times as expensive as sugar, but I think it is worth it.
I don’t like stevia flavor at all, it leaves a weird aftertaste to me. And I especially dislike when I buy something, ask “no sugar” and they give it to me with stevia by default. I’ve thrown away countless takeaway coffee and snacks because if that.
If I had to guess, I’d say that we do not sell them the good stuff, so when they come here as tourists they will think that the food tastes better because we are somehow better at cooking, when it is just that we have the correct ingredients.
It is a funny thought, but our love for “minimum effort” is such that I wouldn’t put it past us for it to have a grain of truth in it (or even a small silo worth of grains) … after all, some morons that own a tavern do not even wash and defrost the frozen shrimps before putting them in a pan and serving them as “fresh” for crying out loud …
Half of it IS sugar according to the contents O_O
Wouldn’t it be funny if a new law demanded that the most prevailant ingredient has to be first on the name of the product as well?
So, you’d have things like:
“Sugar with some coffee, in sachets” instead of cappuccino satchets
“Fat with strips of meat” instead of bacon
“Fat with sugar and some cocoa” instead of “chocolate”
“Sugar with water and some fruit juice extract” instead of “natural juice”
Come to think of it, most products would have to be renamed to “fat with sugar and …” or “Sugar with …”
Maybe you missed the real pun there … the product is named “Post Grape Nuts Flakes” , meaning that we are after/over with the grapes and nuts (like in the phrase “post war” or “post apocalyptic”), that is why it doesn’t have any
Oh come on, you overdid it there. It’s mostly A. They buy something that has the correct label, but don’t check further (the same way lots of Greeks buy “olive oil” off-brands just because they are cheaper in the supermarket because they are from the city and grew up on that stuff and don’t know better, but to you and me it smells like a gas station). B. Most usually the “original” taste is not to their taste, different cultures . Same thing with Chinese restaurants in Greece, nothing like the actual Chinese cuisine. Or even Italian sometimes, and we’re literally next door.
Well, since it is cheaper they know that it is “off-spec” in some way, but it is still ok … after all cooking, as a skill, seems to be on the decline, which is odd since nowadays there are so many video tutorials about a million succulent and tasty recipes.
Now there is something worth a question. Ok, a company does that because it wants to sell more, but why would any customer buy an exotic product, if it going to taste like something closer to home? What is the point?
I buy “non-native” stuff sometimes to taste them (like a mango, an avocado, a pineapple, some random weird beers and stuff like that) and I like some of them, some of them I find odd (e.g. the mango was great, but why do people like avocado is beyond me), but I appreciate the experience. That is the point of buying something exotic, isn’t it?
In a discussion I had an hour ago I just realised that quince is a fruit that is not really found in most of Europe. Suppose you are a German and you want to taste that quince “spoon candy” we make and you buy some. Wouldn’t you want it to have the unique taste of the original, instead of, for example, tasting like an orange?
People usually prefer something that is just “foreign” enough so that they can talk about it, but not too much, lest they feel challenged.
Well, I’d understand it if it was like this glorious example of gastrimargic courage:
But if it is just about tasting a different fruit or cheese or beer that is perfectly safe and eaten by many people abroad or during vacations, I really do not see the appeal of paying more money to have almost the same taste as the stuff at home … ah, marketing marketing
I read somewhere the other day that, if someone looks into the recipes of post-war America, when women were forced back into to household (etc, that’s not my main point here), they are basically mostly variations of “huge piece of meat, lots of sauces and additives, put in the oven, done”, because although the narrative was of the happy housewife, women hated it and did the equivalent of fast-food today: fatty, salty, sugary, least amount of effort.
So, it was seen as the epitome of cooking, when in reality was the result of “I don’t want to, but I have to, let’s go for appearances”.
But this was the first time I came upon it and I know next to nothing about the subject, so I’m ready to be told that that was factually wrong.
We could talk about Intel 486 sx… but I prefer the odd story of “New Dimension shampoo”: it was a soap with added conditioner. Before New Dimension you had to apply conditioner after washing hair, so the big innovation was 2in1.
Many other shampoos followed that example and it became usual to find soap+conditioner in shampoos.
So some marketing genius invented the “shampoo without conditioner”!
You could find on the label a big writing saying “no conditioner in here!”
People proudly bought it, happy to pay a little more not to have conditioner in their shampoo.
Good question. It is quite an obscure thing to find a particular source on it (though I found a book on “Feminist Food Studies”), so I gave it a spin and it seems to be a bit off for various reasons: a) The early women’s movement was not so much about an immediate and total abolision of gender stereotypes and social roles, norms and expectations, but a gradual process with more important stuff set first in line (e.g. women voting, equal pay etc). As a result, at 1940 while there were quite a lot of women in the work-force, numberwise, as a percent it was only around 25.4% … so the statement “when women were forced back into to household” is inaccurate for that era, since they were not out yet, in large percentages. b) If anything that “let’s do something that looks good, fast” seems like the transition mentality that had to go along in a decade where more women had to go out of the house and work a full time job and return to the house afterwards to take care of the needs of the family. That “fast food” mentality sounds more like the 70es-80ies though were a lot of things actually started to change in the whole way society viewed a family, as a whole. c) Things like this … without much of a uniform cooking tradition, the US market was (and still is) very very partial to marketing and wild swings of what they like and why. d) Everytime I have to cook a “slab of meat” like a whole turkey or a big piece of beef/lamb, I have found that it takes some skill and quite a lot of care. You need to turn it around quite a few times and you have to have some experience with the process so that it cooks to your taste. Plus it takes more by default. I am not sure that the “slab of meat” recipes are any easier than the “thin stakes put in the oven, along with other stuff” kind of recipies
If there was such a phenomenon, what does make sense is that since a lot of men were away from their homes due to the war, the women had 5 years during which they cooked only for their own needs or their childrens’. Suddenly you have some dude back from the war that is either their husband which they married before or after the war and they had to add him into the “cooking quota”.
I’d guess some over-estimation in the portion size or some overcompensation of the “oh, come on he was away for so long, let’s cook like it is Sunday” kind was possibly a more reasonable explanation for some of the bloated recipes of the era.
One could say that this was quite an impressive … unconditional loyalty to the product