American Food According to or as Adopted By Europeans


One of the first things that get carried between cultures is food. But because different cultures grow up with different palates, or because the people spreading the new food to their culture might not know or care about how to be completely authentic, the food will invariably change upon introduction.

I think most of us are aware that “ethnic” food is rarely truly ethnic. “Mexican” in the US is actually Tex-Mex. Chinese American is nothing like actual Chinese. And the “French” food in China was just confusing. So it was fun to see what other cultures think American food is like. I saw the following faux American foods for sale in Europe.

Paris–La Americaine

Ham, egg, lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise on a baguette (Though apparently there’s another sandwich by the same name in France that’s very different? I didn’t see it, but it’s what searching for this sandwich on the internet pulls up.)

Aside from the baguette and egg, that’s spot on for a basic ham sandwich.

London–Southern Fried Chicken Salad

Macaroni, mayonnaise, yogurt, creme fraiche, sweet corn, red pepper, spices, and bits of fried chicken

Southern fried chicken is apparently a big thing here. I saw it in salads and wraps. The yogurt and creme fraiche are definitely not correct, but the rest is par for the course (You think we use them fancy things in Southern cookin’? Ha!).

Basel–American Restaurant

A little grab-and-go cafe in the train station.

It seems American food is muffins, desert breads (e.g., walnut bread, banana bread), and sandwiches on bagels. Including a “Nordic Bagel”. I couldn’t understand the ingredient list, but why is there a “Nordic” bagel in an “American” cafe?


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