The biweekly British vs American food debate
Why Americans should be banned from talking about food online, and why British people should stop taking the bait. Words by Niloufar Haidari
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The Hater is a column dedicated to the art of hating. Each week, a different writer examines something they hate, or observes a trend of hating in the food world.
Past columns have included:
The TV Food Man, by Ruby Tandoh
Everybody Hates Norman’s, by Tom Usher
Rich People Peasantcore, by Sheena Patel
Gatekeeping Pubs, by Jimmy McIntosh
The Gallery Dinner, by Phoebe Cripps
STREETFOODZ and other atrocities, by Katie Mulkowski
Why I hate Americans talking about tacos in London, by Chloe-Rose Crabtree
Against Curation, by Jonathan Nunn
What is the point of the recipe box?, by Thea Everett
Against Culinary Cuckooism, by Luke Dunne
McLondon, by Robbie Armstrong
This week’s Hater is Niloufar Haidari
The biweekly British vs American food debate, by Niloufar Haidari
Three things are certain in life: death, taxes, and an American logging on to Twitter once every two weeks to lose their mind about someone in another country eating something that is slightly different to what people eat in America. If that food is British, what happens next is now online canon: Americans will laugh and gloat about their supposedly superior food; a bunch of British people will escalate with jokes about having healthcare and not having school shootings; the Americans will retaliate by posting a creature with fucked-up teeth. The whole thing is incredibly tedious, makes everyone involved look foolish, and always leaves me wondering why no one ever brings up the culinary hate crime that is meatloaf.
The problem is that Americans, for the most part, are a uniquely insular, incurious people, with the British taking second place. Perhaps when you create much of the world’s mainstream culture and entertainment – not to mention foreign policy – you begin to believe that your experience is the barometer by which every other experience should be measured. It’s a mentality that causes Americans to go to ‘Europe’ and give Italian trattorias bad Google reviews because they didn’t have chicken alfredo, and because a single portion wasn’t large enough to feed a family of four.
Beans, an innocuous food, seem to be particularly triggering for them, for reasons I have not yet figured out. ‘They really eat beans for breakfast’, an American will comment on yet another photo of beans on toast. It never seems to cross their minds that not only are beans eaten for breakfast across the world – from gallo pinto (rice and beans served with egg) in Costa Rica to fūl, a traditional Egyptian breakfast stew made from fava beans – but that they also often eat beans for breakfast, though they tend to be refried or black beans rather than baked ones.