I’ve been in America for two years now and am sat here in my new apartment, on my new mattress, on my new bedding, with my new whale, eating dill pickle chips. I’ve never lived on my own before, and it’s a little quiet in my apartment right now. I know once I’ve unpacked, got everything I need and am settled I’ll feel less weirded out by the silence but right now it’s all a little new.
On Monday I ate a crab rangoon for the first time, apparently it’s been a whole week of firsts. I don’t know why I’ve never had one before. We don’t have them in England and honestly I’ve not had Chinese food a whole bunch since I have been here. Who on Earth decided to put fake crab, cream cheese, onions and garlic in a crispy pastry parcel and fry it? Well done on that person. You win the game. FYI in America Egg Rolls are what we call Spring Rolls in England, and Spring Rolls are disgusting rice wraps that are full of salad. Do not get them.
That’s the thing about American food, the weird, fast food snacks that are in abundance and sometimes they work brilliantly and sometimes they make you feel like you’ve eaten death.
Let’s look at Toaster Strudel. Yes, I know that Gretchen Weiner’s dad invented Toaster Strudel. Toaster Strudel is a marvel, it’s weird fruit filling in a pastry and once it’s toasted you cover it in icing. Here it’s classed as a breakfast food, and I honestly have no idea how anyone could justify eating what is essentially a pie for breakfast, but it is delicious. The apple flavour are by far my favourite, though they now have Cinnabon flavour which could knock apple to another level. But Pop Tarts, Pop Tarts are not so good. Biscuity, nasty jam filled things. I am not here for you Pop Tarts. You can go back in the sugar bin.
I had Hot Pockets for the first time last year, Chel and I got a packet of pepperoni ones from the 7-11 and honestly I thought I was going to like them. I like things in pastry, I like cheese, I like meat, what could go wrong? Hot Pockets are one of those American Snacks that just taste vaguely of chemicals and soap. It didn’t taste of cheese or sauce or anything. It was a letdown. Much like the McGriddles. The idea of a McGriddle is genius, put breakfast meat between two pancakes. Yes. I am down with this. For two bites it’s fantastic, after that it feels like a rock in your stomach and you know your body hates you. The boundaries were pushed too far with the McGriddle.
Other things which had masses of potential but were a let down include – Pizza Rolls, Mac and Cheetos and French Silk Pie.
There was one time we went to Chili’s and my friend Tejal, Jon and I decided to get loaded boneless wings. This is chicken smothered in white queso, shredded cheese, bacon, green onions and served with ranch. While we were eating it I was like THIS IS A FAST FOOD MIRACLE, but then I had to eat my main meal, because that was just the starter. I have honestly never felt so much like death after eating, but I would do it again because the nicest Pakistani restaurant in Chicago also made my sick. YOU CAN GET SICK ANYWHERE.
I don’t generally like crisps in America, I think the flavours are usually too overpowering but I have a weakness for everything dill pickle flavoured. As a pickle lover I feel very much accepted in America, the land of Pickles. There are so many kinds of pickles, there are so many dill flavoured things and I am here for them all. Do you know ranch is way better when it has dill in it? Also buffalo things dipped in dill ranch is practically heaven on Earth. Ground Control in Chicago do buffalo tofu with dill ranch that I pretty much just eat with a spoon.
We should also talk about Taco Bell, specifically the Naked Chicken Taco. My buddy Mat and I go to Taco Bell every time there is a weird promotion, we love weird Taco Bell food. The Naked Chicken Taco was a taco where the shell was made out of breaded chicken. It looked like it should kill you, but it was a taste sensation. The chicken was kind of spicy and the veggies inside were good. We were sad it was a limited time offer. The Naked Chicken Chips are also very much delicious, I highly recommend them. Taco Bell has the best weird limited edition food items in America, Wendy’s however has the best burgers.
I’ve yet to have any Midwest specialities. Hash Brown Casserole, Hot Pot, that one weird open face sandwich you get in Springfield IL, that weird jelly pudding they eat with roast meat. I think that’s next on my goals. I want to eat the crazy carb loaded specialities of the area of America I now call home. Maybe I don’t want to put jelly on my turkey though. That seems a little out there.
Don’t get me wrong here. I don’t just eat shitty fast food and snack food in America. My mother is a health obsessed person and her influence on me means that I scan most food I get for corn syrup and things I know are bad for me. In America, the land of bread that tastes like cake, it’s hard to avoid things that you know aren’t fantastic for your body. I do believe that life needs little indulgences and the cool thing about living somewhere new is that I get to try all this new food.